Do really awful menstrual cramps equal a really awful labor? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 34 Old 05-05-2010, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm trying to get my hormone and menstrual issues cleared up as much as I can now, but it's still bugging me in the back of my mind that if my uterus causes this much pain over a little bit of blood, is it just likely to go into overdrive and make for a horrible labor experience? I get debilitating back pain, muscle spasms up and down my back and thighs, and crippling uterine pain. I've actually considered using Hypnobabies for the period pain, so am I out of luck for an easy labor in the future, or is the feeling and coping totally different?
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#2 of 34 Old 05-05-2010, 09:41 PM
 
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I don't think it means you'll have a horrible labor. In my case, my experience with really painful menstrual cramps made me feel like labor wasn't all that bad. Plus, labor has a pattern and you know that contractions will end and you'll have a break. You never know what's going to happen with a period cramp.
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#3 of 34 Old 05-05-2010, 09:48 PM
 
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I had horrible cramps and labor was a totally different thing. It wasn't worse or better, just totally different.

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#4 of 34 Old 05-05-2010, 09:56 PM
 
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I found that having dealt with horrific cramps (every bit as painful as full on labor for me but in a different way) in the past made it easier for me to deal with labor pains.

I dont know that it made labor more painful or not though.

 
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#5 of 34 Old 05-05-2010, 10:12 PM
 
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I don't think so.

On the other hand, the pain of labor certainly made those horrible cramps seem like awfully small potatoes.
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#6 of 34 Old 05-05-2010, 10:15 PM
 
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I would say my worst cramps (due to a tilted uterus) were worse than the regular labor pains I experiences. However, I also ended up with a swollen cervical lip, and *not* pushing while the swelling went down was pretty bad (though manageable in the end...)
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#7 of 34 Old 05-05-2010, 11:39 PM
 
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One of the first things I said after my baby was born was "At least it wasn't as bad as menstrual cramps!". I know a lot women who've said the same thing.

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#8 of 34 Old 05-05-2010, 11:48 PM
 
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I think everyone is different. I usually get cramping and back ache during AF(I thought they were very painful).....then I spent 26h of hard labour....all back labour....those cramps were nothing. LOL DS was backwards and we were spine to spine....I hope if I am lucky enough to conceive again that I can do everything to get baby turned before the approach of labour.....Now pushing....well that was impowering....even though for me there was no way he was coming out I am glad I had the chance to try before a CS.

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#9 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 12:22 AM
 
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With my first labor, I kept waiting for it to get as bad as my worst cramps.... and when it did, I thought "yikes" for about one contraction and then my water broke and I got a huge urge to push and the hurting stopped.

Second time, it didn't even get as bad as the first time. Never got as bad as the worst cramps.

And I got to use all the coping strategies I developed getting through cramps to relax my way through labor. So that was a bonus?

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#10 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 12:49 AM
 
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I had horrible menstrual cramps before I got pregnant with my first. The kind where you ly down and cry. We heard someone say that labor felt like bad menstrual cramps and dh was about to cry with me. Anyway, in the end labor was so easy and the only thing i felt was the dialation and that was it! With my next one labor was completely different and while it wasn't as nice as the first one, it didn't feel like menstrual cramps either.
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#11 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 10:48 AM
 
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No
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#12 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 11:18 AM
 
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Nope.

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#13 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 11:42 AM
 
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I've always had horrible cramps but labor was way worse - which was because DS was posterior and then sort of between posterior and normal with a nuchal hand. However my cramps had nothing to do with my labor experience!
My cramps have actually lessened, I'm on cycle 10 postpartum and I only hurt the first day and don't even require any meds now to make it through (just rarely).
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#14 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 02:00 PM
 
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No.

My menstrual cramps before giving birth were horrible. Birth was different. I could handle birth. Even better than that was that after giving birth, my menstrual cramps have decreased in intensity.

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#15 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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Nope I actually heard the opposite. That women are better prepared to handle the pain of labour.
I myself had back labour so the pain was completely different than af cramps. But still. I didn't think the pain was all that bad, until I was ready to push.

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#16 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 03:16 PM
 
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I've had periods worse than labor. I use Hypnobabies for birth. Magnesium and Calcium help me with bad cramps.

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#17 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 05:14 PM
 
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What I have seen most of the time is when women have had to cope with something like painful menstrual cramps they are more prepared to manage labor cramps and I have had many of those gals think that labor was not as bad as the menstrual cramps-- so be encouraged you have honed your coping skills--
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#18 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 05:15 PM
 
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Dang. I though my menstrual cramps used to be horrendous. But folks have had cramps worse than labor??

I can't even imagine what that would have been like. When I was in labor I would have given anything to trade what I was going through for one of my periods in the bad old days (they quit being painful when I was 25).
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#19 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 06:29 PM
 
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I have two things to say about this:

#1 If you have bad menstrual cramps, labor pains probably don't seem as bad as they do for someone who doesn't have cramps, because it all takes them by surprise, but it won't surprise you. My doula agreed with this.

#2 My menstrual cramps are pretty bad, compared to most of my friends, but they are not seriously debillitating. Aleve is my best friend when I'm having them, though. My labor pains felt very similar to menstrual cramps, though they did get more intense than regular menstrual cramps. I found that I felt them in generally the same place, which is in my back and down my legs.

So I don't think that you will have worse pains because of your menstrual history, but you may find that they are similar.

Also, it took about a year of postpartum menstruation before my cramps returned again, and they are not as bad as they used to be, so that may be something for you to look forward to.

