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Is there anything you can compare the pain of childbirth to?

I'm 32+2 weeks right now and really looking forward to my labour, for some reason I've never felt any fear throughout the pregnancy. I'm expecting to feel like I'm going to die, but am I being naïve? Is there anyway you can explain it, or anything you can compare it to? Everyone keeps telling me to be prepared for the worst, but I just hate this negativity. If the worst happens then it happens, but why would dwelling on that possibility help?

The worst pains I've have ever had in my life are chronic colitis, blistered hip cartilage and a medical termination (I thought I was going to die then). Any insight on how these compare would be interesting. Thank you :-)

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I would recommend you read a hypnobirthing book. In our culture we present the image that childbirth is horrendous and something to be suffered- many other parts of the world its viewed completely differently. You can trust your body and it’s ability to bring life into the world! If you can alter your perspective on what you will experience and remove any fear you’ll stay calmer and feel much less pain. Keep that Oxytocin flowing!

This is coming from a woman of Science! There’s a huge body of research into it. I thought it was all a bit hippy and woo-woo for my first birth but it helped massively and I’m fully embracing it for my second (I’m 32 weeks also).

It’s an amazing experience and you will cherish it 🥰

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I am so pleased someone else wrote this response! Whilst I am yet to have my first baby, I have been doing the online Hypno birthing course from The Positive Birthing Company and it's amazing. We are designed to give birth and whilst it might be uncomfortable the course I'm doing describes it as a intense work out and you need to allow your brain to work with your body to give birth. The teacher says that your body would naturally birth this baby but your brain can put you in to fight or flight mode which will naturally hinder things. I'd highly recommend reading up on hypnobirthing.

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Exactly that! Stay super chill, trust the process and you’ll be fine. My labour was 12 hours and I can honestly say it felt like 90 minutes. Feeling excited and anxious is totally normally but let go of any fear

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I agree with this- I did a hypnobirthing course and read the PBC hypnobirthing book mentioned above. Although my labour didn’t go exactly to plan- I had a really positive early experience, I got to 5cm dilated at home just using the Freya hypnobirthing app and then went straight into the birthing pool wt hospital and only used gas and air to get to the full 10cm using the breathing techniques. Unfortunately due to baby’s size I couldn’t get her out without the help of forceps and needed stronger pain relief by then (as I couldn’t compare that with any other pain I’d experienced before!) , but honestly think I was able to stay as calm as I could be in the situation due to the hypnobirthing. So would definitely recommend it and would equally recommend having an epidural as that was a saviour for me when the pain got too much to handle! xx

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That's so amazing and interesting to hear! As I get closer to giving birth the anticipation of knowing what it feels like does get more curious!

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Everyone's experience is different but for me it felt like super strong period pains. It was painful but not as bad as I thought and I would have done all again the very next day! Bear in mind that once those contractions are coming thick and fast you don't get much respite and that can be tough, but the end is usually in sight when it starts to feel like that. The thing is, the pain is worth it because you get to meet your baby at the end unlike when you are experiencing other pain as you describe above! Keep thinking positively; labour is surreal but I had a really wonderful experience. Good luck xx

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This is my second pregnancy.

Not scared at all, because I had a very good experience the first time.

Remember : even each birth pain can vary for one person so noone can really tell you how you'll feel.

For me , personally, as a migraine sufferer: I would prefer to give a birth each time I have a migraine instead of having a migraine attack , as my migraines are more painful than actually giving birth. And migraines are longer.

Good luck!

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How exciting that your so close to meeting your little one! My baby girl is 7 weeks old so wasn’t long ago I was in labour. Like you I wasn’t scared at all I was looking forward to it. Although I genuinely can’t compare the pain to anything what I can say Is it’s true that you forget about it the second your baby is in your arms. I remember at the time thinking it was the worst pain ever but I’d already go back and do it all again. 😊 hope this helps xx

