"pain" - what do you think? — The Bump
Natural Birth

"pain" - what do you think?

I really hate that word.

I'm trying to think of labor as a positive experience, but so much talk about labor involves the word "Pain"  

My thought going into this is that it's going to be like running a marathon or doing some other strenuous physical activity or training - sure, it's going to hurt, burn, and be uncomfortable at times.  But you get through it, and it's not necessarily considered "pain"

"Pain" to me has a very negative and scary connotation to it. But I don't want that associated with labor - which should be positive. 

So the point to all this babble - I'm wondering what you all think?

and is there another word that can replace "pain"? I am thinking of requesting in my birth plan that the word not be used.

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Re: "pain" - what do you think?

  • In Hypnobabies they use the word Pressure and discomfort instead of pain. They also do not call it labor, but birthing time.  They also suggest that you stay far away from any birth stories or advice on birthing outside of the class material or Ida Mays book. Everyone will want to shove their birthing story at you. You should tell them "we can share stories after I have my birthing experience"
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  • I'm lurking....but my hospital uses the word "strength" rather than "pain".  For example, when you check in, etc they ask "How strong are your contractions", rather than "how bad is the pain".

    They are VERY med-free centered, and like to use 'empowering' terms rather than negative ones, much like you are thinking.  I liked that, as the contractions were strong but they weren't painful, like pain from surgery, if you KWIM.

    *back to lurking*

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  • pressure

    sensation

    surge

    words i plan to use to describe pain and contractions.

    i think it's helpful to think of the "pain" in terms of what it actually feels like to the body. with our current mindset, we feel the sensation of pain, but, if you change the way your body responds to that sensation, it may not be received as pain.

    [color=purple]Wife ? 9/18/04<BR>Mommy ? DS - 2006 (C/S) & DD - 2010 (HWBAC)<BR>Wellness Provider ? Birth Doula - Hypnotherapist - HypnoBirthing - Reiki Master/Teacher[/color]<BR><BR><a href=http://naturalbirthfaq.wordpress.com/ target="blank">Natural/Unmedicated Childbirth FAQs</a>
  • Have you read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth?  She refers to contractions as surges, and talks about pressure instead of pain.  Personally, I don't buy it (especially after delivering DD through back labor), but I can see how the theory could be convincing.  You might enjoy the read if you haven't already.
  • I agree.  I try to use the word "discomfort" or just plain "contraction" instead.  Sometimes "tightening" works too.  More than anything, labor was 75% mental and 25% physical for me.  The "pain" was definitely miniscule compared to the basic idea that childbirth is just plain hard work.
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  • I have 2 mantras that I use for running...and I think they would work well for labour too:

    1. Pain is inevitable....suffering is not.

    2. You can do anything for a minute.

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  • I run (ran) marathons and looked at my birth experience like a marathon. There were miles that my abs, thighs, ankles and knees throbbed but I knew there was an end to the race and I learned and trained to make myself as comfortable as possible through the race...I did the same for my birth.

    'strength or intensity of the contraction' is a good phrase to use over 'pain'

    'pressure'

    The thing about labor is that it is (sorry for using this word) 'pain with a purpose' - keep in your mind that 'it is your baby'.

    I swear getting a filling in my tooth or my ruptured ovarian cyst was far more painful than labor!

     

  • I agree, and to be completely honest, I never did have pain. Even with pitocin & back labor, it was never, ever painful. Just uncomfortable.
  • Rushes is what Ina May uses to refer to contractions.  I liked that connotation.  It is kind of a rush.
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  • In a video we watched in my chilbirth class, the woman laboring says to her mother/doula, "its like mountain biking...". Makes perfect sense to me I guess(although this is my first so I have no experience).
  • well, I do think it was a combo of pain and intensity (sorry), BUT so much of going through labor was not letting my brain get in the way of my body - just going along for the ride, and really relaxing through contractions.

    "Birthing From Within" has a lot of good info about coping with labor, but I think she does talk about how she thinks it hurts. hth

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  • imageGideonsMom:
    In Hypnobabies they use the word Pressure and discomfort instead of pain. They also do not call it labor, but birthing time.  They also suggest that you stay far away from any birth stories or advice on birthing outside of the class material or Ida Mays book. Everyone will want to shove their birthing story at you. You should tell them "we can share stories after I have my birthing experience"

    This, at first I thought it was cheesy, but now that I have had a couple of uncomfortable contractions/pressure waves....I would probably punch DH in the face if he looked at me and said ohh does that hurt? or are you in pain? because that just makes it worse.  I know it sounds weird but those words just make me tense up and then it is more uncomfortable. So we will be doing our best to only use positive words.

  • imageTiaTia:

    I have 2 mantras that I use for running...and I think they would work well for labour too:

    1. Pain is inevitable....suffering is not.

    2. You can do anything for a minute.

    I like this!  I truly went into labor thinking that it is a temporary thing and I can do ANYTHING temporarily!!  I can't be in labor forever type of thing.  That being said, I also went into labor thinking exactly like you...that there was not going to be pain, but just "surges" "intensities" "pressure" etc.  I was a little surprised to find that it actually did hurt- a whole lot more than I anticipated it to.  Did I still go med-free...yup!  Am I happy I did...yup!!  But in retrospect, it really wasn't the pain that made labor such hard work, but rather the continuous contractions with little to no break.  It was like swimming in an ocean with lots of waves.  You can swim and swim but man, those waves just keep hitting you and hitting you and you just want a break.  But then you remember that the swimming is for a purpose (to get to your baby) and that you will be out of the ocean before you know it!

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  • imageTiaTia:

    I have 2 mantras that I use for running...and I think they would work well for labour too:

    1. Pain is inevitable....suffering is not.

    2. You can do anything for a minute.

    I LOVE this! Yes

    ETA: These are mine:

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  • In all honesty, it was painful and it was intense and it didn't feel good - no orgasmic birth for me!!  But it was pain with a purpose.  It wasn't like I stubbed my toe or broke a bone or cut my hand while slicing veggies or something like that.  It wasn't that kind of pain.  Does that make sense?  I didn't feel the need to use a euphemism for the pain because, well, it was painful!  It hurt.  The ring of fire is called that for a reason - it burned.  And I had a 3rd degree tear.  I don't know that there is a better way to describe it.  It didn't feel good.  But it felt AWESOME afterwards and the pain was gone immediately when DS was born and I cannot describe the emotional and mental high I was on when it was over - I felt like I could have climbed Mt. Everest; I was superwoman!  

    From my Bradley classes, I knew that I could handle it, and I think that was what mattered more than the term I used to describe the sensations of childbirth.  Knowing I was capable of handling the pain was more important than re-labeling the pain.  The latter was just a euphemism - it didn't change the circumstance.  The former was much more empowering.

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  • Energy, rush, charge, surge, wave

    But I thought of them simply as contractions and as pain with a purpose, that I wanted to build to a crescendo b/c that meant I was at the finish line and getting the ultimate prize of my baby in my arms.

    I totally agree with PP that said you can do anything for a minute.  And I think the key is to take each minute as it comes and not anticipate the next.  My doula had a great cue that she said at the end of each contraction:  "That contraction is over and you'll never have to feel it again."  Helped prompt me to focus on the fact that the contraction was over and I had a respite to enjoy, rather than wallow in the contraction that was and stress about the next to come.  That was key to me actually resting b/w contrax.

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