123 ...

thread: How much does labour REALLY hurt?

  1. #1
    BellyBelly Member

    Mar 2004
    Wales, UK

    How much does labour REALLY hurt?

    What is labour REALLY like? Is it scary, or did you feel calm and in control? Is the pain really as bad as people say?

    I nearly passed out having a tattoo, and I remember then the tattoist joking that i'd never be able to cope with childbirth! 8-[


  2. #2
    BellyBelly Life Member

    Jul 2004
    House of the crazy cat ladies...

    Hmmmm... this is a tricky one...
    Because I was induced via a drip, in the space of an hour or so, my contractions went from niggly little pains, to great whopping ones.
    My memory of it isn't that clear, and I would have to say that I zoned out to another world IYKWIM?? (the gas probably didn't help that feeling either!)
    Because the pain came on so strong and quickly, I felt as if I wouldnt be able to cope with much more, so I asked for an epidural.
    Who knows if it had been a labour without the syntocin drip, maybe I would've handled it easier (though I can still see myself asking for an epidural)

  3. #3

    I went thru a labour with an epidural and without one, and I would seriously never do it without one again 8-[ I had always said I would never be one of those women that scream down the hospital roof, but when that head crowns that bloody burns like no tomorrow and I screamed the roof down, I screamed the roof down once when they told me it was my last push or it would c-sect time so I put everything into that last push.

    I was induced both times though and labour is meant to be harder and faster apparently than a natural labour, and if you can get away with an epidural it is worth it cause I felt 100% after birth with Lachlan, but with Kameron I couldn't walk for 24hrs.

    It is hard though to describe the actual pain cause everybodys pain threshold is so different. I was moaning and groaning during my last few contractions before my waters were broken by the midwife, and I was 7cm dilated when she broke them.


  4. #4
    Senior Moderator

    Nov 2004

    Labour? What's labour? I think I had two contractions....

    Bring on the C/S I tell you!

  5. #5
    Jackie Guest

    Put it this way, it is not a picnic in the park, mine started with little pains that gradually grew to bigger and bigger pains until they were humungous.
    With each one of my children I asked for (can't remember the name damn...) you know the painkiller injection, that you get in your leg??? (how dumb am I)

    Anyway, by the time they got it ready it was to late so I had them all with no painkillers, except gas which made me feel sick. I felt pretty much in control, never made it to the screaming bit

    The thing is though, that once the baby is born and the afterbirth is done with, you forget all about the pain. You have your lovely little baby in your arms which makes it all worthwhile

  6. #6
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Jul 2004

    Well from what i remember I was in so much pain that if there wasnt a baby at the end of it i would have died!!

    I was induced via sintocinon drip and, like Ambah, contractions went from practically nothing to OMG that bloody hurts! After an hour of coping without pain relief i hopped in the shower and had the hot water running over my tummy. After about an hour in the shower I had some gas(then entered lala land) Then had a shot of pethadine. 1.5hours of pushing got me no where coz her head was stuck under my pubic bone. Had to have the vacuum(no episiotomy), shoulders then got stuck so doc had to stick, literally, half his arms up there to get her out! I never actually knew he did that til like 3 days later, but OMG did it burn! Anyways, sorry if i've scared you. I really doubt that'd happen to you though, as Lily had shoulder distocia coz my pelvis was too small for her and she was such a big baby, which doesnt happen often coz they usually give you a c/s before you go into labor, but they never knew with me, even though i asked!! Oh and the doc said he was really surprised i did it without an epidural. So i'm sure you're gonna just fine!

    Sorry for the epic!! 8-[

  7. #7
    Life Member

    May 2003
    Beautiful Adelaide!

    Just from reading the entries above it is clear to see that every labour is different and all of us have different pain thresholds, so it is really tricky to say exactly how painful it will be.

    I always thought that I would feel painful contractions around my belly, but when the regular contractions came the pain was all centred around my hips and lower back.

    The pain of the contractions certainly increased from mildly uncomfortable to really really bad. I couldn't lie down.......it was just too uncomfortable, so I stayed standing up/rocking whilst leaning over a bar fridge!

    I used the shower a lot.....leaning forward with my head in my arms against the corner of the shower recess, with the hot water aimed at my back......this really distracted me/alleviated the pain.

    When I had the urge to push I rocked on a fit ball as they were getting the delivery suite ready, and again, this rocking momentum helped alleviate the pain.

    The crowning hurt like hell.......a really bad burning sensation, but it was quick.

    The final pushes were more of an immense effort rather than painful.

    When I had Olivia in my arms all of the pain literally disappeared: hormones are an amazing thing!

    There are loads of pain relief options available, so make sure you arm yourslef with the knowledge of these before hand, and then you can ask for them in plenty of time!

    (I didn't have any drugs or pain relief as I got to 9cm dilated without anyone really knowing, then I asked for pain relief by which stage it was too late!)

  8. #8
    Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

    Jan 2005
    Funky Town, Vic

    Yeah its gonna hurt.

