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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll be honest, I think calling a contraction anything but a contraction is silly. Its like its trying to mask the fact that they are uncomfortable even painful. I think this can do a disservice to women. It would be irresponsible to tell women that labor doesn't hurt and isn't uncomfortable.<br><br>
Labor is intense! While some women find it horribly painful and too much to handle many of us recognize that its just really hard physical work. And that kind of work can hurt and be very staggering. Its better to be prepared, imo, than to go into it thinking, "Its just a pressure wave."<br><br>
Instead when first times mom ask me what labor is like I usually tell them its very strong and overwhelming. And while its painful the pain comes and goes so its manageable if you find the coping mechanism that works for you. We discuss options for pain management (waterbirth, birth balls, massage, doula). I also usually tell them that it is not the most painful thing I've felt (that was a gall bladder attack).<br><br>
While I know some women can be scared to think about how labor might hurt and these phrases might help them disassociate with 'contraction' if that word has a negative connotation in general but for others it seems dishonest to use those phrases.<br><br>
Opinions?
 

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Except that some womens contractions dont hurt. At all.<br><br>
I know of one personally, dh's aunt went to the hospital when her water broke, they hooked her up to the fetal monitor and apparently she was having contractions. She continued to have them for 8 more hours without feeling a single thing and then they told her to push the baby out with 4 pushes at 10cm which apparently didn't hurt her at all either.<br><br>
I personally think it does a disservice to women to tell them that labor does and will hurt. When you are expecting pain, anticipating pain and fearing pain, your contractions are going to hurt a hell of a lot more.
 

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One thing I don't like about the word contraction is that it suggests closing up, not opening. I know it refers to the uterine muscle contracting, but I think the focus should be on the cervix opening. I like the words 'surges' or 'rushes' better, but I use the word contraction for clarity.<br><br>
I agree about the pain thing, not that I think "contraction" really suggests pain more than any of the other words. Women should certainly be prepared for pain, but not expect it.
 

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I have two dc and my contractions never really hurt. Pushing hurt like a b*tch, but my contractions were really just a squeezing feeling throughout my entire labor.<br><br>
But, I don't really think "contraction" is synonymous with "pain" - if I contract any other muscle it doesn't hurt, y'know? It's kind of all semantics to me. But I don't think it's silly or a "disservice" to call them pressure waves or something like that - whatever gets you through it!
 

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Maybe it's helpful to call them something else if a woman has heard too many labor horror stories, like my SIL.<br><br>
I didn't mind the word contractions, and mine didn't hurt. I did FEEL them, but it felt like lifting weights. Each time I had one, I had the image in my head of my uterus 'pulling up it's skirts' so to speak.<br><br>
What did hurt was my ribs, and my pelvis, and my bottom, and pooping every five minutes. (sorry, TMI)<br><br>
I think surges and rushes are kind of silly myself. I think it would be better to talk about other things that might hurt and why.<br><br>
JMO
 

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As far as the pain factor goes... it IS a muscle... but if I do push ups for several hours my arms are inevitably going to hurt <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"><br><br>
Some people call them "expansions"... or "baby hugs"... the ones I've been having the past week really do feel like I'm being hugged from the inside out, but I probably still wouldn't call them that.<br><br>
Besides I don't talk to people IRL about contractions much anyway, and online, it's easier to write "ctx" than it is any of those other words <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">
 

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My contractions are certainly not like waves or surges so these terms just irritated me when I tried to use them mentally during labor. But I can understand why it would be helpful to some women. They remind me of poetry where synonyms or metaphors can take you to another place and bring about other feelings. I can relate to the idea, even if those actual words were not helpful to me personally.
 

