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birth- more or less painful than expected?

Poll Results: was birth more or less painful than expected?

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 50% (103)
    More painful.
  • 49% (100)
    Less painful.
203 Total Votes  
post #1 of 75
Thread Starter 
This is in addition to the great thread i just read about *transition and pushing* just to get a better picture of your experiences thanks!
post #2 of 75
I voted "more painful"--what I meant was, birth was more painful the first time than I thought it would be.
post #3 of 75
It was intense, and easily the hardest thing I've ever done, but less painful than the media led me to believe.
post #4 of 75
Just the pushing/birthing part? Not bad at all. The slight tearing/ring of fire? Very bad -- but that lasted seconds only.

I didn't vote because it was actually about as painful as I'd expected it to be.
post #5 of 75
I voted more, but I hesitate to quantify it as "painful." Yes, it hurt. A LOT. But it was not "pain" in the sense of being like a broken leg or a punch in the face. It was more like the most intense sensations ever. Okay, I know this sounds fruity, but bear with me. I was definitely unprepared for how INTENSE it was going to be, and how HARD I would have to work. Does that make sense? And I'm not trying to rephrase it to make it sound all hippy-dippy and cutesy. That's honestly how it felt.

I knew in advance that the best way to deal with it would be to just surrender myself over to it, but I didn't know just how much I would have to do that. Labor is like being strapped to a rocket and getting shot into space at a thousand miles an hour.The weight of the atmosphere is crushing you, nd the wind is blowing so hard against you, but there's nothing you can do about it because you're strapped to that rocket. You just go along for the ride and wait till you land. There's no point in fighting it.

Now when the baby actually came out, I had no pain at all because I was in the pool. I didn't feel comfortable in it during labor, so I probably would have hurt a lot less had I been in the water more. But I had no ring of fire, no nothing. I didn't feel myself tear. I broke my tailbone and didn't even feel THAT until afterwards. Hell, I even stood up in the pool with the baby half hanging out of me because his shoulders got stuck, and I didn't feel that either. I guess it might have been because I was so thrilled to be in that moment that the last thing on my mind was how much it hurt.

Looking back, the feeling of a natural birth was so incredible and amazing, but for a few days afterwards I was just utterly flabbergasted at how overwhelming it had been. I couldn't believe I'd survived something that intense. So yes, for me, it was much more "painful" than I'd anticipated. But it was totally worth it, and I'll gladly do it again next time.
post #6 of 75
The first one was very painful, because I was very scared. The second one was virtually painless.
post #7 of 75
I didn't know what to vote.
With my 1st, it was more painful and intense than I had imagined. But with my 2nd, I kept saying "no, it gets worse than this... this isn't anything yet!" but it just wasn't as painful and intense as my 1st.
post #8 of 75
I don't know how to vote either because while it was painful near transition, it wasn't all that bad during most of labor. But I don't want to vote "less painful than expected" because it was about as painful has I was expecting. Kinda in the middle of this one.
post #9 of 75
I voted both! My first birth was LESS painful than I expected (overall). I was not well-prepared and expected to need drugs, and ended up not taking the drugs until I was 9cm -- and had I known better, maybe I would have waited and not taken the drugs.

My second birth, six years later and after reading a ton of natural birth stories, was MORE painful than I expected. By the second birth, I thought I was an expert and well-read and would relax and it wouldn't hurt. But it still hurt, so it was actually "more" painful than I expected.

Birth is simply not predictable! Every woman, every birth, is different!

Editing to add -- Also, before the first birth, I used to have horrible menstrual cramps. Horrible. Sometimes medications just flat-out wouldn't work. At all. I'd be in bed tapping my forehead against the wall for hours, to distract myself from waiting out the pain. Then, after the baby, my cramps were bearable! So perhaps part of the second birth being "more" painful was that I wasn't as accustomed to dealing with pain anymore.
post #10 of 75
Also voted both. First time- much less painful than I thought. More like abdominal tightening and then intense pressure, and it was over so fast I never really had a chance to worry about it. All in all a very pleasant and do-able experience. 2nd time not very pleasantly surprised that it was quite excruciating, continual knifelike pains in my cervix. Thankfully over very quickly. Both were natural, no-intervention, out of hosp. births.
post #11 of 75
I voted less, b/c I really feel like it isn't that bad. I've had a temp crown fall off a tooth with a nerve and felt that was MUCH worse than childbirth.

That said - pushing sucks for me. Transition is just shaky and intense, not painful per se. Pushing SUCKS. You know it will hurt worse to push rather than to blow off the force of the contraction, but you know you have to do it to birth the babe. I did coached pushing with my first, and was bound and determined to let it all just flow out with my 2nd. Hell no! After 1 attempt to just ease it out - I had someone count out loud for me and pushed that babe completely down and out on the next contrax.

Much better for me to just push quickly, efficiently, and FAST.
post #12 of 75
#1 was what I expected it to be. #2 was worse than I expected it to be (I didn't expect it to get easier I just didn't think it could ever be that bad). So after #2 and knowing how bad it could be I always knew it could be that bad again. Thankfully I have only ever experienced that kind of pain once again but I always expect it to be terrible like those 2 times, just so I am not unprepared for the possibility. So I guess both lol.
post #13 of 75
It was much worse than I expected.
post #14 of 75
About what I expected, just a little more painful with #1 cause pushing sucked.
post #15 of 75
I had two hospital births with an epidural and one natural, at home birth. I expected the home birth (the last one) to be more painful, contraction wise, but it wasn't, I got in the tub and I was fine. I did feel that "ring of fire" for about 10 seconds that I never felt before, so that sorta blew me the eff away. I voted "more painful". But, I don;t mean to scare anyone. It only lasted a few seconds while my daughter's head passed through, from there, she was out and the burn was gone almost before I could recognize what I was feeling
post #16 of 75
I don't like the word pain either. I agree with "intense", "uncomfortable/discomfort", "hard/hard work", and even "hurts", but pain just doesn't fit with my experience. I voted less painful than I expected because I didn't feel pain. But I didn't really expect to, either. I was prepared for and believed in the possibility of a pain-free birth.

ETA: Afterpains and sore nipples...that's another story!
post #17 of 75
Neither... I had a pretty accurate preconception.
post #18 of 75
The actual birth part was less painful then I'd expected. The labour was more painful than I'd imagined.
post #19 of 75
voted "more" but didn't know how to vote.

I found early labor more painful than I exepected, mainly since I was trying to use Hypnobabies and was aiming for a painless birth, which it wasn't

BUT I found transition very manageable and was almost in a trance-like state and I could feel the "ring of fire" very mildly and had a 2nd degree tear, but it was painless and quick. I was very surprised by that, as I imagined pushing the baby out would be the worst part, and it definitely was not (it was painful in the hours/days/weeks after though!)
post #20 of 75
i've given birth three times and each time i've been surprised at how painful it is. one would think that after the first time, i'd be prepared for the experience, but so far i've ended up whiningly indignant at how much pain i'm in.

(eta: for the record, it didn't stop me from birthing unassisted the last two times. the first time was a hospital birth with morphine at 4cm and demerol at 7cm.)

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