(Closed) Was labor more or less painful than you expected? (poll)

posted 5 years ago in Babies
  • poll: How painful was labor, compared to your expectations/what others told you?
    It was so much worse : (75 votes)
    28 %
    It was a little worse : (24 votes)
    9 %
    It was exactly as anticipated/described : (16 votes)
    6 %
    It was a little less painful : (21 votes)
    8 %
    It was way less painful : (29 votes)
    11 %
    I opted for an epidural off the bat : (31 votes)
    12 %
    I tried to skip the epidural but couldn't : (39 votes)
    15 %
    I didn't get an epidural : (33 votes)
    12 %
  • Post # 46
    1435 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2008 - Toronto, ON

    Just saw the poll, the results are scaring me and I am due in July! LMAO

    Post # 47
    104 posts
    Blushing bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    I voted that it was way less painful. Contractions felt like intense menstrual cramps, but the good thing about contractions is that they only last a minute, whereas menstrual cramps (for me at least) last a good five to ten minutes before subsiding. One tip: try different positions when you’re getting through a contraction. My instinct was to lie in bed because that’s what I usually do when I’m not feeling well, but it turns out that lying down made contractions way more painful. They were much more bearable when I was standing and bending forward with my forearms resting on something chest-height. Anyway, I was surprised to learn that I was fully dilated when I got to the hospital! I never felt like I wanted an epidural. Pushing did not come naturally to me. I had to be coached on how to do it, and it took at least an hour before I was really pushing effectively. But once I figured it out, pushing completely distracted from the pain of contractions, to the point where I actually felt kind of aroused as my vagina was beginning to stretch (sorry if that’s weird). It did feel like my butt was turning inside out from pushing, though. The last two pushes (as her head was coming out) stung a little bit, but it wasn’t a big deal.  The craziest feeling was feeling all her little limbs shoot out as soon as the head was out and then immediately feeling all those squirmy, slimy little limbs on my chest when they put her on me. I’ll never forget that. After the baby’s out, there’s still some pain to come, because you have to deliver the placenta, and then they massage your stomach to help the uterus contract, which isn’t pleasant. You’ll probably also feel shaky and sore for a day. And breastfeeding feels kind of unpleasant at first. But I never really felt any pain from where I had a tiny first-degree tear. Overall, recovery was easier than expected, too. On the whole, I found the whole process of creating a human fascinating and pretty enjoyable!!

    Post # 48
    3378 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: December 2011

    For me, it was much worse than I expected. I knew it would be painful, but I was confident that I could handle it, especially if I was able to stay up and move through contractions to help cope and help baby move down. I would note, though, that my labor and delivery were far from textbook. My waters broke before I was in active labor, I experienced stalled progress, back labor, pushed for 3.5 hours, and had a forceps delivery. I know many womenwho had a much easier time than I did (though they likely wouldn’t call it easy).

    Post # 49
    1553 posts
    Bumble bee

    MrsAKSkier:  I was about to say the same thing about C-sections. I used to be a labor and delivery nurse, and while we had many C-sections, we had WAY more vaginal births. I was totally baffled by that comment lol.

    Post # 50
    1842 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: July 2016

    I’ve never given birth but I actually can’t wait to.  I’m fascinated by it.  

    I’m currently reading “Childbirth Without Fear” by Grantly Dick-Read, and it’s fascinating!  He’s like the father of natural childbirth philosophy.  It was written in the UK in the 40s, but has been a classic ever since. http://www.amazon.com/Childbirth-Without-Fear-Principles-Practice/dp/1780660553/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1429325005&sr=1-1&keywords=childbirth+without+fear 

    I also read this book: http://www.amazon.com/Natural-Childbirth-Bradley-Way-Revised/dp/0452276594 And it was also really interesting.  I thought I knew a lot about birth, but I learned so much about how our muscles work and how the birthing process plays out.  

    Definitely read up!  The more you know, the better prepared you can be. 

    Post # 51
    498 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: May 2016

    I was all for a natural birth, and it was written all over my birth plan. I didn’t stick to one word of it. I had back labor, and it was so much more intense than I ever thought.  I went into labor at 9pm and I made it until 5am before finally begging for an epidural. If I had waited even ten more minutes, they said they wouldn’t have been able to give it to me. I was totally fine after that. I couldn’t sleep since I was so excited. The only problem with the epidural was that it drastically slowed down the contractions. I went from less than two minutes apart to at one point fourteen… or so I was told because I couldn’t feel it. If I had skipped the epidural, LO would have been born around 6am, but didn’t come until 11:43am. 

