How does labour pain feel like?

How painful is it actually to give birth? It’s difficult to describe labour pain. On one hand, it’s big and powerful, on the other hand, it’s functional, motivating – and passing.

Ingela Ågren

3 min read

Ingela Ågren

How does labour pain feel like?
Photo:Preggers

Usually, we talk about acute or chronic pain, but labour pain is neither and differs completely from other pain conditions. Throughout history, we have learned that pain signals danger, death or illness. But contractions that induce a delivery is a sign of something positive. What you have been waiting for and longing for is finally about to happen!

No other pain has a positive message like labour pain. There is no other similar condition where the pain comes and goes and you have the chance to take a break, rest, relax and gather energy to meet the next wave. In other words, labour pain is special. If it weren’t, and women weren’t able to cope with it, reproduction wouldn’t have worked and the human race wouldn’t have survived. If you are expecting your first baby and are worried, just think of all the women who chose to do it all over again, and again and again.

It’s natural to be nervous before the delivery. It hurts to give birth, there’s no denying that, so prepare yourself and learn as much about the different delivery stages as you can. The most important preparation is to manage and meet the pain, which makes it even more important to find out beforehand what is happening in the body during childbirth. It’s also advisable to read up and ask your midwife about different forms of pain relief. Today, mothers have an active role in selecting pain relief. But since you never know how the delivery will turn out, it’s good not to decide too much beforehand. Try to consult with the midwife when it’s happening and remember you can only control the delivery to a certain degree.

One way to meet the pain is by making sounds and screaming. It could feel good but it’s very different from a woman to a woman if you want to scream or not. To scream in panic is never good, you’ll tense up and resist and then you waste a lot of energy. But screaming might also relax your abdomen and vagina and let off the pressure. It could be good if you worry that it’ll go too fast when you are pushing out your baby. If you want to maximise the effect of your pushes, it’s better to scream at that time.

There seems to be something that makes women who have had a baby forget the pain afterwards. Many also say in hindsight that the pain and the labour were an exhilarating feeling where the pain came in waves with stronger and stronger power, but it was alright as long as they could relax and concentrate on breathing between the contractions. The feeling during the pushing stage, when the body takes over and it’s not possible to stop what is happening, can feel overwhelming, but at the same time, incredibly fascinating. And then you’ll get your reward!

Source: Swedish Health Care Guide

Ingela Ågren

Ingela Ågren