Again, there is no definitive answer I can give you. The way each women experiences a uterine contraction can be completely different to another. Some women experience the contraction around their bump, others feel it in their lower back, some women even experience the sensation in their thighs.
The sensation itself can also vary due to many influencing factors - different pain thresholds, the environment around you, your emotional state and the support given (who is with you, how they behave towards you). We've already looked at the very negative impact that fear and tension can have on a birthing women and how any tension can cause painful contractions. We'll look at the importance of creating the right environment for your birth and how your partner can support you effectively later in the course so that you are providing yourself with the best chance possible of staying calm and relaxed.
Essentially though your uterus is a large bag of muscles, the largest in the female body, and so when it contracts you will feel it as a strong sensation. It consists of circular and longitudinal muscles - longitudinal muscles which flex and pull the circular muscles open. A bit like pulling a polo neck jumper over your head.
The more relaxed the circular muscles are, the more effective each pull from the longitudinal muscles is at helping the circular muscles to open. So the more relaxed you are, the more relaxed the rest of your body is, the more effective and comfortable each contraction is.
Any tension/resistance from the circular muscles leads to a conflict of the muscles (the muscles working against each other, rather than each contraction effectively doing it's job and the circular muscles relaxing and opening) which means that the labour will be longer and take more contractions to do the same job, at the same time being more painful.
It's a bit of a no brainer then that it's in your best interest to stay as calm and relaxed as you can during labour and birth. Relaxation is a skill which you will need to practise regularly from now and we'll spend a module looking at how later later in the course.