    No one here is going to lie, but everyone so far has been perfectly honest. Some say its hurt more than they expected, some say lots less. If it was THAT BAD, humans would be extinct.
    Most of us went back for more or are planning to so theres some comfort in that.!!!

    I really, really think the best way to cope is to arm yourself with knowledge. Not knowing, why your body is doing what it does (and it is out of your control) will add to your apprehension and fear. Read all you can, avoid people that love to scare the crap out of you with tales of 3 day labours and stitches to the moon. Understand the stages of labour, it your best weapon.

    Anyway, one squeeze of that warm newborn and you will wonder what you were worried about. Promise.



  9. #9
    Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

    Jan 2005
    Funky Town, Vic

    God that last post came across horrendously. Sorry!!

    What I want to get across, is it can be painful, but it is amazing at the same time.

    I had two fast, hard labours with no drugs. I wavered with the second one, but he was born about 20 mins later!!

    Just when it seems I just can't take it anymore, and I would sell my soul for relief, its time to push. This next time Iv'e asked DP to remind me when I try to strangle him between contractions!!!

    P.S I feel a little to more likely to try the epidural for next time though. The previous posts have really made me think.........



  10. #10
    Melinda Guest

    Yes, labour for me was extremely painful. But there are pain relief options available to you that can make the world of difference.

    Honestly, everybody's experience with labour is different. One can have a very painful and traumatic experience, whilst someone else can have a much more positive and less painful experience. It all depends on you!

    I think the best thing is to find out as much as you can about labour and how it affects your body (understanding this really does help), as well as what pain relief options are available so that you can make an informed decision on what is best for you.

  11. #11
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW

    Yep I agree Tootie! I think I actually got really scared when the full on contractions started because I had been having mild ones for so long and then WHAM ouchies... but the fear did me in, I would have lasted heaps longer (and still wound up with the same result... Matilda )

  12. #12
    ok take 2 of going back to work.....

    Nov 2004
    Giving the gift of life to a friend..

    Ok, I agree it hurts but not a hurt that you cannot stand it.. My hind waters broke on Tuesday, I was having mild contractions rest of Tuesday & Wednesday, so we went into hospital they gave me Panadeine Forte & sent me home, I ate dinner & went to try to sleep, I recall rolling over in bed & hear a very loud pop, I felt wet & ran to sit over the bath as i could not stop the water running out of me! Hard tyo explain it was so weird that you just cannot use your muscles to stop it...
    But no contractions, so I sat on some towels & watched TV until I really started to panic at about 3am, on Thursday morning. I was about 3cm dialated vomiting & contractions were stopping on & off... Noone told me using ventolin can slow down contractions etc, so being asthmatic I was panicking & using my ventolin, I started vomiting blood from breathing thru my throa, they tested the water that was leaking from me & the baby had poo'd so they decided to put me on a drip, but as I had been vawake all Tuesday night & now Wednesday night they had to give me electrolytes first, so 2 drip bags of them & then the syntocin, which started ok, but within an hour the contractions were coming on so hard, I was walking around & mooing like a cow.. I asked & got pethidine, it took the pain away & let me rest in between contractions!
    But I knew I could do it, when I listened to this woman screaming like a banshee in the next room, yelling "I can't, I can't I don't wanna do this anymore!" & screaming very loud, then I heard the nurses say, "Great love, only one more push, I looked at my Mum with sheer terror in my eyes & she said "just listen!" about 2 mins later I hear the lady screaming & then "Waaah, waaaah!" Instantly that ladies voice went from pain to undying love, I could hear her saying "Oh, isn't she gorgeous, isn't she beautiful!" I knew then, that it could not be too bad!
    I went in shower, hot bath etc & before long felt the urge to push which I must say was liking finally finding that itchy spot...
    Back on the bed & I was having more stronger contractions, I was now 9cm dialated & allowed to push, the nurse told my sister to run hot water onto a maternity pad when the head started crowning, as the heat from the water against the stretched area made it numb, so I did not feel pain there then, within a few pushes her head was out & soon after she flopped out like a fish, it was like heaven & I am looking forward to it all over again!
    I never thought it would be so amazing! As the nurse was stitching me (I did not feel a tear or anything) she asked if I'd do it again, I said yep, tomorrow, so i guess it was not as bad as what i'd pictured in my head!

    Best of luck, you'll be fine, your body just takes over & you do kind of drift off to somewhere else whailst your body does what it needs to do!