    My biggest issue was with the pitocin. I didn’t want it, the doctor argued with me that I needed to move along for the baby’s sake. Which was BS. The moment that it hit my system LO’s heart rate dropped to 40 and my blood pressure dropped so drastically that they wanted to pull me in for an emergency c-section. Miraculously before that happened I got LO out in 3 pushes. 

    Post # 52
    1273 posts
    Bumble bee

    You are all freaking me out a little, not gonna lie. Haven’t had kids yet.

    Though I heard my great-grandmother said that by the time she got to her 10th child (14th pregnancy) it just felt like taking a really big dump. 🙂

    Post # 53
    1435 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2008 - Toronto, ON

    I just gave birth almost 2 weeks ago and by the time I got to the hospital it was too late to get an epidural. The contractions weren’t that bad until near the end. I was begging the dr for an epidural but by the time I got to the hospital I was already 9 cm.  I remember being in so much pain and when it was time to push, I felt like my rectum was going to tear from all the pressure. My baby’s heart rate was dropping and I almost needed an emergency C-section so the dr had to cut me and use vacuum. It didn’t hurt when he cut me, I was already in so much pain lol and when the dr stitched me up, that wasn’t too painful either, he numbed me first. Overall that pain I experienced was worth the little bundle of joy I have today! I would do it again in a heartbeat! 🙂 

    Post # 54
    509 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2016

    first child- induced, over 15 hours labor, no anesthesia, 3rd degree tear, and incontinence afterwards, HELL

    Second- C section- not so bad

    Thrird, over 24 hours labor about 3 hours pushing, again major vaginal tearing, inclusing labia and clitoris, HELL, at least no incontinence…

    Post # 55
    1263 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2011

    I was scheduled to have a repeat c-section so I did not expect to have any labor pains and never had any with my first (emergency c-section). But this time around I went into labor early. I still had a c-section but only after a few hours of labor. I cannot comment on how painful a vaginal delivery is because I’ve never experienced it, but labor was the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my entire life. One contraction after another, it was just so much pain you can barely breathe followed by a few seconds of relief and then more pain. I hope I never have to go through it again!

    ETA- commenting on a PP who said that contractions are easier to manage bending forward instead of laying down. I found this to be true and actually had rug burns on my elbows from propping myself up in the hospital bed every time I got a contraction and then laying back down to get some rest. 

    Post # 56
    1497 posts
    Bumble bee

    This is a great thread. I’m a planner like OP so it helps to read about stuff like this. 

    I also want a natural, med-free birth. The epideral and c-sections scares me more than the birth itself at this point, so I would like to avoid that at all costs. However, I’m sure my mind could change in the moment. 

    It helps to have an idea of the pain though. Hearing others’ experience is the only way to get that. Reading about it helps me prepare for it and have an idea of what to expect.

    Post # 57
    339 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: April 2012

    My response was “a little less paintful” but I also had an extremely easy L&D, especially for a first timer. My water broke at 9PM (unmistakeable GUSH into the toilet while I was trying to poop) – by the time I was checked by the nurse at the hospital about an hour later, I was already 4 cm dilated, 80% effaced. I’d been having what I thought were Braxton Hicks all day, but apparently I was really in early labor (unexpectedly so because I was 37 weeks). The cramps (which were actually contractions) I was feeling just felt like strong menstrual cramps. 

    I was still feeling just cramp-like pain at 2am but I was already 7cm. I suggested to my husband that we go walk around the ward, and we did, for about 20 minutes. The nurses were all astounded that I was walking around with no pain meds at 7cm dilated, but I didn’t think I was doing anything special, especially since there were no other laboring women in the ward and I had nothing to compare my experience to. When we got back into my room, it was like a switch – one minute I was in no pain and the next, I felt like I was being torn in half. I was going into transition and it was unbearable! I had never been in so much pain and actually started to vomit from the pain. I asked the nurse how much longer it would go on and she said it looked like I was dilating about a cm an hour, so another 3 hours or so. I looked at my husband and told him I couldn’t do this for three more hours, so I asked for the epidural. I asked the anesthesiologist to make it not super strong so that I could still feel contractions, and he did. I could even move my legs still, but it took the edge off the pain to the point that I was even able to nap for a little bit.