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#20 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 08:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AmyKT View Post
I have two things to say about this:

#1 If you have bad menstrual cramps, labor pains probably don't seem as bad as they do for someone who doesn't have cramps, because it all takes them by surprise, but it won't surprise you. My doula agreed with this.
It's great that this turned out to be the case for you. But I really don't think you can generalize about everyone. I had bad cramps. Call in sick, double over a heating pad in bed cramps. Feel light-headed and woozy cramps. And labor was about a kajilion times worse than that.
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#21 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 09:34 PM
 
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I think they are just totally different. Before having DS, I had horrible horrible menstrual cramps -- I would always have to call out sick, I (who never ever took meds for even migraines) would take 14 ibuprofen a day or a handful of aleve, and would still be sitting in a hot bath doubled over in pain & nauseous, pain in my back & legs, the whole deal.

Labor was almost entirely in my back & I felt (TMI) like I was constipated with the world's largest BM for 48 hours straight. I felt the contractions in my stomach too but that didn't really hurt, at least not in comparision. Even though I wanted a 100% drug-free birth, I ended up getting stadol & an epi & some other weird thing (that was supposed to make me sleep but didn't) -- but there were other reasons for the drugs too (history of sexual abuse & they "needed" to check me & I was dumb) -- but yeah, labor was horrible, but totally different.

On the plus side, post-baby, AF is barely noticable!! I haven't had to take a single pain reliever in the 7 months since my cycle returned, most I ever needed was a heat pack & some extra rest!

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#22 of 34 Old 05-06-2010, 09:36 PM
 
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Menstrual cramps never really bothered me and my labor was all in the base of my spine.
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#23 of 34 Old 05-07-2010, 06:45 AM
 
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I have PCOS and my periods would range from gut wrenchingly bad to barely there at all.

Labour, for me, was nothing like menstral cramps. The contractions started off like them and I was sucked into thinking that it was fairly easy. Then active labour hit and boy did I change my mind. Both my babies were spine to spine labours and my contractions were pretty much continous with little break in between. Entonox became my friend! Even just sucking on the mouthpiece helped calm me down enough to go with it. It turns out, both my babies were born with their hands on their faces making even the pushing stage fun!

But it is different to menstral cramps, at least for me. I found labour very empowering, even when I had contractions that made me want to crawl out of my skin. I can't really explain it but in the end, the second my girls were born, all the pain immediately went away and the rush I got was phenomenal, which I didn't get with menstral cramps LOL.
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#24 of 34 Old 05-07-2010, 10:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post
On the plus side, post-baby, AF is barely noticable!! I haven't had to take a single pain reliever in the 7 months since my cycle returned, most I ever needed was a heat pack & some extra rest!
Yes, labor cures menstrual cramps for life for many women.
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#25 of 34 Old 05-07-2010, 10:43 AM
 
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Yes, labor cures menstrual cramps for life for many women.
Oooo for life?!? Really?! That is the best news I've heard all month!!! I figured after a year or two it would go back to being incredibly painful.

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#26 of 34 Old 05-07-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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To answer the OP title question -

Not necessarily, but for me, yes. And my afterpains were horrendous with both - including the first time, when no one believed they could be bad enough that ibuprofen and tylenol were worthless.

I can relate to what zinemama said. My menstrual cramps were hell that I could only tolerate lying in bed crying, or drugging myself into oblivion to escape; and labor was about a billion times worse. Not right at first - but ultimately, yes, much worse.

GL - I hope your labor is one of the easy ones!

ETA: - crunchymommy, my periods got MUCH better after having kids, but they did slowly go back to being quite bad, even though I haven't menstruated long between pregnancies (about 9 mos both times). I have endometriosis.
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#27 of 34 Old 05-07-2010, 07:44 PM
 
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My IBS is worse than labour lol!!!!!!!! And I go through it pretty much EVERY morning.

Also, my after pains with DD3 were pretty horrific.

Before I had children, I had the worst periods, heavy bleeding, diarrhea, vomiting and awful cramps, first birth was pretty awful due to it being an unnecessary induction but the births after were fine.

Maybe there is a psychological aspect to it? If my periods are this bad, labour has got to be so much worse, and then you go into labour expecting it to be awful and because of that mind set it kinda turns out that way????? I don't know?
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#28 of 34 Old 05-07-2010, 09:50 PM
 
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Maybe there is a psychological aspect to it? If my periods are this bad, labour has got to be so much worse, and then you go into labour expecting it to be awful and because of that mind set it kinda turns out that way????? I don't know?
Maybe for some but not for me. I had read an article about a woman with such bad periods & how she found labor almost painless by comparison. So I went into it thinking I'd have a similar experience, I really did not expect labor to be as painful as it was. I don't think I had ever been in so much pain in my life (though for me, immediately after birth was even worse).

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#29 of 34 Old 05-07-2010, 11:14 PM
 
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Oooo for life?!? Really?! That is the best news I've heard all month!!! I figured after a year or two it would go back to being incredibly painful.
But the afterpains get worse with each child....sorry....
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#30 of 34 Old 05-07-2010, 11:24 PM
 
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I had always had really bad cramps before Ds was born. My labor was overwhelmingly painful. I didn't know it was possible to feel that much pain and still live to tell about it. My period came back only 2 months later even though Ds was nursing. But I didn't have any cramps to speak of until after he weaned. Then my cramps came back but they didn't seem as painful. I worked on trying to tolerate them without drugs (an attempt at preparing to give birth again) and eventually I found a coping technique that allowed me to not medicate them and they really weren't that painful anymore. I'm hoping that technique helps me through this next labor, but I'm not too confident that it will.
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