  13. #13

    Mar 2004

    I don't want to scare you but I had one of those three (nearly four) day labours with stitches to the moon. Afterwards I was totally traumatised by the whole experience, not just labour, but also the loss of privacy ( I felt like everyone and thier best friend had looked up my fanny and copped a feel for good measure), the dreadful food, the uncomfy bed and the rest of the hospital experience. I did all the preparation I could, classes, excercises, books etc but in the end nothing could prepare me for what I went through. I think that I didn't think enough about unexpected outcomes, I had such an easy pregnancy and I've always been so healthy that I just assumed that I would have an active drug free labour.
    Afterwards DH and I both swore that we would never have another child but now three months down the track we're both thinking about number two.
    I think that the most important thing to remember is that no matter how bad it is the memory will fade, that in the long run it is only a tiny part of being a mother and most importantly that its all worth it when you fall in love with your incredible little miracle.
    Mind you I still feel like ***** slapping any woman who tells me how empowering her 3hr active labour was 8-)

  14. #14
    BellyBelly Member

    Nov 2003

    in my opinon labour doesnt hurt really all too badly,
    sure when the head comes out it stings, but well personally i didnt ifnd it all that bad, and you forget all about it afterwards, soon as bubs comes out.. it does sting when u go to the loo but well that goes away after time too..

    take care

  15. #15
    Melinda Guest

    Following on from my last post, I unfortunately, can remember the pain only too well!! A lot of people have said the same thing, that somehow your body 'forgets' how it felt, but not for me! As much as I want another baby, I still cannot forget the pain and screaming at DH to knock me over the head because I couldn't cope. So for me, the pain was such that I couldn't cope with it and I was only too glad when I finally got an epidural. As I said in my last post, finding out about what pain relief options are available is definitely the way to go so that you are at least aware of your options when the time comes.

    By typing this, I don't wish to frighten anybody either, but like dachlostar, my experience wasn't great....I too felt very traumatised by the birth and a lengthy labour followed by an emergency caesarean. BUT....the end result was worth all of the pain and trauma.....if it weren't, I wouldn't want another baby, but believe me, I most certainly do! Mind you, I have been told to have an elective caesarean next time!!

  16. #16
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2003
    Kilmore Vic

    I had 4 very positive births.

    I was 19 with my first, had a midwife who was so good, that I felt like I was in control, the birth started naturally 9 days late and progressed from period like pains to much more intense pain, but I tried to concentrate on breathing through the pain. I did have gas and didn't feel 2 contractions afterwards, but it made me feel out of it. So much so that Dh and I still argue about who had the first hold, I say I didn't he says I did. I ahd stiches after an episiotmy and I reckon that was prob the worse part.

    The 2nd birth I took the same approach, went naturally 7 days late and much the same as the first, no drugs that time, concentrating on breathing and got through.

    My 3rd was induced with gel only and I had my waters broken after 10 hrs of mild contractions. That was my worse birth as the contractions didn't let up, they came one on top of the other with no breaks. My 1st labour the contractrions never got closer than 5 mins. I could have tried to slow everything down by laying down, but as I wanted it over I stood up, leaning on the bed. Again breathing is the key for me, and also telling myself that every contraction means I'm one closer to the end. I did try to negotiate the number of contractions left with my dr but he wouldn't come to the party.

    My 4th birth was the same as my 1st and 2nd. And I only needed 2 pushes to get her out, more negotiation with my dr, he must think I am very amusing when I say things like "this is the last push ok, I am not pushing again, the baby is coming out now!" I think he was quite surprised when I did what I said. I must say with the 3rd and 4th I seriously questioned my sanity to be back there again, I was sure I was crazy and during my 3rd labour I told my DH I couldn't do it to which he replied his nana had 10 kids, so I said she was an idiot, of course I felt bad later as the poor lady is dead, but labour turns you into someone else.

    The stinging feeling is a very welcome feeling to me as I recognise that the end is near, and I listened carefully at that time to my dr so I didn't tear or need stitches for any of the last 3 births. I hate the shoulders coming out more than the head.
    I think it has to do with your pain threshold to, and some people have better thresholds than others.

    Tootie my cousin had a very traumatic birth with her first and had her second over 4 yrs later bc she couldn't bear the thought of going through it again, but she changed her mind bc she wanted her son to have a sibling. Her 2nd birth was much better, so the first doesn't always indicate how the next one would be.

    Funny thing is just talking about the pain I know I could do it again, BUT we can not afford 5 kids financially or mentally. It's tough having 4, I'm pretty sure we have to stop now or I will need some serious mental help.

    Cheers Michelle

  17. #17
    BellyBelly Member

    Mar 2004
    Wales, UK

    OMG! 8-[

    Thanks for all the info, it's been really helpful to read! Did you have your partner with you during labour? My dp wants to be with me throughout, but a part of me wonders whether he would really like to see me in labour, considering he can't stand blood and anything vaguely icky!

  18. #18
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2003
    Kilmore Vic

    Sorry Welshgirl, I just noticed my post was definetly epic, LOL.

    I had my Dh in for all 4 births and for my first my Dad was there too.

    My Dh was a little nervous with our first but he wouldn't have missed it for the world, and he cut the cord on all 4 of our kids. It really gives men a new appreciation of women, my DH always tells people after watching me give birth he thinks that I and women in general are amazing, cause there is no way he could go through all that pain. Don't worry about the yucky stuff, when he sees your baby for the first time he will be over any blood and stuff straight away.

    Best of luck for a H&H pg.

123 ...