Is childbirth really that bad?

Annabeth - posted on 07/16/2010 ( 315 moms have responded )

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My name is Annabeth, i'm 16 and expecting my first baby a boy in just over 9 weeks time. I have been fine about the labour and delivery ever since i found out i was pregnant. The last 5 days people have been telling me about when they had their kids. Like my mum, sister, sister in law, aunty, cousin, friends of my mums and aunty's. They have told me about the pain, agony, needles, stitches, pushing, water's breaking every detail. Frankly it has me a bit spooked and nervous about what it will be like when my little boy is born. I know that it will probably be 10 times worse then i think now. I would just like to hear from other mums on how you felt before you had your first child? What you did to prepare for the labour and delivery? Did you have a birth plan or did you just go with the flow? How did you know you were in labour? I would just like to know if there is anything i should be doing or not do leading up to having my son. The advice i have been given is to walk a lot because that is supposed to be with the delivery. Is that true? And what else might help apart from the drugs?

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Hayley - posted on 07/17/2010

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You know the best advice I heard? Don't listen to anybody lol!
I had the same thing when I was pregnant with my first. Everybody like to tell you in great detail about their birth and what it was like, what they did, whether they had pain relief or not, all the horror stories bla bla bla bla!
All I found was that everyone said something different and there was often a clash of opinions and I'd end up shit scared lol!

It does hurt and it is very tiring but you body is pumped full of hormones throughout the whole process and it gives you amazing strength and tolerance...and then you have all the pain relief options to give you a bit of extra help if you do find you need it. The walking advice is good, definitely keep moving if you can, One other thing I found helped me is humour.....sounds crazy but it did me good to try and have a giggle :)

I think the short answer to your question is if childbirth was that bad then we as a species would have died out a long time ago.
You'll be fine......and you get a little buba at the end of it! So exciting :)

Louise - posted on 07/17/2010

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My advice is do what feels right for you. As this is your first baby ofcourse you are worrid about what is going to happen and how you will cope. You will be fine once you find out what works for you. Walk around if you want to as this does help, for me personally I just wanted to rock to ease the pressure in my back. With nine weeks to go it is a good idea to read up on all the pain relief that is available to you so that you know in advance what is what. If you really want something to happen like who cuts the cord or whatever then make a birth plan. These plans are designed to help the midwife and are not things that are stuck to rigidly. For example you may want to have a natural birth no drugs and change your mind. That is fine. I don't think people telling you it hurts helps, everyone is different and has different pain threshholds. Go in with an open mind and remember every contraction brings you one step closer to meeting your beautiful baby boy! Good luck xx

Dianne - posted on 07/17/2010

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as everyone has said it is different for everyone but i found i put total faith in my body to do what it was designed for and a positive mind and that helped heaps, i do recommend a birth plan it can help you remember what you want out of the experience when things are happening and let the staff know as well, i had "i do not want pain relief" in mine but if i had wanted it when i was there i could have had it. i found by leaning on something and rocking/swaying my hips helped with my pain (my baby was breech)
dont let the doctors rush you, i didnt have dilation checks (was in my birth plan as well) and this helped coz when i finally thought id had enough i asked for one and i was 10cm and bub was just about to come down which kept me positive rather than the disappointment every hour of only getting a tiny bit further
at the end off the day of course it will hurt but keep positive, remember that you will soon be holding your beautiful baby and you will find it to be a wonderful experience and will feel like superwoman afterwards
good luck and feel free to msg me if you want any more info/support xo

Lisa - posted on 07/17/2010

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Each person experiences labour differently. I will not lie to you it does hurt but when you get to the point where you think you can't handle it anymore it means that your baby will be comming soon. I personally went with the flow. I was having false contractions the same time every night for 2 months so at first I thought it was false labour but than the contractions became stronger and faster. Hopsitals are happy for you to come in to get cheecked out when you think your in labour anyways. I found having being in the shower either sitting on a chair or standing with the water running on my back helped with the pain. I didn't have any pain relief so I can't help you there. Don't worry all mums worry about the labour some time in there pregnancy. yes walking helps and midwives try get u to walk alot while your in labour. Good luck hope all goes well and congrats on your pregnancy.

Celeste - posted on 07/20/2010

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Oh, sweetie... It is that bad if you look at it that way. The fear of the unknown in itself is scary. I know I was scared to death when I got closer to my due date. What helped me the most during labor was my favorite, most relaxing music playing in the background. At your age, it's been said that it's easier. Please, refuse as many interventions as possible (breaking the water, pitosin, epidural, which all can stop dilation or make things worse). Your body knows what to do when the time comes. Labor is a delicate process, but very capable of delivering a healthy baby. Instead of rejecting the pain, embrace it knowing that each contraction brings your baby closer to birth. You are made to reproduce. You can do it! Have faith in yourself!

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Alania - posted on 07/20/2010

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HI Annabeth. Its nice that your family is telling you all of their birth stories, I Love hearing peoples stories. I also love sharing mine. Its kind of too bad they seem to be leaving a negative idea of child-birth on you though. Child-Birth is a rite of passage, both for the mother leaving maidenhood and for the child entering the world.

I think that birthing in general is all about the frame of mind of the person having the child. Its normal to be scared, after all its probably the one of the hardest things we do as women its also hard to know how to prepare. There is pain and they don't call it labor for nothing and things don't always go to "plan". However.. besides drugs (which will general lead to a c-section--and you really don't want that) there are plenty of different positions that can help, having an affirmation fro yourself- for example-" I can do this, millions of women before me have done this and so can I" " I am strong and I can birth my son" "I am ready to become a mother" " I am ready for my son" You get the idea. Basically allowing yourself to birth your child and become a mother. this is sometimes our biggest challenge as a woman--SURRENDER to the moment, surrender to the contractions, surrender to the fact that as a women our bodies are designed to do this.
My mom had her first child when she was 16 too, and she has told me that it was the easiest--her body did exactly what is was supposed to do and bounced back quickly (which btw, breast-feeding gets your figure back in shape asap and is the best and healthiest thing you can do for your child)

I would suggest finding the nearest natural child-birthing class ASAP and get some support or check our websites like www.birthingfromwithin.com. Reading Ina May Gaskin's work is great too. Get lots of rest and save up your energy, eat good food. Hopefully you have support of the father, if so include him and share your plan so that you have back-up when the time comes. If the father isn't invloved, ask someone you trust to be your birth partner and talk to them about your birth plan. Good luck! Best wishes!

