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Labor: How Does Giving Birth Actually Feel?

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Labor: How Does Giving Birth Actually Feel?

Being pregnant is a wonderful experience, and you are overwhelmed with joy while waiting to hold your baby for the first time. All the people say that you look beautiful and are glowing, but women who have never been pregnant, and men who haven’t had a pregnant partner, don’t know how everything will go throughout the process. You sweat most of the time, your feet are swollen, and if you have entered the ninth month, you can’t wait to give birth. If this is your first child, get ready to learn how it feels to actually give birth.

1. Types of pains during contractions

The type and intensity of pain is completely individual. It may be similar, but never the same, as everyone experiences pain differently. From cramping to stabbing, the pain of contractions can be categorized in three points, but the intensity and areas of pain are always different.

  • Cramps

“My contractions were like menstrual cramps on steroids”

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Many mothers say that the pain they were feeling during contractions were like cramps during menstruation, gas, or a stomach flu. Except, it wasn’t the types of pain we are used to normally, but an extreme version of them. If you thought your menstruation cramps are the worst pain you’ve ever experienced, you were definitely wrong.

  • Punching

“Each contraction felt like getting punched in the stomach – the type of punch that knocks all the air out of you.”

Another type of pain, usually described by mothers, is punching. They all described feeling like they are punched in the stomach or back.

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  • Stabbing

“It was like someone took a serrated knife and stabbed me in the top of my stomach, slowly, slowly sawed downward to my pubic bone, and then stopped for a few minutes and started all over again.”

This is probably the worst pain you can experience during contractions. The experience is extremely painful, uncomfortable and unpleasant.

2. Pressure and pushing

“You feel like you want to poop really bad, and there’s some pressure pushing down.”

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During labor, almost all women feel pressure in the vagina and stomach. This pressure is felt before the pushing stage and the best way to describe this rather unpleasant feeling is by comparing it to pooping. Lots of women felt like they were pooping.

“I had deep waves of intense pain up until I was able to push. Then the pain became part of the background noise, as though I was in an altered state.” 

When it comes to pushing, there are two types of answers. While some women felt a huge pain, and like they are about to poop, other women felt it like a relief, as all the pain was alleviated when the pushing started.

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3. Pushing leads to total exhaustion

“It was a lot of physical work, kind of like doing weight training at the gym with heavy weights”

When contractions start you cannot think of anything else, except for focusing on bearing the pain. Then you feel a lot of pressure, and you come to the pushing stage, where you start to use all of your energy. As some labors can even last beyond 24 hours, you start to feel exhausted and you just cannot think or do anything, but fall asleep.

4. Giving birth is actually a magical experience

“Emotionally, it was amazing. Many people say the pain disappears once your child is in your arms, and they’re right!”

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Labor times average 8 hours but in some cases it can last shorter or even longer. During contractions you feel immense pain, and when your cervix has dilated to 10 cm, you need to keep pushing for about one or two hours. Giving birth is a magnificent experience and cannot be compared to anything else. Also, this unique experience differs from person to person, and can never be the same.

However, one thing is the same, and that is the feeling when you hold your baby for the first time. That moment, you stop thinking about everything, and the pain you felt is already forgotten. Every woman says that it is the worst pain imaginable, and the whole pregnancy is far from magical, but that they would go through the same ordeal all over again, because nothing compares to the feeling you get when you look at your newborn baby. The best description of that feeling would be ultimate happiness.

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