    At around 5:15am, I was 10cm and ready to go, but the baby was still pretty high (-1 station). The nurse suggested I keep laboring for a while so that the baby would move down into my pelvis and I wouldn’t have to push as much. She told me to call her if it felt like I had to poop. About a half hour later, I didn’t feel like I had to poop, but I felt like my tailbone was being crushed. I called her and she said we should do a test push. She got me all ready and I pushed and she started screaming “Stop! Stop! I have to go get the doctor, the baby’s right there!” Within 30 seconds there were about ten people in my room – my doctor, a bunch of nurses, pediatrician, nursery nurse, NICU, etc. Four pushes and 10 minutes later, my son was out and on my chest. I had a 2nd degree tear.

    So yeah, I had an easy, fast experience, no Pitocin. Better than expected, and I’m glad, because I had a difficult pregnancy with gestational diabetes and a lot of swelling.

    I will say that my nurse said my attitude probably helped my labor; when she went to write the “goal” on the little dry erase board when I was admitted, she was going to write “We’re having a baby tonight!” and I asked her instead to write, “Healthy mom, healthy baby, by any means necessary!” I walked in there with no birth plan except that both my baby and I be okay, even if that meant a C-section (not ideally what I wanted, but if I needed one, it wouldn’t have been the end of the world). My nurse said that the women who walk in with a ten page birth plan and no room for compromise are the ones who, more often than not, end up with a C-section. My nurse said my laid back, no stress approach was likely a big factor in the way my labor progressed.

     ETA: I get chronic clogged ducts from nursing and I frequently say to my husband that they hurt worse than labor!

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 5 months ago by  .
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    Post # 58
    1060 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: October 2012

    I selected ‘a little less painful’ and I did not have medication. I had a bit of a unique experience where I had a really quick labour and didn’t really register that I was in labour until it was almost time to push. My water broke and I felt crampy so headed to the hospital. On the way there I was timing my contractions and they were already 2 mins apart, but they still felt like period cramps instead of really painful contractions.

    When I got to the hospital my OB checked me and I was 8cm. After the cervical check the contractions picked up and became painful, it felt like a watermelon was trying to escape out my butt. So much pressure! lol I wanted to push right away but they said I couldn’t yet, and that was hard because once that urge takes over it is so hard to control! I kept asking them to re check me and after about 1/2 hour of that I was allowed to push.

    Pushing hurts but feels really good at the same time. Hard to explain, but once I got started, my body just knew what it had to do and something just came over me to help me through. I think I pushed for 20 mins or so. I was pretty silent during labour, but did let out a scream when I pushed out the head and then shoulders. The second the baby is out the pain goes away. I don’t remember delivering the placenta, honestly I think the nurse slowly pulled it out of me because I don’t remember delivering it at all. I had 2nd degree tear and since I didn’t have any pain meds I needed a needle to numb the area. Now that was painful! My OB kept teasing me that I just pushed out a baby med free but was squirming because of a needle! Once the numbing meds kicked in though, I didn’t feel her stitching me up.


    Post # 59
    1649 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: August 2000

    Sooo soooooooo much worst. 

    I was going to see how far I can make it without the epidural, but my first contraction Knocked the wind out of me! The epidural was the best! I loved it so much. In my experience, you cant plan your birth to the last detail. You can read up on birth, medication, etc. but nothing ever goes to plan…and that’s ok. My two cents is you should go into your birth with an open mind, anything can happen! I did not want a C-section but Towards the end of my labor I was begging for one but the doctor didn’t do it. Labor to me felt like I was going to die but I didn’t. I’m not saying this to scare you but that shit is for real!

    Uhhh, speaking of shit, I was actually dreading that more then the labor. But we can save that for another thread… Lol

    Post # 60
    826 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    My baby was almost 10 days late, so I was induced. I am not sure how I would have done had I not had pitocin, but I experienced severe cramping with very little let up for about 24 hours. I’ve had severe period cramps and I’d say it wasn’t worse than that, but after 24 hours I was done. I begged for an epidural, but because I wasn’t dilating, they would not give me one. My doctor said I had to be 4 cm. before getting an epidural. Finally at 3 cm., the nurse persuaded the doctor to give me the epidural. Within a couple hours of getting the epidural, I was fully dilated. I think my body was just fighting it before that and that epidural gave me a break from the pain and allowed me to make progress. The actual birth was fairly easy after that! 

    My plan for next time is to try without an epidural. However, if I am induced again, I don’t see myself making it through without one and I’m ok with that!

    The topic ‘Was labor more or less painful than you expected? (poll)’ is closed to new replies.

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