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i'm fine with the word contraction. it gets annoying to me when people tell me that labor and delivery is a breeze and "surges" are painless.<br>
i'm having BH that are uncomfortable.. but i am managing. as i will manage with actual contractions. i think it's silly to go into it expecting no pain at all, i'd rather feel prepared for it than keep telling myself its fine its fine. i am so excited about having my baby, i am READY for it to be uncomfortable or painful at times, i am in no way expecting it to be the brutal comedy movie birth scenes i have seen, but i expect to feel something i won't enjoy. but it's a plenty worth it and like i said i am ready for it.. bring it on already! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> i want to know what it feels like.. but i am not going into it calling them rushes or surges..<br><br>
good topic <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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ITA with describing labor as "intense" and i have no problem w/ the word "contraction." IME getting shot up multiple times with lydacaine (sp?) in my perineum, and then being stitched up for quite a bit of 2nd degree tearing after dd was born was way worse than labor itself, but i don't think i would share that with a 1st time mom right off the bat either. i think there's a problem both with sugar-coating on one end of the spectrum, and then there's the other end where ppl tell you it's the worst thing ever, and you'd be crazy to do it without an epi. sure, both extremes exist for ppl, but usually reality is somewhere in the middle.
 

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Hmm, my mom has prepped me by saying it is definitely painful, but painful the way running a race is painful, not the way breaking your arm is painful.<br><br>
I've always been an "all or nothing" poster child for Nike so I definitely am hoping this analogy holds true, lol.<br><br>
What I am really fearing is transition, especially with all the stories I have heard about vomiting and feeling sick. Vomiting is the one thing I hate most. Other than food aversions/queasiness, I didn't have morning sickness and I've heard that women who skip 1st tri sickness tend to have 3rd tri/labor sickness. So not looking forward to that.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>claddaghmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11633887"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What I am really fearing is transition, especially with all the stories I have heard about vomiting and feeling sick. Vomiting is the one thing I hate most. Other than food aversions/queasiness, I didn't have morning sickness and I've heard that women who skip 1st tri sickness tend to have 3rd tri/labor sickness. So not looking forward to that.</div>
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I've had HG this pregnancy and I was afraid of this happening to me. I asked about it on HG message board I'm on and there doesn't really seem to be any correlation between being sick/not sick during pregnancy and during transition. Some of the women who were sick on there the whole pregnancy felt their best during labor/transition. Others felt their sickest and had to take their nausea meds. My SIL was pretty sick first tri and also got sick during labor/transition. I'm preparing for it by having my nausea meds on hand, but I'm not going to freak out in advance.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>lwuertz</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11634570"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I've had HG this pregnancy and I was afraid of this happening to me. I asked about it on HG message board I'm on and there doesn't really seem to be any correlation between being sick/not sick during pregnancy and during transition. Some of the women who were sick on there the whole pregnancy felt their best during labor/transition. Others felt their sickest and had to take their nausea meds. My SIL was pretty sick first tri and also got sick during labor/transition. I'm preparing for it by having my nausea meds on hand, but I'm not going to freak out in advance.</div>
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Nausea meds? Are they herbal? Any recommendations?
 

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I think the danger is in overemphasizing the discomfort and not focusing on the fact that it is a joyous and oftentimes pleasurable experience. Why get all descriptive about the pain (especially since some do not have it anyway)? Why not talk about all the other aspects of birthing. I just cringe at descriptions of childbirth as being painful or horrible. IT IS THE BIRTH OF YOUR CHILD! IT IS WONDERFUL!! I would feel terrible if my mom described my birth as excrutiating or even "not that bad" (which she doesn't). I want my DD to know how exhilerating her labor and birth were. So, I will ALWAYS describe birth in terms of strength, power, sensations, surges, etc. That's just me.
 

