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How can you be 4 and a half cm dilated effaced and in active labor but not be feeling any severely intense labor contractions?

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Because you are very lucky! All women are different. Some dilate to higher numbers and 100% effaced and don't feel a thing. Just luck of the draw. It doesn't mean anything is wrong or that the labor will be better or worse in later stages. It just means that you are having a very easy labor up to now.  
i had 5 kids and my labour all were diffnert.u can be in labour and not fell much pain at all. i know women had only bad pain for three hours then baby was born.
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