Natural Birth

Pain scale

FTM here! Just curious for those who labored without an epidural and medswas this the most pain you have ever felt in your life? I am an exmarathoner and recall more than one marathon thinking there is no way labor is more painful than this as I ran, jogged, limped for miles on end with flaming Achilles, calves and other muscles without walking and without meds. I only have this particular physically pain to compare labor too although I get itthe pains are in my belly this time. Just curious if labor was not the most physical pain you've ever felt.
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Re: Pain scale

  • No. I had a natural miscarriage which was more painful. But that could have been my mindset too. When you know you're getting a healthy baby out of it the pain might not be so bad.

     

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  • Yes, but I think it was my labor experience.  I spent 4 hours in transition with back labor and 6 hours pushing.  Transition was pretty bad.  I survived though and am doing it again.  :)
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  • By far. Labour definitely gave me a new pain scale reference. Every labour is different, though, even in the same woman. My mom describes each of her labours differently, from "not that bad" to "off the charts" awful. I think a positive mindset makes a big difference, and I say this reflecting back on my first labour, how much the pain intensified from one contraction to the next after learning I would be getting a csection. Once my "I can do this" mindset was shot, the pain was worse for sure. In that way, I would be willing to bet that your marathon training will be a good asset for you.
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  • Pushing my daughter out was probably the most painful thing I've ever felt but I was lucky she was out within a few pushes! She came out feet first, though, so I felt every.inch. of her come out lol I barely felt the rest of the labor though! It was a little uncomfortable but not awful.



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  • Contractions were the most pain I've ever experienced, but the moments between were totally pain free.
  • It's the most physical exhaustion I've ever felt, but I think those random calf muscle cramps that wake you in the middle of the night are just the worst kind of pain.

    I agree with pp that part of it is mindset in that you get a baby.

    I also think labour sounds easier than a marathon (although I've never run one) because once you're in labour there is no stepping off that path. Where as with a marathon you could stop at any moment, so to my mind that takes real mental toughness. (yes you could opt for the epi, but that offers no guarantees for how comfortable the rest of your labour will be) Plus when you're in labour, you've got all kinds of hormones working with you.

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  • When I was in high school, I severely sprained my ankle. Just thinking about the pain makes me cringe, and I think that was probably worse than labor. However, I had really prepared for labor by taking classes and doing hypnobabies, so that probably really helped with the pain management.

    I'm also a runner, which I think helped because like a marathon, I knew there would be an end and I just had to push through.
  • Labor was the worst pain I have ever felt. However, I have never had anything particularly painful happen to me to compare to. It was never unbearably painful, though.
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  • kdv77kdv77
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    It's a different kind of pain and for the most part, comes and goes. It's definitely high in the ranks! I remember telling my DH afterwards that I didn't need to do that again anytime soon. I'm ready for round 2 now though :) 
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  • I have had three natural water births however having my midwife manually retrieve the placenta from my first child not an hour after I just gave birth with no pain meds takes the cake for the most pain . You always here about people being in so much pain they pass out .... Yeah I was maybe ten seconds away from that when she stopped . I was actually getting tunnel vision . When people make the off hand comment about feeling like there insides are being ripped out well I know what that feels like or as close to to it possible . I use to get horrid period cramps that had me clawing at the floor where even Vicodin didn't touch and that was way worse then labor IMO as well. The pain in labor is a different kind of pain and for me much easier to handle like the others have said its all about your mind set.
  • I have had three natural water births however having my midwife manually retrieve the placenta from my first child not an hour after I just gave birth with no pain meds takes the cake for the most pain . You always here about people being in so much pain they pass out .... Yeah I was maybe ten seconds away from that when she stopped . I was actually getting tunnel vision . When people make the off hand comment about feeling like there insides are being ripped out well I know what that feels like or as close to to it possible . I use to get horrid period cramps that had me clawing at the floor where even Vicodin didn't touch and that was way worse then labor IMO as well. The pain in labor is a different kind of pain and for me much easier to handle like the others have said its all about your mind set.
  • With DS1, labor & delivery wasn't really painful at all, maybe a 2 or 3 on the pain scale.  With DS2 (who was OP), it was definitely the worst pain of my life, probably an 8 or 9.  
  • Yes it was.  I have had broken bones and a previous surgery.  All pale in comparison to the pain I felt in labor.  However, the pain comes in waves as contractions only last a minute.  The break between contractions was a relief and I was able to relax and get ready for the next one.  The contractions are intense but the amazing thing about birth is once the baby is out the pain is gone.  It is a pain that can be tolerated especially if you are prepared for it. GL!
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  • Mastitis hurt really bad. Ugh. I get sick to my stomach thinking about how bad it hurt.  Oh and the dentist. Ouch.