Lauren - posted on 07/20/2010

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Congratulations. No, it isn't that bad when you look at the Big picture... that soon you'll have this little bundle of joy that will need your constant care and affection for the next 18 or more years. The hardest part for me was that my daughter was 3 1/2 weeks late and I was scheduled to be induced the day after she arrived, so luckily I got to have her in her own time. Labor and delivery goes by in no time and you somehow don't remember the entire pain of it once it's over because of all the joy you will feel with your precious little man. My labor wasn't very long though (contractions started at 2:30 a.m. and I delivered the next day at 1 p.m.) and I did it all natural (no epidural, no pain meds, nothing)... AND she was 9 1/2 lb.!! I will admit that once your water breaks (or is broken for you, in my case) that's when it all really starts to be too much. Just keep things in perspective that women do this every day and everything will be fine. I suggest taking the Childbirth training class also... there are a lot of things you may already know but it does help when you are around others in the same stage of pregnancy, at least for some support. And don't forget to take your pre-natal vitamins. Good luck with everything, I'm sure you'll do fine.

Carole - posted on 07/20/2010

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My suggestion is that you don't listen to most of the advice you are given: it is enough to send any normally sane person into a panic. You might consider finding a Lamaze or similar method coach. The breathing techniques help you assist what your body is doing rather than fighting it, and makes the whole process work better. Generally your body already knows what to do, you just have to not get in the way. It is called labor because really strong muscles are working really hard - for about 30-60 seconds. Then everything rests for 10-15 minutes. And the rest periods get shorter the closer to the birth that you get. As far as the pain: it isn't sharp stabbing sort of pain, it is muscle cramp pain. It is very similar to regular menstrual cramps, just multiplied many,many times. Some people have lots of lower back cramping, and doing the usual (massage, heat, or ice) helps. It is very handy for the hospital people to stick you in a bed and say "stay there." It is sometimes much more comfortable for you to not. Sometimes sitting on the edge of the bed, or standing up and walking a bit, or various other things helps. Do what makes you more comfortable. As far as perineal/vaginal tears: There is usually something relatively small that happens. It can be minimized. One of my doctors once nudged the perineal tissue a bit as the baby's head was crowning, rather than letting the head do all the pushing away of the skin. That helped the tearing minimize. I didn't feel anything tear, because there is so much other stuff to concentrate on. After the baby is born, they generally give a shot of some sort of numbing compound, possibly the same sort you get at the dentist, in the perineal/vaginal area that needs to be stitched. I always asked for an ice pack to put in the vaginal area after the baby is born, and they are putting the pads on. It feels amazingly soothing and helps take the swelling down.
Women who have had babies always seem to want to relate the absolute worst of everything that happened: don't listen. Your experience will be different than everyone else's. You will be fine.

Melissa - posted on 07/20/2010

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There are several things that you should do:

1. Make a birth plan- it is a MUST (at least in the US).

2. Find a Doula- they are trained and certified support people that help you during your labor and help enforce your wished at a time when you will be busy :) I am a Registered Nurse, and you should know that if you are planning to give birth in the hospital, the nurse is not meat to be a support person, she will be busy monitoring you and your baby's progress and responses to labor. (see here: http://www.dona.org/ )

3. Consult with a local midwife. They can help you to embrace the normalacy of birth, and help you see the "horror stories" that you've heard for what they are.

4. Read some GOOD books regarding pregnancy and labor. I would suggest "The Thinking Woman's Guide to A Better Birth" by Henci Goer. (see here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0399525... )

5. Put a stop to people telling you "horror stories". When someone starts, just politely tell them that you are trying to stay positive, and focus on the experience that you would like to have. Offer to swap birth stories with them AFTER you have your own to tell:)

I had my first son in a hospital, and my second one at home. I did not have any drugs for pain relief, and I had a midwife present at both births. I had pregnancy induced hypertension with my first, and had to be induced with pitocin. I had 2 stitches that were optional (perineal massage with olive oil is a must!). With my second, he was a compound presentation (born posterior with his hand along the side of his face), and I had no stitches. The pain was not as bad as people said it would be. Just remember, that your body is doing what it is suppose to, just like breathing or digesting food. The fear is what will cause you the most pain. You will start to think "if this gets any worse, I will not be able to take it"- replace this thought with something positive, and remember: JUST WHEN YOU THINK THAT YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO TAKE IT IF IT GETS ANY WORSE, it will NOT get any worse.

Birth is not something that just happens to you- you are the one who is in control and you have the right and ability to have the kind of birth that yo want to have!

My personal email is melissaMICU_RN@hotmail.com if you would like more encouragement and support.

