Early labour contractions usually feel like period pain, or you might experience a lower backache at 20 to 30 minute intervals. Sometimes these pains radiate from back to front, or vice versa. There's no need to start timing the contractions straight away – if they are mild contractions, ignore them.
The first stage of labor is the longest and involves three phases:
Early Labor Phase –The time of the onset of labor until the cervix is dilated to 3 cm.
Active Labor Phase – Continues from 3 cm. until the cervix is dilated to 7 cm.
Transition Phase – Continues from 7 cm. until the cervix is fully dilated to 10 cm.