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What does labour and delivery actually feel like?

36 answers
Im 36 weeks pregnant and terrified of labour for some reason people like to share their horror stories of labour and delivery or make it sound really really bad not trying to judge and i know labour is really really painful i mean obviously your pushing a fully grown baby out of your vagina but if its really as bad as everyone says why do some woman have more children? I just want to know what it actually feels like i would like someone to do their best at trying to explain what the pains feel like and what was worse for them the actual labour pains or the pushing? i know everyones labour and delivery is different but would be keen to hear about what some woman have to say about it :) thanks. x

answers (36)

I had my last baby without any anesthesia. While I was pushing her out I felt like I was on fire from my chest to my knees. When she was coming out I felt like I was being ripped in half. I was terrified to do it. But, as soon as she was out (in three pushes) the pain started fading. By the time I found the words to describe it to m y husband, I had no physical memory of the pain. I only remembered how I described it.that may sound scary, but it's my honest description. I'm having my last baby this August and I'll definitely be doing it again with no anesthesia. I hated the epidural I had with my second, and with the new information about infections and chronic pain issues associated with injections into the spine, I'm way to scared to do that again. a natural birth may be a little painful, but that pain doesn't last long.
Thank you for being honest :) as scary as it sounds haha x
I don't usualy chime in, but you have asked a good question and I would hate to see anyone go in with fear. I had both of my children without any epidural. Every birth is different. You could ask 100 women and literally get 100 very different answers. You could ask a mother of 10 and get 10 different answers. That said, first, real contractions will stop you in your tracks and take your breath away. You've surely had braxton-hicks by now, imagine those but more intense, like two hands pulling either side of your belly towards your belly button, and sharp pain. You probably will not be able to speak (I went in with false labor 2x and this is what the nurse told me-she was right.) Walk, use the ball or whirlpool to speed things along, it helps. My first delivery was painful, and I needed an episiotomy, but it  was bearable. I just remember squeezing my husbands hand (surprised it didn't break) and focusing on that and breathing in & out through every contaction and push. It was very controlled. The first was more about pressure, unbearable yet manageable pressure bearing down on me, not insane pain, just pressure. My second was horrendous, like the burning fires of hell were ripping my body apart (sorry). I will never forget it. I wanted to leave, I wanted to die, I wanted it to end but then I realized that it would not end until the baby came so I fought on. You find the strength, but you do not forget. Do not be afraid to make noise and let your body do what it will. There are no rules and no judgement in labor. Each of my labors was over 12 hours. So really, only a mere few hours of my life in spent in discomfort gave me 2 beautiful boys. Looking back, I still would chose natural labor, regardless of the pain. I believe it was better for my recovery, and for the baby in general. I also hear it makes pushing easier because if you can fully feel what is happening your body will respond better (true, in my opinion.) In any event, the pain is temporary and the baby is the reward. Despite the chaotic hell of my second I would have done it again, without drugs, if that had been in the cards for us. Woman have been doing this without drugs since the beginning of time. We were built to do this. Remember that, and you will find the inner strength. I wish you a quick delivery and healthy baby. Do not go in with fear, go in with excitement because no one can predict how your labor will go. It may just be swift and easy, it has been know to happen! Good luck! :)
It's true, labor and delivery are different for each woman. A big part of it has to do with your pain tolerance. For me, contractions werent that bad. When I had a big one, I would have to stop walking so that I could breathe through it, but it wasn't unbearable. If you are interested and have the time, I suggest looping for some natural child birth classes. They will teach you methods of dealing with the pain without medication. I didn't take any classes and basically decided to wing it for my last delivery. So naturally, I was terrified when it came time to push. But, it was nowhere near as bad as i thought it would be. Like I said, contractions weren't that mad for me, they were similar to a really intense muscle stretching pain, and the pain from delivery faded immediately.
With my first, I had the epidural, so things weren't as bad. The contractions hurt but it wasn't unbearable. I didn't really feel much pain pushing her out, it was mostly pressure. I know this is a weird explaination, but it kinda felt like someone was sucking her out with a vacuum. The contractions just felt like strong period cramps, so that wasn't bad, but every once in a while it would feel like someone was stabbing my uterus. With my second, I didn't get the epidural. I have a low pain tolerance so for me the contractions were hell, pushing her out was hell, and I didn't think I could do it. The contractions felt like an elephant was stepping on my lower back and stomach. It was hard to breath, it felt like my bones were being crushed, and then she was kicking on top of that so it hurt worse. And pushing her out felt like she was literally ripping my body in half and tearing my guts apart. Then again, she was an 8 pounder with a big head, so she probably was. The whole time, I was screaming my head off, and at one point I was begging my doctor to just kill me. Dramatic I know! But it's the truth, natural labour was horribly painful for me, but I plan to do it again. Even though it hurts, I like that better than being all drugged up, and having my legs numb for a few days. The epidural must have hurt something in my back because now I have severe back pain, tingling and numbness in my legs, and it sucks! Labour and delivery does hurt, but the baby is worth it, and as you said people keep having more kids so that just shows you it's not bad enough to scar us for life. You'll be fine, try not to stress. Good luck with everything, I hope you have a healthy and happy baby! :)
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In many cases and with increasing frequency, childbirth is achieved through induction of labor or caesarean section, which is the removal of the neonate through a surgical incision in the abdomen, rather than through vaginal birth.Childbirth by C-Sections increased 50% in the U.S. from 1996 to 2006, and comprise nearly 32% of births in the U.S. and Canada.With respect to induced labor, more than 22% of women undergo induction of labour in the United States. Medical professional policy makers find that induced births and elective cesarean can be harmful to the fetus and neonate as well as harmful or without benefit to the mother, and have established strict guidelines for non-medically indicated induced births and elective cesarean before 39 weeks. 
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