Susan - posted on 07/20/2010

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Just think about how many people go on to have more than one baby - it can't be that bad or they wouldn't be daft enough to do it again! Or, alternatively when you get to hold that gorgeous little baby you will forget all about it and any pain will be worth it
There are things you can do to minimise your pain respones though and if you haven't done so already I would urge you to attend a really good, informative antenatal class, where they will let you in on all the little secrets, like focusing on your breathing and visualising your baby coming, seeing every contraction as one less, not one more!
Believe that it won't be painful and your wonderful body is designed for this and you will be fabulous. Good luck and love xx

Laura - posted on 07/20/2010

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#1: NO DRUGS UNLESS THERE IS A DIFICULTY.
# 2 IT HURTS I WILL NOT LIE!
# 3: I DIDN'T KNOW I WAS IN LABOR EVEN AFTER LISTONING TO ALL THE STORIES SO WHEN U THINK U ARE CALL YOUR DR OR GO TO THE E.R. AND GET CHECKED

#4 WHEN IN DOUGHT ASK A RELIABLE PERSON!
AND LAST OF ALL....
#5 DON'T GET ALL WOKED UP AND "SPOOKED" BECAUSE OF THE STORIES U HAVE HEARD! SAY A PRAYER,TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND DEAL WITH THE PROCESS OF BIRTH, YOU WILL BE MUCH BETTER OFF!
P.S. I WISH YOU LUCK, IT IS HARD BUT WE AS WOMEN CAN DEAL! BY THE WAY, THE FIRST ONE IS A STRUGGLE. THE SECOND IS A NIGHT MARE BE CAUSE YOU HAVE BEEN THERE BEFORE.
WE WOMEM ARE TUFF SO WE WILL COME THROUGH!!!!!

Jaclyn - posted on 07/20/2010

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No It's not that bad, it's an amazing experience. I don't know why women feel the need to tell pregnant women horror stories of labour, it makes no sense to me! Giving birth, naturally with no pain meds, was the most empowering thing I have ever done! My son was alert the second he came out and was breastfeeding instantly. Have faith in your body and remember this is what it was made for! Don't go into labour scared read all about it and don't listen to the horror stories. The more knowledgeable about it your are the better it will go. Read about having a natural birth because it's not that bad and anyone who responds to this saying how horrible it is, give your head a shake and remember you are saying this to somebody who is about to go through labour for the first time and could use some positive words and encouragement not horror stories of how bad it COULD be!
Best of luck to you, your body was made for this. Trust your body cause it knows how to do this way better than any doctor with medication. I'm a doula and would recommend you get one to help through the labour even if you have a boyfriend or mother doula's are the best and we don't take the place of your other support!
Good luck!!!!

Tanya - posted on 07/20/2010

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Hi Annabeth, Don't be afraid. People tell tons of stories but really don't listen to any of them. Your labor could be tons different than all of them. Mine for sure was not that same as my Mom's or sister's. I think as long as you have as much done as you can prior to the birth you are already ahead of the game. Being 16 I don't know your living arrangements, but be as prepared as you can. Have the babies stuff washes and ready, the babies bed ready, enough diapers and very very small clothes, even newborns don't ever seem to fit unless you have a 10lb plus baby. Cook meals that can be frozen before hand, it really helps. Have lots of quick healthy meals you can grab quickly, I barely had time to eat the first two weeks since my son ate all the time. I think if you have the babies stuff ready, a kind of clean house, meals prepared and then your bag packed with lots of stuff including very baggy clothes since you just don't feel like having your normal clothes on after birth you are already ahead of the game. Also keep a very open mind before going to the hospital, I say don't have a birthplan except for being open to drugs, hahaha and epideral if you have time. I did not have time for the epideral...

My point is my birth went way different than expected, I was induced so I went very fast without this 20 hours of laboring. Listen to the nurses WALK a lot, stay off your feet... it hurts, seriously you are not ready for that pain, crap all I did was moan and cry, but I stayed on my feet the whole time. Also the shower feels great. And also don't let the nurses scare you, they say tons of stuff to scare you before coming home about jaundice, crib deaths, etc.... also make sure to have a health nurse come to see you right away. I breast fed for a bit and thought the nurses at the hospital taught me how to do it... NOPE, the health nurse was the best and buy tons of Lansinoh cream for your breast and I also use it for the babies dry lips, my dry lips and diaper rash, it works miracles and it is completely natural so if the babies eats it it is ok.

I say try what feels right for you. I am kind of glad I didn't get the epideral because my son came very fast and seriously as soon as the baby is out you feel 99% better, it is just so fast, boom you don't feel so much pain anymore and then you have this amazing bundle infront of you and seriously it is love at first sight, you understand that once you have a baby. Take care of yourself too. Afterwards you can be very very sad, try to remember you are very emotional, it is a scary time but the best time ever. Take tons of pictures and maybe write in a journal to help you with feeding schedule and sleeping schedule and also to remember what happened in those very fast moving first two months. I did and I am so happy to look back and see what happened cause I already forget. Also don't be afraid to use formula if you don't want to breast feed!! The nurses can be brutal but ignore them... this is your baby.

Take care, enjoy, Tanya

Nina - posted on 07/20/2010

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Contractions feel like really bad menstrual cramps. First your belly gets tight then it spreads to your back and aches. They get more intense as labor progresses. Try to relax and focus on your breathing. I always threw up right before I was ready to push but not everyone does. My water never broke till the end and it just felt like a pop and then a lot of fluid coming out. When the baby's head is passing through the birth canal (your vagina) it hurts A LOT! but that is usually for a short time and you know that the baby is almost out. As soon as the baby is out you feel great and the placenta doesn't hurt at all. If you need stitches they numb the area first and it isn't too bad. I had three big babies with no medication and although it hurt I wouldn't have done it any other way! How you choose to deliver your baby is one of the first major decisions you get to make as a mom - do it how you want, but make sure it is what YOU want, especially since you are young. Good luck! being a mom is a 24/7 job.

Sari - posted on 07/20/2010

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i really was excited to have my son ,so i guess ,never paid attention to pain,so don't think too much about it,I am sure you also have your loved one's around you to share your joy,so think about all the happi ness you gonna have, don't bother about all other stuff.