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The pain can vary a lot from person to person so I will describe how I felt with my labours. The pain from the contractions usually starts off mild and ramps up until it’s really intense. You can have pain all in the lower stomach like extremely bad period pains or in the back like having intense lower back pains. If you’re really unlucky you can get both. That’s the contraction side then there’s a transition type stage that most women go through but not all where just before the pushing stage they start to feel scared and frightened, feeling like it’s too difficult to continue this too can be normal and the midwives will talk you through it. I know it’s not pain as such but it can catch you out to all of a sudden feel really out of control. Then with the pushing stage the contractions tend to be very intense with not much time between them at all, you can be lucky and your baby may be born in a few pushes or unlucky and it takes a while. The main pains except for the contractions tend to be an intense burning sensation as the baby makes it’s way out. I found this less painful when having a water birth than giving birth on a bed. It’s crazy but after the baby is born all the pain of labour seems to vanish. However no one ever really talks about the pain in your girl bits afterwards. You will most likely feel like you’ve been kicked by a horse in them. If you are lucky and don’t get stitches you may get a graze which also like stitches really stings when you pee. It can sometimes take weeks or even months before your girl bits feel normal. Hope this breakdown of my experiences with labour helps you hun. Xx

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I’ve had three and each one was different tony first two I never felt any contractions and my labor was super fast less then an hr and easy my third was very hard lots of pain and his shoulders got stuck in me so it was hard so it’s really hard to say how one would feel or how it would go I always so never go in with a plan as things can change really fast

If my last labor was like my first two I would be wanting another baby but I am so done lol

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Please don’t worry! Your body and mind know exactly what to do at the time and something just takes over and gets you through it. Once it is all over it’s a distance memory and then we do it all over again! 😂 Stay positive and remain calm, you get a little break after each contraction, so just breathe and take a min. Good luck xxx

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My sister had kidney stones and all the nurses said having kidney stones is the closest pain to giving birth.

I had too have a c section, so can’t help on the pain xx

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I wouldn’t worry about it either- I was much the same as you in first pregnancy. I survived, as have millions of others before and after me.

Just know that whatever happens there’s options to assist with the pain when you’re in the moment depending on if you’re happy to accept interventions.

I consider myself a tough cookie but in all honesty the contractions were quite bad so I ended up having an epidural 🥴

I’m due again in a couple of months with second and still prepared to give it a go without pain relief if I can cope so just know that it’s not something that’s going to stay with you forever- it subsided and life goes on

Not very helpful in terms of comparisons I suppose 🤷🏻‍♀️

I can only describe it as the worst period pain you’ve ever felt but right in your bits 😬

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This is my second I'm 34 weeks and looking forward to the pains but I think it's different with everyone, my first was a little bit painful bcs my waters didn't break they had to pop it at the hospital

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My water broke only for the pushing stage - so I wonder if that made any difference in how long my baby's delivery was ... (26h in total)

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I’m going to give a different take on this, not because I want to scare you but because I wish someone had been more honest with me. (Not to say the other ladies are lying, but those with negative experiences didn’t tell me...).

I’ve just had my third (just on the ward again 10 weeks on due to complications..) and for me there’s no comparable pain. With No3 they induced early and for the first time I had pain relief (epidural as they got the induction started) and it was an amazing experience, but No1 & 2 (despite preparation classes, hypnobirthing etc) were very traumatic. No2 came in 16 minutes so my body had to go from 2cm - 10cm in 16 minutes, so no surprise it hurt... My experience is not the standard but during that time I genuinely felt like I was dying. Whilst in hospital with No3 I certainly am not alone with this either as I heard other women scream a similar way...

Having said that, despite even No1 being traumatic (I spare you the details), I still had two further babies. Pregnancies were difficult for me after No1 due to the fear of birth, but speak to your hospital if you have a lot of anxiety. My hospital has been brilliant and I have had follow up appointments after birth to talk it through and in subsequent pregnancies have twice been referred to a team that deals with people ‘like me’ so to speak ;-)

The midwife team and hospital are there for you so reach out to them. Breathing and relaxing is the most important thing So I’d definitely recommend hypnobirthing and downloading apps with calming breathing exercises. Just saying ‘it’ll be fine’ won’t reallt get rid off your anxiety, so best to tackle it. If your birth isn’t as quick as my first two you’ll hopefully also have time to connect with the midwives there (I was high risk so had one to one midwife care, but I don’t think that’s standard in a low risk pregnancy) but still. Make sure your birth partner knows what you want and don’t want so you’ve got that reassurance of having the support there as and when and be open to flexibility. I really wanted a water birth but wasn’t able to have one... things can change during labour, so just keep an open mind.

And once you hold your baby in your arm, whatever pain you may have been in... it stops there and then!

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Poor you- went through so much! But what a joy now: your 3 babies 💗

I have seen movies but my birthing story is nothing like in the movies....

I had nearly unmedicated birth except 2 shots in the leg - which I don't think really helped (I tried gass&air, water but it did not lessen my pain, neither thought I will be offered an epidural as each time midwife came in she said I am doing so great!)