    Having a baby was crazy crazy intense.  I wouldn't use painful as a description of DD's birth.  For me the adrenaline rush and whatever other stuff my brain was doing made it so different than everyday experience. It was so cool.

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  • No. 6 months after my son was born, I started having gallbladder attacks (we didn't know at the time they were gallstones; they felt like back spasms), and THAT was the worst, most excruciating pain of my life. Also the after-pains from the surgery after my gallbladder was eventually removed. Natural childbirth, for me, was more intense than painful. I think, even in the throes of labor, I had the mindset of "the pain is okay, it's leading to a wonderful thing, I will get through this." I was able to make the distinction between the pain of an injury/something wrong with my body vs the pain of childbirth. KWIM?
  • The pain was the most severe I had ever felt, but I expected that. It wasn't easy but I knew it was going to hurt. It was really the physical exhaustion that overwhelmed me. When you're running or exercising, there is always a choice to stop or slow down. There is no choice in labor and it keeps going whether you like it or not. My labor was fairly long, I was up all night, 3 hours of transition, and 2.5 hours of pushing. The exhaustion was ridiculous.

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  • I don't know if it was the worst pain I've ever felt, but it did hurt a.lot. But the pushing/delivery phase went fast for me, so it was super intense in the moment. But when it was over, it was immediate relief! I don't run, but I can imagine a marathon sucking and being awesome all at the same time, much like birth. 
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  • The pain was bad, yes. But many years ago I had an ectopic pregnancy, that landed me in emergency surgery. That pain was far worse.
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  • My mom had gallbladder attacks years ago and told me the pain was comparable to labor.  I had gallbladder attacks throughout my pregnancy and had it removed at 26 weeks.  I think that labor was much more painful, although the breaks between contractions do make it manageable.  

    I think it might be which pain is the most recent in your mind or which one stood out as a memory.  I would equate gallbladder pain to early labor and manageable contractions, but once they get crazier towards the end, there is no comparison!

     As a first time mom, I was in labor feeling like no one had prepared me for how painful it would be - even though everyone says ti is the worst pain you will feel.  But once the baby was out, there is such a sense of relief and the pain is over that you feel like it was not that bad, you can do it again.

    I think your marathon running will definitely prepare you to cope with the pain of labor as you are used to getting to the finish line.  You are step ahead! 

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  • No, not the worst pain, but the most difficult to manage pain because so many things happen at once and your hormones are wacky and the intensity of each pain is different (though similar) to the last.

    I did feel as though I'd been hit by a bus for about a week post birth though. Every muscle fiber seemed to burn and ache, even muscles that didn't seem relevant to birth! I was out walking (SLOWLY) within 3 days.  

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  • I had a natural labor and I thought running was a good comparison. I have never been a really long distance runner, so I think your running would be even more simuilar. The key is to prepare and train like you would for a marathon--learn the physical and mental stuff you'll need to push through the tough part. Certain parts will be intense BUT contractions and pushing only last seconds or a minute at a time and you always get a break--which isn't true of running. also, running, you feel sore afterwards. I didn't feel full body sore like I have for some longer runs. I think you'll be very well mentally prepared, with a bit of study on labor, to push through any difficult parts, due to your marathon experience.
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  • mrs.JLmrs.JL
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    Yes it was.nbsp; I have had broken bones and a previous surgery.nbsp; All pale in comparison to the pain I felt in labor.nbsp; However, the pain comes in waves as contractions only last a minute.nbsp; The break between contractions was a relief and I was able to relax and get ready for the next one.nbsp; The contractions are intense but the amazing thing about birth is once the baby is out the pain is gone.nbsp; It is a pain that can be tolerated especially if you are prepared for it. GL!