Victoria - posted on 07/20/2010

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Every labor is different. The walking I dont think helps get labor started when ur on the brink of ur due date but it does help keep u exercising so that's always a plus. It's hard to tell the false labor pains from the real ones until the real labor pains start. if it feels like cramps, kind of like menstrual cramps, they're fake. If ur hunched over crying, they're real. I personally had to be induced. It was fine, i slept for the most part while being induced but when the labor pains kicked it, it woke me and my husband up who was asleep in the recliner on the other side of the room. It's not unbearable it's just in the peak of the contraction that it hurts. Nothing u cant handle tho, just knowing what ur fixing to bring into this world makes it worth it. The water breaking is a different kind of feeling. It doesn't really feel like ur "peeing" on urself, it's just a gush of water. The nurse broke my water trying to put a moniter on my babys head. I didnt have the best delivery, i actually had an emergency c-section. but that's different with every person. it's normal to be scared. i for one would say to get the epidural. I did not feel a thing!! which is great. i actually fell asleep while they were giving it to me so i didn't feel the needle at all. but i also didn't know anything was going wrong with my baby because it kind of knocked me out. i just remember them saying they had to take the baby now cause they were afraid they were gonna lose him. But that was just complications in my body, doesn't mean it'll happen to everyone. Starting from when the labor actually started, contractions and all, I was in labor for about an hour and a half. But it'll be a wonderful experience you'll never forget and it's always worth it :) dont worry, you will make it through

Amanda - posted on 07/20/2010

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Have a birth plan and avoid all drugs if possible..try and have a natural birth it will be much better. Alot of interventions lead to a worse birth than you should have had. I had my first son at 16 in the hospital and it was the worst experience of my life. I had another baby 12 years later at home in a birthing pool! the best..all natural no drugs etc...Anyways good luck...I"m sure you will be fine, just research and listen to you body and what it's telling you..trust it...

Janice - posted on 07/20/2010

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Like others have said, everyone is different. I started mild labour on aug. 7. Contractions would come and go, and even though my little girl was my first baby, i knew enough it wasnt time. Monday morning came hardly slept, woke up to having to go to the bathroom and there was blood so ya i went in. I didnt have epidural, i didnt want it. But they did hook up some pain meds to me, which i found didnt work that great or at all. So i was at hospital at 8 am monday aug 11, and the next day at 10:04 am aug. 12 i had my little girl. C- section. I wouldnt go past 8cm. Also worst thing to do is look at the clock, u think its been hours, when it was only 15 mins lol. Really though i didnt find the labour that bad, they did give me that stuff to make the labour come more 3 times( i can never remember the name of it lol). I found watching Baby story helped alot, and what u see when they have c sections on there is true. You do get ur arms tied down. Also when u hear ur baby cry for the first time and u see ur little miracle, u will have forgotten all about what u just went thru. I loved being pregnant, and honestly, all that labour then a c section, didnt bug me at all, i loved it all. I got my little miracle doctors told me i might never ever have. So after over 10yrs hearing the same thing, i got my baby girl who will be 2 yrs old aug 12, 2010. I wish u all the best, dont be scared, dont listen to all the horror stories, so go with it, and dont be ashamed if u get the epidural, or feel bad if it happens u have to have c section, just think of all the great memories u and ur little one will have. all the best, take care.

Candyce - posted on 07/20/2010

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Lmao! So I wasn't the only one with a phantom baby stuck down there?
Blessed Be

Jennifer - posted on 07/20/2010

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Congrats! Every person you ask will give a a completely different answer, and that's OK b/c no labour is exactly like anyone elses. To answer your questions....we did not have a 'plan' we had ideas/expectations ie, I did not want a epideral but was open to using some nitrous-oxide gas. I knew I was in labour when my contractions started (very subtle at first) like a menstral pain. THE BEST THING THAT MIGHT HELP APART FROM DRUGS.... A SUPPORT PERSON! My spouse kept pouring warm water (non-stop) over my belly the entire time I was labouring in the tub....so incredibly helpful!
All the best!
Jenn

Kimberly - posted on 07/20/2010

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I was in labor for 52 hours, my water broke on a friday and my baby was born monday morning. The pain wasn't that bad i did finally get an epidural a few hours before my son was born because i was just so tired. It allowed me to rest for a few hours. Then when it came time to push i pushed about 4 times and he arrived.
I did tear and i did get stitches. But frankly that didn't bother me so much the feeling like his head was still stuck between my legs was much worse. Spent the drive home balancing on one butt cheek :)

Candyce - posted on 07/20/2010

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It hurts like a mofo, but by that point, you're ready to do anything to just get the kid out, lol. If it makes you feel any better, during the last trimester, your body is preparing, so what would have been excruciating a few months ago barely registers now. For mine, I was terrified, thinking I'd be screaming in agony for a few hours. Reality? I was in labor for two days, and while it was quite painful, it wasn't as bad as I'd gotten myself to believe it would be. No crying ot screaming or anything. And if you have an epi, you literally can't feel it anymore! The worst part isn't labor or delivery, but the post-partum period. Your boobs engorge, your uterus aches, and your nether regions are naturally sore as hell. Smelling your kid helps a bit as a distraction, but chances are you'll be too tired to care too much about the pain. Apart from the drugs, the best you can do is to just let your body work without trying to get in the way. Don't wear yourself out pushing when you really aren't ready yet, and don't stress over little things. It probably won't go according to plan, but that's ok as long as the kid comes out in one piece, and that's really all you need to remember. Ah.. and when you're in labor, you'll know. It feels like someone's trying to crush you around the middle, lol. Don't forget to breathe (literally breathe). I forgot at one point and blacked out :D.
Blessed Be

Ruth - posted on 07/20/2010

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Hi Annabeth

Congrats on expecting a boy!! Giving birth is different for everyone. Some take hours and others take minutes.

Im always a tiny bit jealous when i hear of a new mum giving birth under an hour while i was in labour for a week with my daughter. I ended up having an epidural for the last 15 or so hours because i was exhausted by then. I managed to get some sleep in. The actual pushing part was incredible and once bub was out i felt like i could have done that bit all over again it was so good.