My water never broke - only when I needed to push, so I never saw a puddle of water or water dripping down my leg.

I never screamed - I never felt that way, that screaming could help or release the pain. I was concentrated on low breathing.

Friend of mine told me that when the midwife checked how much open she is it hurt more than pushing 9lb baby out of her.

Me: I did not mind the check and i did not feel pain to push my baby out (then again - he was only 6lb1oz)

I agree- each of us we feel pain differently and remember it differently .

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The main problem with my first was that they didn’t believe me when I said I was in pain. I was just 2cm and they were so dismissive, said it’d be another 12-18 hours and ignored me. I’m not someone to make a fuss and would never scream but it was just so painful. After half an hour (they wanted to send me home...) one of them rolled her eyes and said she’d just check again and I was 10cm. I asked for pain relief but they whisked me into the delivery room, told me it was too late for pain relief other than gas and air (which made me vomit) and told me I needed to push. Things didn’t go very well, not the place here right now to go into detail but it was pretty painful and scary. To this day I have no idea when my waters broke!

No2 was too quick for anyone to check anything. No3 was induced and came out not breathing which was terrifying.

All three times I had retained placenta, twice I needed surgery under general anaesthetic. Now with No3 I managed to develop thrombosis and have to inject every evening for 3 months. I’m lucky to have him though so I don’t want to moan. Last year I had an ectopic pregnancy and my Fallopian tube burst. I almost lost my life that night (lost my tube), so I’m lucky to have conceived and given birth to a healthy little being.

I think all births have their own stories and there are some beautiful births out there. Just because it was induced and I had an epidural from the start I’d say No3 was such a beautiful birth (and on my birthday, what a present!) but personally even though I’d really wanted it i didn’t get to have the relaxing and beautiful natural births. As long as the little ones are safe that’s all that matters though!

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Can't believe how much you've been through! So glad you're still alive and have your precious 3 babies!

You're one amazing & strong woman! (And your cervix is a supermachine to open up like that!!!)

The weird thing about me giving birth was that when I had an urge to push - midwives suggested not to, but when there were hardly any contractions left - I kind of pushed guessing that it was a contraction... Really weird...

And me too- after giving birth I was given a spinal anaesthesia as my placenta was still retained... General anaesthesia sounds too harsh for this procedure (unless it's a necessity- doctors probably knew what's best for you). I think surgery took all together around 1,5h and then I was reunited with my boy 💙

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How interesting that they did just a spinal anesthesia for you!

My first one was in a private hospital and under general, my second one was much later, 8 weeks post-birth. I'd told my GP that something wasn't right and they dismissed it saying it's so unlikely. So we went on holidays and then I got really ill and had to go to hospital in Germany and had the procedure done there, also under general.

This time round my body absorbed it itself, had my last ultrasound scan today, but it would've been under general again (this time in an NHS hospital).

The things you do for your family, right!

Now that we're done with having kids, I'm feeling it's my husband's turn with regards to contraception ;-)

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I really can't believe how much you've been through 😢

And how the doctor did not inspect your placenta to see that piece is missing!

I gave birth at NHS hospital in North East and my placenta was sooooo stubborn, that it would not move at all. However, I don't think I had a scan afterwards :( Now I am 30w pregnant and prepared that this might happen again. Except, I am giving birth in a different country and I think the practice here is a general anaesthesia... Praying God that my placenta will come out after baby!!!

(In my case: my mum had issue with her placenta - would not detach and she nearly bled to death ,as my second sister came so quickly that was born at home and then took 40 min to drive to the hospital, surgery, blood transfusion. My sister had issue with placenta too .. so at least I was somewhat prepared for it.)

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It'll be painful 😖 I gave birth two days ago and I can honestly say it was the worst pain iv ever had and iv had 4 babies if you need pain relief take it I tied everything and even consented to an epidural but before they could get it set up my baby was born x

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Honestly I can't really describe the pain, some people say it's like period pains but for me it really wasn't, and after having my first I really felt like everyone had lied to me 😂- for both of my children's births. If I was you I would try not to think about it too much, baby has to come out some way and just be prepared to ask for pain relief if you need xxxxx

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I’ve had 3, all induced (at 40+10), all on gas and air and one back to back. It hurts, but you can do it, and there’s all manner of pain relief available if you need it.