    This is true if your baby isn't posterior. I labored for 14hrs and delivered a large baby posterior. It was insane, like no other pain I have experienced.
  • Yes, it absolutely with out a doubt was the most pain I've ever felt (and I say this as a former half marathoner).  Like you, I can recall feeling like there is nothing that could be more painful than running a long distance but labor was a million times worse.  However, just like running you need to spend time preparing yourself and learning various coping mechanisms.  I won't sugar coat it, labor was horrificly painful, I was screaming and even bit a nurse.  But, you get through it by doing what you need to do.
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  • I had my baby at home in a birthing pool with no meds, I would say that the midwife pushing on my uterus after my baby was born was painful than birth itself! They do that to get any clots out if there is any.

    Contractions I would describe as the most discomfort ive ever felt. Actual pushing felt like a relief, and I would describe it as intense, but not "pain"... its hard to describe, but you can totally do it! I'm a wuss with a low pain tolerance, and I pushed a 9lb 8 oz baby out with no meds! You will do awesome. Google positive birth affirmations, also.
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  • Thx for all these posts. It helps to make me think I do get breaks between contractions unlike mile 24 of a marathon where my mind doesn't allow my body to break and walk. That suggestion is something positive I will have Coach Husband remind me of when Im having contractions. Much appreciated!!
  • meloschmelosch
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    When I was in high school, I severely sprained my ankle. Just thinking about the pain makes me cringe, and I think that was probably worse than labor. However, I had really prepared for labor by taking classes and doing hypnobabies, so that probably really helped with the pain management.


    Wow, well reading this definitely knocks my fear down a small notch. I broke my ankle last August and then had gnarly ortho surgery a few weeks after. Pain was definitely off the charts postsurgery... It's the only thing I have to really compare to labor. At least with labor I know that when baby comes the pain will end with the ankle it was weeks of torture. I guess I'll just have to wait and see how I experience labor and birth to really know!
  • I've had two particularly horrendous bouts of kidney stones. The first time I was abroad and had no medical intervention or pain relief. It lasted two days. The second time I went to the ER and had a lot of drugs. They finally passed ten days later. Kidney stones was way worse than natural birth. Plus it was pointless pain. 

    Im a super competitive swimmer. My active labor and pushing lasted about as long as the longest single practice I every did in my life.  Both were super painful, but in different ways. One was 9 miles of swimming, the other gave me a baby!

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  • I thought I knew the answer to this when I hit reply. The actual birth part was not that painful. The contractions were more painful than giving birth. Right now they may be the most painful thing but I think maybe if I were to hurt myself somehow it could very easily not be the most painful thing. I hope that makes sense
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  • I only labored for a little while without an epi, but it really wasn't so much pain, than it was pressure. I did get crampy contractions, but I'd have to say that the pressure in my crotch was the worst for me.

    The only reason I got an epi was because I was coerced by the anesthesiologist. I actually could have made it through my entire delivery without one, because I made it to a 7, and I had gone through transition without the epi, and I'm usually a big whiner when it comes to pain (ie, wanting meds for pain). 

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  • When people ask me about the pain, I always have a hard time describing it. It was intense, for sure, and it wasn't pleasant or comfortable all, but it was a completely different kind of pain and one that I find can't even be compared on a scale with other painful things. It just doesn't feel the same. 

    Honestly, the internal exams were FAR WORSE than the contactions for me. I was only checked three times, and each time was horrible. It always brought on much stronger and more intense contractions too immediately following, so it wasn't like immediate relief when the internal was over.  

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