Since youre only 16 hopefully the birth will be less stressful on your body and it'll bounce back to normal quicker.



I never had a birth plan. Didnt see the need in it. I thought that if something went wrong then i didnt want to get upset that my plans were being changed. Hormones made me upset when i dropped an icecream on the ground :-) so imagine what would have happened if i'd planned on a vaginal birth and was forced to have a C section !!!!



The thing about having a baby is it brings everyone else back to their childbirthing days and a lot (LOT) of people love to tell you the gory, tragic, horriffic and icky things they went thru. In a few months you'll have a story to tell some other pregnant person :-)



The day before my due date i had a visitor over and i mentioned that my back was aching a bit. She said to me that i was in labour. I didnt believe her at all. I was a bit terrified actually. But she was right. On my due date the backache started to become contractions. And exactly one week after the due date and many many contractions bub was born. Typical of her really, she hates being away from me. lol



Best of luck Annabeth. Birth is only the beginning of an amazing journey

Michelle - posted on 07/20/2010

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Don't listen to other people. Every labor is individual. No 2 labors are the same. It is your first baby, so labor will probably last longer for you than a woman who has already given birth. When you are going through it, just remember that it will end. Focus on the goal of a healthy baby and not how horrible the experience is for you. My first labor was very difficult, but I don't remember much about the pain. Mommy amnesia is the best gift that God can give a mother. I now have 2 children and don't remember every detail about my labors. Have a birth plan, but don't be surprised if it doesn't go the way you plan it. Don't try to be perfect or do everything by the book. Do what is best for you and your baby. You are young, but sound like you are mature enough to have your own thoughts and feelings about the process. As for the process of labor, walking does help. If you have an epideural, you have to stay in bed, though. Try to stay as active as you can. Frequently changing positions, taking warm showers, swaying, and squatting on an exercise ball really helped me. You will do fine. Good luck, and congratulations!

Roxanne - posted on 07/20/2010

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Don't listen to people's labor horror stories-- every labor is unique and many are wonderful. My BIG advise is to have an experienced dula. They stay with you and tell you the different positions or walking that are best for you to do in the moment. Lots of times the nurses don't have time to help and you will want someone who is experienced to be there with you constantly and help. Remember-- your body is made for this and your vagina can easily stretch much bigger than the baby's head when laboring-- so try to stay confident!

Krystle - posted on 07/20/2010

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Listen to your body, not to anyone else! lol Also, trust your body! Women's bodies are designed to give birth, just as your lungs are designed to breath!

My personal opinion is: the less meddling (drugs and procedures), the better.

It's like a Marathon: it gets tougher as you go until you get to a point where you don't think you can do it - but if you keep going, you are rewarded with a baby, self-satisfaction, and an incredible "runner's high". :)

Mary - posted on 07/20/2010

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Childbirth is amazing and incredible. I have given birth 4 times without drugs or a doctor and it has been wonderful. Your best preparation is understanding that it is better to go with the flow and to focus on relaxation techniques. The more relaxed you are the better your birth will be. Look into Hypnobirthing or hypnobabies. You can have a wonderful, beautiful birth. Trust me, you deserve it! It's a powerful experience.

Crystal - posted on 07/20/2010

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Hi there for me when I had my daughter in October it wasnt bad i have a really high pain tolerance and my concern was, was the pain going to be strong enough so I know when I need to get to the hospital. Yes I got to the hospital just in time. I got to the hospital and was 9 3/4cm dilated. I recommend taking a pre-natal class, they teach you so much. I tell everyone who is expecting that when you feel that you cannot handle the pain anymore go to the hospital. I was told in my pre-natal class that your labour pains will start from your lower stomach and move to the back. For me the pains started from the lower back and moved to the from. It kinda feels like you lifted something really heavy and you lifted with your back muscles and not your legs. When you are in labour and you get contractions concentrate on something and breath out long and slow and then breath back in long and slow. Also remember to keep the breathing slow when the pain gets harder, I paniced when I was at the hospital and my breathing was to fast and the nurses at the hospital are wonderful and they will help you with your breathing as well. For the stiches I had three and once you have pushed out your baby you are so free the stiches dont hurt. They do freeze the area first though. As for drugs there is a few options there is an epideral which they insert a ver tiny tube into your spine and that numbs your lower body. For me all I got was 5 inhalations of laughing gas and I yelled I needed to push. I was in labour for 6 hours and I pushed for a total of 30 minutes and my daughter was born. If you have any other questions feel free to send me a private message

Jenna - posted on 07/20/2010

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Hey my name is Jenna and I grew up with a midwife as a mother. 1st thing you need to remember is that women WERE MADE TO HAVE BABIES. SO NO childbirth is NOT THAT BAD>that being said ignore everybody's story bc you'll have your own. Yes its important to make a plan that way you know what your personal goals are for your delivery. Are you ok with a natural delivery? Are you willing to have a epidural. Are you ok with the doctor using forceps and a vacuum and are you ok with an episiotomy? These are all questions you need to ask yourself, then decide and try to get an advocate that fully supports you and what you expect that way you don't end up with an evil nurse by your side just saying 'just get c-section, its better for you'
And lastly, MENTAL power is the best thing. you can control your breathing and ability to calm yourself down. real labor is when your contractions are happening every 5min and are 2-3min apart. Youll know bc you wont be able to talk during them and will be sweating...at this point do not get anxious or fearful just continue breathing slowly. Take short SLOW walks drink and eat a lot. Don't expect it to be quick most first-time moms' labors are 12-18hrs. Do not do anything over ex-strenuous before your due-date-like lifting something heavy. yada-yada-yada. Don't think of labor as pain think of it as heavy pressure-like a gigantic poop. Just tell yourself "I have the ability to do this and breathe and be patient.
Best Wishes

