Moaning, screaming, and cursing. These are some of the pleasant sounds commonly associated with childbirth.
Is this really the truth about birth though? How much pain will you actually experience? Can you do anything to diminish that pain? While birth is different for everyone, we’ve got the information, tips, and tricks to help you feel prepared for the pain of childbirth.
✨ How painful is childbirth?
Every person’s experience with birth will be different. Pain is subjective and can vary greatly. This means that you may have a very different pain experience from even your mother or sister.
Pain during labor is caused by contractions of the muscles of the uterus and by pressure on the cervix. This pain can be felt as strong cramping in the abdomen, groin, and back, as well as an achy feeling. Some women experience pain in their sides or thighs as well.
Women experience labor pain differently — for some, it resembles menstrual cramps; for others, severe pressure; and for others, extremely strong waves that feel like diarrheal cramps.
✨ What can you do to decrease pain during birth?
Pain relief during labor is a personal choice. You can try any combination of the following methods.
✅ Breathing techniques
Whether you choose to follow a particular breathing routine during labor or just need to do some low vocalizations to help you through the more intense contractions, focusing on your breathing can help you manage the pain.
Even if you don’t want to give birth in water, spending some time in a shower or bath can help relieve the pain of childbirth.
Being in the water has been found to be particularly effective in the first stage of labor. It can help relieve both pain and anxiety. If you have access to a moveable showerhead, aiming warm water directly onto the lower back may feel especially pleasant.
The most common pain medication for birthing mothers in the United States, an epidural can relieve the pain a mother is feeling within 10 to 20 minutes. Most hospitals provide epidural analgesia, and if your pain is beyond a manageable level, you can request one.
Massage may be a bit of an understatement when it comes to the kind of pressure most women need for relief during labor. Even if you don’t find that counter pressure reduces the pain, having your partner rub your feet or massage your hands or temples can distract you, relax you, and generally make you feel cared for, which is a major morale boost.