What You Need To Understand About The Pain of Childbirth
Women have been giving birth for centuries and as time goes on many things have changed in the way that women give birth. Some women have cesarean births, some natural and some with the help of pain relief during labor.
One thing that unites all these women is the fact that they will experience some level of fear or anticipation because of how they perceive childbirth to be. Now I’m not saying for a minute that all women feel paralysing fear when they think about giving birth, that would absolutely not be true! What I am saying is that at some point during a woman’s pregnancy she wonders about the pain that she will endure when giving birth.
Yes giving birth hurts!
Whether you choose to have the pain during labor or you feel it after a cesarean, the pain is still there. What I want to do today is to ease your mind somewhat and assure you that although it is painful, it is also manageable.
I have had 4 children and had them all delivered vaginally. It was not easy that’s for sure but each time I went back and did it again. What does that tell you?
How bad is the pain of childbirth?
This is a really tricky question because pain is different to each person so its difficult to put it down on to paper. The best way for me to describe it is to compare it to menstrual cramps but times it by 100 then double it!
When you first go into labour the pain is manageable as it’s quite light. You may feel it in your lower back every now and again. As your labor progresses the contractions start to gather together and become more intense with seemingly less “gaps”.
Every woman feels the pain differently but personally speaking as my labor progresses I feel intense cramping in my stomach and shooting down to my legs. There isn’t really any other pain that I can absolutely compare it too.
The thing about childbirth pain is that if you try to fight the pain it seems to get worse. The best thing you can do when in labor is to let the pain ride over you like a wave.
What happens during childbirth?
In the first stages of labour your cervix has to soften and begin to open up. This has to happen in order for the baby to have a passage to pass through. A midwife will usually examine you by inserting a finger into your vagina to see how open your cervix is.
If you are less that 3 centimetres dilated, this is classed as the latent phase. Usually during this time you will be getting irregular contractions. As your labour progresses and you get further along past 3 centimetres you go into established labor and your contractions will become more regular.
Eventually your cervix will open up to 10cm wide. This is the reason that you feel the pain in your lower back area and sometimes around the front area too.
What are some good labor pain relief techniques?
- If you are wanting some natural pain relief options the best advice I can give you is to breathe. Sounds too simple right? It works!
I’ve lost count of the amount of times I hear breathe through your contractions. I heard what everyone was saying but I never really listened.
In my delivery with my last born I didn’t have many options for pain relief so I had to take what I could get. I was told to breathe…at first I didn’t really care to hear that but as the contractions got stronger I LISTENED! Each time I felt a contractions coming I took a deep breath in and released it with the contraction, almost like blowing it away.
Do you know what?
It worked (why didn’t I listen earlier?). It won’t get rid of all the pain but it certainly takes the edge off the feeling of the pressure you get as the baby’s head starts to come down.
- Let your partner rub your back. It might not help too much in terms of pain relief but it definitely helps you to feel like you are not alone in this.
- Get into the water! I can’t recommend this enough. If you haven’t already read my post on water birthing then you can check it out here: https://www.brownskinmama.com/why-having-a-water-birth-is-a-game-changer/
- Sometimes a simple thing like changing positions can help. The worst thing you can do is stay lying down on your back when you are in labor. It would be similar to trying to poop whilst lying down, it just makes no sense.
- Rest when you can. You will need to reserve as much energy as possible for those last few minutes of pushing so take the few minutes between contractions to reserve some energy.
I just want to finish off by saying although it can seem scary going into labor the truth is that most of the fear orignates from stories that you have perhaps heard on the grapevine.
In actual fact the truth about childbirth is that once you go into labor there is a survival instinct that kicks in. It is this instinct that will take you through your labor. Most of the fear that you feel will actually just be apprehension as to what to expect and not real fear.
Once you hold your little one in your arms that pain of childbirth will be quickly forgotten.
If you would like to read some more feel free to have a look at my post on 10 interesting facts about your body after childbirth.