Lorraine - posted on 07/20/2010

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Hi Annabeth:
Every person is different. You may have a short labour, very little pain or a long one with lots of pain. The nurses & doctors at the hospitals in any city are there to help you. It's a little scary for your first (I had 3 they're now in their 20's) and the oldest has her won now (she was only 19 when she had hers) but when you see that baby's face it was all worth it. Just keep doing Kiegel exercises and eating healthy and taking care of yourself.
When I had my first we should have been at church but slept in & my water broke at home just about the time we should have been going up to Communion. So the man upstairs was keeping an eye on me. Good luck & keep in touch
Lorraine

Kay - posted on 07/20/2010

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To be honest, the pain is horrendous! But I'm so glad I went with a competent, compassionate midwife the 2nd time around. I strongly advise that the doctor or person helping you deliver your baby be someone you are TOTALLY comfortable with.

My midwife was pro-naturelle, so no needles, no stitches (well, just one, but it was no big deal at all), and no hefty pushing, and no huge water mess.

She also let me choose a position that I was totally comfortable with. Make yourself as comfortable as you can--using a yoga ball, walking around, sitting in a tub, or even just leaning on a wall.

Remember most of all, your body was designed to do this, so things will happen naturally--the baby will come out and your body will definitely let you know! It'll be over in a smatter of hours unless there are complications which hopefully there won't be.

Nicole A. - posted on 07/20/2010

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Annabeth- everyone's tolerance for pain differs. In my opinion, drugs should be the last resort because you really dont know what effects they will have on your baby. you also want to be as alert as possible to be able to see and hear what's going on. i took lamaze- it was required- and it didnt help. i wont sugar coat it- labor hurts. pushing hurts. but you get through it. my show (mucus plug) came as i got out of bed. i went about my business, taking my shower to head to the hospital for monitoring, made cereal, was about to sit to eat it and the first contraction hit. i timed them because they kept on coming.. the rest is history. you can walk, try some low impact exercise- do what feels right for you, follow your OB's orders...

Rebecca - posted on 07/20/2010

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Have you taken prenatal classes?. Do this very soon they are offered in all communities. It will ease your mind and you will be able to recognize the transitions of labour. This helps for peace of mind. You are young so your your body will bounce back. Have birth plan. Do you want an epesiotomy or would you prefer to tear?. Lots of people don't tear at all like me. You will be sore for weeks after that is normal but nursing the baby helps you heal afterwards. It contracts the uterus again.Have someone in the labour room with you a friend, partner or parent.breathing deeply helps. Do you want drugs or an epideral? It's not always necessary. most important trust yourself you can do this. It is an amazing life changing thing. Take care and form a support goup for you and the baby for afterwards. I had my Mom stay with me for a week after both my children were born.There is a huge transition from being independant to having someone there all of the time. Go easy on yourself.It's very important that you take good care of yourself because your baby deserves a healthy parent.take good care from Becky

Naomi - posted on 07/20/2010

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As people have said it's different for veryone. It depends on your tolerance for pain as to how you find it. I went with the flow, I thought that because I hadn't done it before i'd have no idea how i'd act or what i'd want. In the end all I had was gas and air and a TENS machine. The first words I said to my hubby afterwards was 'well that was a walk in the park, when are we having another one'!! - honestly, he thinks I had too much gas and air, lol. I really didn't find it too bad though, so don't be scared by people's stories. (I didn't have an easy time either, so i'm not telling you this from a rose tinted glasses perspective). Yes it does hurt, but you know that, and sometimes I think that imagining what it'd be like after hearing loads of stories is worse. It's like you build it up to be this awful, horrendous thing.

If it was, women would never have more than 1 child.

Go with what you think it right and feels right to you. Deep breathing can help, and I saw a documentary once where the woman was yelling, and the midwife told her that if she put as much energy into pushing as she was screaming, it'd be over much quicker. I think how you deal with it mentally is important too.

Good luck and congratulations on expecting your baby boy.
Naomi x

[deleted account]

I had my son at home with a midwife in my bathtub. It hurts really bad but it does end and they lay a very beautiful little person in your arms and suddenly it's all worth it. Good luck missy

Tammy - posted on 07/20/2010

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If ur of smaller frame, yep its really going 2 hurt alot. Once u push him out it will hurt less. Such is life. It is however, worth it...no since stressing about the inevitable, b happy! Ur having a baby. Try 2 remember nothing lasts 4ever, chin up, u can do all things through Christ who strengthens u!
I am the delighted mother of 5 & would do it all again 2day...but, I never 4got the pain like some said I would.
B well, God bless!

[deleted account]

I was just like you. I was fine until I started in labor. (How did I know I was in labor? Lost the mucas plug and started with little contractions - got out my book and realized it was going to happen) Lost it and my husband called my friend who had a baby 2 months earlier. She helped with my feaers. I had a tough delivery (had to use forceps on my son he was turned the wrong way). Since I had the chance of having to have a C-Section I didn't feel a thing until the next day / week.

But you/ll be fine. I had a second child and used no drugs at all and was walking through the halls of the hospital 6 hours later and felt great.

Hope this helps.

Heather - posted on 07/20/2010

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I took a childbirth class and the breathing (long deep breaths) really helped me stay focused. Honestly labor and delivery for me was easy! I did not feel any pain with contractions - just pressure. At times the pressure was strong but it didn't last long. I did have an epidural as I was afraid of pain during delivery (I was afraid it would be so hard I wouldn't be good at it).
The whole process is different for everyone. I lost my plug over a few days and when I had the bloody show it was time. About an hour later I started having contractions close together. Some people have back pain though or leg cramps or false labor pains. It is so hard to tell. Some people have hard labors other are easy and short. You won't know until your time gets here.
Women have been having babies for ages and I think you will do just fine. Try to relax and breathe and look forward to the baby boy you will be seeing soon! Good luck to you!

