Having a baby is both an exciting and scary thing, especially for the first-time mom. Finally having your little one in your arms is what you have been waiting for all these months but at the same time, labor and giving birth can be quite the harrowing experience.
It can be difficult to imagine what to expect because women do have different labor stories. Some might have an easier time with almost no pain but others will have hours of contractions and have to go through emergency caesarean sections. Worse, the doctor will not be able to predict what will happen, unless you are already sure that you will not give birth vaginally.
Despite the differences in women’s labor encounters, there are some common ones that you might expect to go through when you are giving birth.
Women are sure to go through some sort of pain during labor, though the intensity might vary. Some might not have extreme pain or some might even have a higher tolerance so it won’t be too much for them. But this is to be expected, as your body will have to open up and push the baby out.
There can be three kinds of pain that you will experience. The first will be cramping, much like when you have period pain or when you have strong gas or suffering from stomach flu. Labor cramps will be much stronger, though, much worse than your worst menstrual cramps.
The second is like being punched in the stomach or in the back. With every contraction, women may experience this kind of pain and feel out of breath because of it.
The last type is a stabbing kind of pain, which is the worst of the three. Very few people would have an actual idea how it is to be stabbed in the stomach, but women going through labor say this is the closest way to describe what they are going through.
During labor, the baby drops down into the birth canal to come out and well, be born. This is a natural process that has been going on for centuries, and the pressure that women feel is a part of it. This is your body’s way to help the baby move down and out of you. The pressure can be felt around the stomach area and down in the vagina. Some women also describe this stage as being like pooping, but a bit more uncomfortable.
This is the most well-known part of labor, as it is the most portrayed in movies or TV shows. This happens during the last stage of delivery when the baby is literally coming out. Mommy has to help her out by pushing, which may either be painful for her or might also be a source of some relief.
What is most common, however, is the feeling of exhaustion after the whole labor experience. The body, especially of those who are first-time moms, has to adjust and go through a lot to allow the baby to come out. Plus, the act of pushing can be very draining. If the labor also lasted quite a number of hours, or even almost a day, it is quite normal for mommy to just be exhausted afterward.
After giving birth, the doctor or nurse will hand over your newborn. This first meeting of mommy and baby brings about emotions that are inexplicable and completely mixed. Some moms are too overwhelmed and tired, some are just completely emotional and crying. Others may also feel utter happiness at having the baby finally in their arms. It will also be normal to feel scared, as you are now responsible for this little helpless thing. It might be tough to decipher the feelings and you may or may not immediately forget the pain. But remember, you have just given birth to your child, and nothing is more magical than that!
These are just the most common experiences that women report during labor. Of course, some may go through other things and others might just breeze through the whole process. Also, moms who are giving birth for the second or third time most likely have a very different story because their bodies have already somehow adjusted to giving birth. For new moms, well, there is a first time for everything. It might not be so bad in the end but to help you have a less traumatic childbirth, you can follow these tips.
Before the Labor
- Prepare yourself
It is always great to join birth preparation classes to learn some techniques that you can use during labor. Whether it is breathing exercises or various labor positions, you will be glad to know a few ways to try to deal with the pain.
- Have a birth plan
A birth plan is something you discuss with your midwife or doctor to share your expectations during the labor. Whether you want to opt for a natural birth or are open to an epidural, you will be able to have all information and communicate your desires. During the labor itself, your delivery team is attuned to your needs and be more ready to support you.
You may also find the opportunity to plan with your partner and tell him how he can help you during delivery. Whether it’s to hold your hand or to cheer you on, you will be able to draw on more strength knowing he is around and helping the way you want him to.
During the Labor
This is much easier said than done, especially when going through lots of pain. But being stressed does not help ease it, so as much as possible, save your strength and relax in between contractions. Bring music that soothes you, or focus on your breathing when the pain gets too much.
- Follow your body
Most of what happens during childbirth are dictated by your body and not by the doctor. For example, the pressure you feel is meant to make you push, so just go and follow what your body is telling you. Do not fight it and simply allow nature to take its course.
Remember, it might feel like torture now, but soon all your pain will be worth it once you have your baby in your arms and officially enter the world of motherhood.