Something that’s worth remembering is this won’t be like those other pains you’ve listed. This is healthy pain, it is your muscles and body working as they should to bring your baby to you. It is like the pain from the most hardcore work out imaginable (and then some). It is not the sick pain of your body telling you something is wrong. Try to get bigger than the pain: shout, stomp, move about. Your body is amazing and doing what it should xx

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Congratulations!!! Why on earth are people being so negative and scare mongering!? I had my first baby in March and I gotta say (imo) it's really not that bad! At all! I was induced, had the baby vaginally and with only gas and air, he ended up needing a ventouse delivery and I therefore had an episiotomy. I don't recall any actual *pain* as such at all. I found the contractions uncomfortable and thoroughly annoying. I don't remember any pain when pushing or even when crowning etc. I think cause you know the pain is temporary and you're flooded with hormones you can tell yourself to deal with it. I would say relax, enjoy and don't let these people's negative words linger in your head. Good luck and enjoy!! Xxx

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I don’t think it’s scare mongering. Not everyone is as lucky as you seem to have been. And I personally was in for a big shock after everyone had told me how lovely it will be. It wasn’t. Retained placenta was never ever mentioned to me either! Not in the NCT class, nowhere. So I was in for a big shock when doctors started to pull on the cord, dug into my stomach and massaged the hell out of it with me losing more and more blood just to then be told I’d have to go to theatre.

Is that scary to hear when you’re about to give birth? It sure is. But if someone asks me then I won’t lie and say all will be fine and it’s not bad when my personal experience wasn’t beautiful and lovey.

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when I had my first I always got told a tattoo was worst than having a baby.... but they only told me that to make me feel better as I was scared as I was young.... but look back now I never had no pain..... I had more pain with my second.... but everyone is different It aint as bad as people make out..... you could read up about it and you will get loads of different stories..... just think positive at the end of it all will be your bundle of joy good luck xxx

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Keep up the positive thinking. I felt the same as you, I wasn't scared and I was just thrilled about meeting my baby. I'm not going to say it didn't hurt, it did. Contracting from 4cm to 10cm was intense and I made guttural noises I didn't know I had in me. Kind of like a lioness roaring!! I didn't find the pushing stage too painful, just exhausting. And I made it to the other side! As do millions of women every single day. It was all immediately forgotten the moment my baby was in my arms and I said to hubby "please can we have another baby one day!". I would happily go through it again... and I guess I will as I'm 24 weeks pregnant. Have a look into hypnobirthing, it'll give you techniques to deal with the contractions - or surges as some like to call them.

I can't think of a comparison as I don't have one. But I didn't break a bone when my baby was young and for a split second the pain felt like how I remembered contractions to be. So I guess that's the closest comparison.

Wishing you loads of luck with the rest of your pregnancy and an empowering birth! :)

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For me the pain was worse than I could’ve imagined but everyone’s experience is different. All my pain was in my back and it felt like my back was breaking in every possible place. I passed out twice, so I now understand why everyone tells you to breath - turns out it is possible to forget!! Gas and air helped me focus my breathing, I swore I didn’t want an epidural but after about 8 hours of intense and very frequent contractions, I caved and felt amazing after! I was induced which can apparently make it more painful. Until I had the epidural, lying down was the worst possible position for me, so when it comes to it, you may find it helps to move around. That moment you see your baby for the first time does make it all so worthwhile though!

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Ah yes, it's the back!

That was where all my pain was located as well! I don't think it was the contractions that were that painful but the position of my little ones and pressing on the back/nerves in the back.

Also, I had SPD with No1 in particular, so pushing was really painful due to that.

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I am pregnant with my 4th child there is no way of explaining the feeling of childbirth to someone else as we all have different experiences and deal with pain and discomfort differently.

I have had quick labours and long ones and each one was different.

I’ve only used gas and air and breathing techniques with my first 2 but needed something stronger with the 3rd she was a big baby.

All I would say is try to concentrate on your breathing and work through each contraction and rest your body tells you what to do.

I wish you and your baby well xx

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I hate labour for me it’s not a nice pleasant experience, who wants to be in pain really? But you just do it because you have too, my first was back to back and literally the worse pain I’ve ever experienced for 18 hours had ventouse a episiotomy tore inside and out so stitches everywhere weeks to recover. Mentally scared but still had another baby 2 years later although I was scared from the prev birth it was so much easier pain was still intense but was a lot quicker 3 hours in hospital gas and air abit of pethidine 2 mins pushing no stitches felt great afterwards. Everyone is different and every labour is different you’ll be fine.

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