Cheryl - posted on 07/20/2010

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I have had 3 children and all of the labors were different. The first two were without meds, though I had an IV with the 1st because I threw-up with every contraction. I was getting dehydrated. I honestly don't remember pain with him, but I do remember a nurse telling me I had a leg cramp she was going to massage to work out for me. I've had leg cramps andI know they hurt, so if I didn't feel it...either the contractions were that bad, or I was working through the pain.

The next one was super fast (89 minutes), but the pain was intense. It was very hard to breathe through. I had a great nurse which was good because I wasn't listening to a thing my husband was telling me. In fact, I remember tellng him to "shut up" and that isn't something I normally say to anyone.

It varies so much. The possition of the baby, your own ability to work through pain, how tired you are (my last one, I was beat when labor started so my coping skills went out the window and it was the longest labor of all 3, so I took the epidural as soon as it was offered).

Try different breathing techniques to work through your anxiety. t will give you practice for when it is time.

Kitty - posted on 07/20/2010

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hi huni. i would first say breath and try not to worry about anything. i didnt have a birthing plan for either of my babies and everything when fine. pain wise i couldnt tell you how painful it was coz i was being sick (it cant have been to bad i guess) i was just being sick with the contractions because of the muscles in my stomach tightening. i had entonox for both but that was more to do with helping with pain attacks. every contraction i went into a panic and held my breath. not good!! so it just made me think about breathing in and out. i didn't tear or have any stitches.

i went to hosp in labour with grace my eldest because contractions were making me sick and she was born 5 hours later with only 40 mins real labour.

i went to a birthing centre with joshua because i thought something was wrong when i couldn't lift grace out of bed. he was born 2 hours later, but 6 mins after my waters broke, the second midwife only just got there :)

try not to worry and def remember no pregnancy, birth or baby are every the same.

good luck. fingers cross it all goes well for you

~X~X~

p.s forgot to say with joshi born at 8 in the morning i was home by 10 making my own cuppa and cuddling up in my own bed! :)

Alakisha - posted on 07/20/2010

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Every labor is different no one can tell you exactly what to expect or not to expect. I'm the mom of 2. I have a 4 yr old and a 2yr old. My labor with my oldest was a lot harder than with my youngest. your body will let you know when it's ready to do certain things. Try to relax as much a possible when easier said than done during labor and if you have any questions at all ask your doctors that's what they are there for and be ready for it not to go the way you would like just because anything can happen in labor. I winded up having a c-section with my 1st and a vaginal birth with my last. But most of all just know that you will get through it we women have been doing this for years and in the end you have a brand new life. Good luck

Andrea - posted on 07/20/2010

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I have to admit that all three of my deliveries were easy. With my first son, at the beginning of labor, I had what felt like a burning sensation in my lower back and upper thighs......wasn't sure what was going on at first.....those pains then progressed to a more severe burning pain, but nothing that was unbearable.. By the time I got the hospital I was already 5 cm dilated and was able to receive my epidural and LIFE WAS SO GOOD after that. Any pain I felt after that was very minimal. It was a beautiful experience because I was virtually pain-free! With my last two, the same experience, although my labor was induced. Received an epidural before the pain got too bad and was able to relax and enjoy the experience. So, my advice to you is, GET AN EPIDURAL. If you have a good anesthesiologist and he inserts is well and no problems arise, you will have a beautiful experience!

Sonia - posted on 07/20/2010

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Annabeth, I think every mom feels this way leading up to childbirth. I educated myself like crazy on pain medications given in labor, epidurals, other medications like gravol to help with nausea. I had a scenario worked out for every circumstance and a plan for a labor that was as productive and natural as possible. I was super anxious hearing horror stories and things that just scared me. A week before my due date I threw my birth plan out the window. I knew what I wanted but also felt a sense that something was coming that I had very little ability to control. For me this was a huge relief. When I DID go into labor it wasn't like what I expected and I now had all the information I needed, ability to ask questions and freedom to choose in the moment. You never know till you get there how you will react to that kind of pain. Yes, labor hurts and it is work but it is an incredibly productive pain and rewarding experience. I have two boys and have done both with little to no drugs, however, I think pain medication can be really productive in helping a mother relax and rest up before she is ready to push. Walking can be very uncomfortable in labor. Contractions may speed up or become more intense but it often helps speed the process along and the faster you move things along, the faster the baby is here and it all fades away. Walk and stay moving if you can and let gravity help you. The best thing you can do educate yourself, don't OBSESS about labor - try not to think about it TOO much. Give yourself lots of support. Having people with you that are educated and supportive of you and your own decisions; willing to help you move, rub your back whatever you want is best. Hopefully you find your nurses very helpful and if you can you might want to consider hiring a trained support person like a doula. I wish you the best - You will do fantastic and in the end you will give birth to a beautiful baby and THAT'S what you have to focus on!

Jennie - posted on 07/20/2010

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i was 16 when i had my boy and 2 b honest i thought it wasnt that bad even tho i was in pain 4 2day b4 he come in 2 the world but it all seems worth it when its over but it really all depends on how much pain u can take
just go wit he flow and u cnt go wrong,the only drug i had was the 1 in ya bk (great stuff u cnt feel a thing) i only had that becouse i was gettin 2 tired
u will b fine honest its not as bad as people make it out 2 b
gl n hope it all gose well 4 u

Shevanese - posted on 07/20/2010

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Everyone is different contractions HURT, and i went to the hospital at 7am and had been in labor from 5 am and felt great til i had to lay in bed for hours. The epidural started failing so i started feeling the pain an hr after they gave me the epidural. I ended up having an emergency c section because my daughter had gotten tangled in the chord. She was born at 7:08 and i didn't see her til 10 pm when i finally woke up.