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For me they are contractions because the uterus is contracting.<br>
However, contractions don't have to = pain, we just see it that way.<br>
So I don't feel the need to call them anything else personally but women should call them whatever they want.<br><br>
I have contractions when I have orgasms because my uterus contracts but I don't equate contractions with pain.<br>
My muscles contract when I work out.<br><br>
It's all perception.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>~Megan~</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11612161"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Labor is intense! While some women find it horribly painful and too much to handle many of us recognize that its just really hard physical work.</div>
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That's not fair at all.<br><br>
My first labor, I was totally prepared for hard physical labor, but what I got was mind-blowing PAIN. Nothing like a little bit of muscle pain, nothing. Just PAIN. things I wish I had known about-- "Back Labor No More" and <a href="http://www.spinningbabies.com" target="_blank">www.spinningbabies.com</a><br><br>
Second labor? Contractions didn't hurt at all until I hit transition and then labor was intense but tolerable and extremely quick. But before transition hit, the contractions were easy and enjoyable, actually.<br><br>
To say that labor contractions are "just really hard physical work" totally ignores the wide range of experience which exists in labor.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>claddaghmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11633887"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What I am really fearing is transition, especially with all the stories I have heard about vomiting and feeling sick. Vomiting is the one thing I hate most. Other than food aversions/queasiness, I didn't have morning sickness and I've heard that women who skip 1st tri sickness tend to have 3rd tri/labor sickness. So not looking forward to that.</div>
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I didn't really throw up during my first labor but for quite some time I FELT like I was going to - for me it was more related to the hard work, many hours of back labor at that point, the way some people might puke after a very intense weight lifting session. I doubt meds would really help that.<br><br>
I agree that the word contraction doesnt = pain. It is semantics. But semantics is an important issue. If someone has a negative association with a word then by all means use an alternate one that has another connotation to them. I agree that women should be informed of the range of possibilities regarding the pain spectrum. Like going on vacation, you prepare for some bad weather, and then you hope it doesn't happen - but you would be remiss to not prepare and would be left with little recourse if it did. I mentally prepared for it to possibly be the most strenuously physical event I had done, but knew that I was made to do it. There are such a variety of birth places, support, mothers personalities and personal history, etc... that having a VARIETY of words to use and knowlege of possible outcomes it essential.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Mommyintraining2</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11626506"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">They remind me of poetry where synonyms or metaphors can take you to another place and bring about other feelings. I can relate to the idea, even if those actual words were not helpful to me personally.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">: I don't think I could say rushes or surges with a straight face, but I like the symbolism behind the words. And I also think of them as my uterus "lifting up and out" like a skirt. So I guess the point of my post is "different strokes for different folks". If you want them to be rushes, more power to you...<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up">
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>LionTigerBear</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/11645223"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">That's not fair at all.<br><br>
My first labor, I was totally prepared for hard physical labor, but what I got was mind-blowing PAIN. Nothing like a little bit of muscle pain, nothing. Just PAIN. things I wish I had known about-- "Back Labor No More" and <a href="http://www.spinningbabies.com" target="_blank">www.spinningbabies.com</a><br><br>
Second labor? Contractions didn't hurt at all until I hit transition and then labor was intense but tolerable and extremely quick. But before transition hit, the contractions were easy and enjoyable, actually.<br><br>
To say that labor contractions are "just really hard physical work" totally ignores the wide range of experience which exists in labor.</div>
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That wasn't my implication. I can see how it could be read that way though. I meant to say that it is horrible pain for some women and for others its hard physical work but not necessarily painful.<br><br>
There are obviously different kinds of pain too. Its such hard work it took me by surprise and I would describe it as painful too. But its much different than when I had a gall bladder attack or the recovery from a c-section or things that are meant to trigger your brain that there is something wrong.
 

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See, for me the first time the pain WAS like a trigger that told me something was wrong. It was a scary feeling, totally out of control. I think this was because my baby was in a bad position for labor, plus I didn't feel safe in my environment, so my brain was sending freak-out signals for various reasons.<br><br>
The second time was completely different, and most of it was quite peaceful and easy, not hard physical work at all. I would only describe the transition part as hard physical labor, and even then that's more in retrospect-- during transition I was so in my head I wasn't conciously aware of "doing" any hard physical work, you know? So all in all, for my own labors, I don't feel like "hard physical work" really describes my experiences. I guess to me, "hard physical work" implies an effort on my part, and for my second labor, there was never any concious effort to "do" anything-- I was just along for the ride.
 

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I did hypnobabies and had to giggle whenever they said pressure wave. It was so totally not like that for me. But then again I had back labor and I wasn't feeling contractions at all. I was feeling a white hot poker boring through my sacrum. I couldn't get away from it and I was totally unprepared for it!<br><br>
I do like the term surge though. Easier to scream than "I'm having another contraaaaaaction!" Sounds more powerful and less clinical.
 
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