Kristie - posted on 07/20/2010

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I was in active labor for 7 1/2 hours. 4 of those hours I had an epidural. I actually took a nap, and they told me it was time to push. Best advice, go ahead and sign the paperwork for drugs/epidural. You can always decide you don't need them, but if you haven't signed the papers and decide you want them, they won't give them to you under duress. So it's best just to sign for them when you get there, or even at one of your OB visits.

[deleted account]

Yep, no way to tell. But it's true - you really don't remember the pain. You remember the first time they put that little one in your arms, the freakin miracle that YOUR BODY made this little person. I remember the awesomeness of knowing that the food (milk) my body made was the BEST food in the world for my child. I remember knowing that this little person was a perfectly blank slate, and dependent on me to get things started off right. It's truly an awesome experience - one of the very few you'll remember you're whole life.

My advise, pack a camera - and put someone in charge of taking pictures - you'll cherish them later. Stop worrying about the pain, and think about meeting your son for the first time. You'll be amazed at how strong you are - your body was meant for this (and other things too) and is well prepared.

[deleted account]

Shame on them for spooking you! The last thing you need to hear are horror stories - and no one will know what your labor will be like ahead of time, but childbirth has been occurring for - well, a really long time - and what you really need to know is that once that baby is in your arms, you will forget all the pain! I had wonderful nurses for all 4 of my babies' births - if childbirth was so horrible, then we would all just have one child!! Just be positive and love that little gift of a son.

Laurie - posted on 07/20/2010

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To answer your question, NO, childbirth is not really that bad. There is pain, but it's entirely bearable. YES, walk a lot. I didn't do any pain drugs or needles--that would have made it worse, I think--just walked through most of my labor, and sat in a tub for the rest. Sometimes my husband or midwife would press on my lower back through the worst contractions. Just find what feels best for you and insist upon being allowed to do it. In large part, instinct really does take over.

One thing I wish someone had told me in advance is that the urge to push felt exactly like needing to poop. I wasn't even fully dilated at the time, but for me pushing before full dilation worked to break my waters (which had been resisting) and get me the rest of the way done.

Don't listen to the people telling you horror stories. It's not that bad, and women have been doing it for time eternal.

Virginia - posted on 07/20/2010

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everyone is different, i went 14 days overdue and then had a 28 hr labour, i never had a birth plan i just went with it, i only used gas and air by the time the pain was bad enough to ask for something stronger it was nearly over... but i was fine through my pregnancy until the last 4 weeks i got really nervous but it is all definetly worth it, just make sure you stick to what you want, my midwifes were really pushing me for an epidural but i stuck to my guns and now i have a beautiful 5 month old baby boy, a few hrs of pain for a lifetiem of happiness :D... good luck!

Shawn - posted on 07/20/2010

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IMO, let it be as natural as possible. I had one completely natural, no drugs, and it was hard, but easier than the 2nd, in which I was induced b/c I kept going in and our of labor and it scared me. I'm now due again in 9 weeks, and I plan on letting it come when labor is ready, no drugs, and I've also been doing yoga and bellydancing the WHOLE time! I think learning to breath through pain is number one. If you don't have drugs, as soon as baby is out, you feel GRAND! drugs are too risky. You're a strong girl!, you can do it!

Marlene - posted on 07/20/2010

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An induced labor is much more painful than a natural one. But fear can keep you from going into labor, necessitating induction or augmentation, so conquering your fear is paramount to having a rewarding birth experience!
Someone mentioned that an epidural was the safest method of pain relief. I beg to differ w her! Aquadurals (waterbirth) or hypnobirthing work as well, w none of the side effects of an epidural!

Darcy - posted on 07/20/2010

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NO! The bottom line is if it was THAT BAD no one would ever do it again. Yes it hurts yes it is trying, but when it is over if you had to discribe it you couldn't ,God gave us that much once you have the baby in your arms it all fades and is difinately all worth it !Don't worry you will do fine sweetie! BTW I have 4 kids the last 2 were twins and all mine were natural

Darcy XXXOOO

[deleted account]

I have not read the rest of the replies. But I had a "natural" birth last year, though I left my options open. Having done it now, looking back, I'm glad it worked out that way, and I plan to do it again with my next. My labour was too fast and intense to even consider drugs. But like Lisa Smith said, "...when you get to the point where you think you can't handle it anymore it means that your baby will be coming soon." I urge you to try to birth your son drug-free, not for bragging rights, but because the female body was DESIGNED to do this, and because you're so young, you're probably in better shape than any of us older moms to recover well from any lingering tears or pain. The pain of childbirth is natural - not an injury. It's simply the lactic acid raging through your muscles to push out your son. Also, having an induction and/or epidural can REALLY slow down your labour and can require other interventions that take a lot more out of you than just getting it over with naturally. I encourage you to watch this video (or at least read the manuscript below it if you cannot handle watching the actual birth) to see how this mother felt about all the interventions she had birthing her first child, and why she chose to birth her second drug-free: http://www.babycenter.com/2_live-birth-n...
One mom told me that in the grand scheme of life, it's only one day (or two!), and the moment you meet your son, the pain REALLY DOES disappear.
Above all, communicate with your doctors and nurses beforehand, and make sure your support person/birth coach (mom, boyfriend, best friend, etc.) knows your needs so he/she can speak up on your behalf in the delivery room if the doctors are trying to push for an epidural/induction/episiotomy/c-section against your wishes. Don't let yourself feel inferior just because you are young - it is still YOUR body, YOUR baby, and YOUR birth. Know your rights and make sure they are respected.
Good luck! I'm excited for you. Your heart will grow a thousand times bigger when you meet your little boy!

Heather - posted on 07/20/2010

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Oh and PS - don't listen to birth horror stories!!!



"The great secret of childbirth is NOT that birth is painful, but that WOMEN ARE STRONG!"

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