What Does Childbirth Really Feel Like?

If you’re pregnant for the first time, you’ve probably spent a lot of time wondering what giving birth really feels like. I know I did! I was adamant that I needed to find “the answer” so I knew what to expect. Deep down, this was because my biggest fear about birth was not being able to handle the pain. I, like many women grew scared of what was to come. I managed to overcome my fears by taking a hypnobirthing course, learning the facts about how my body was able to give birth and this gave me a sense of comfort in knowing that I did in fact have the power to birth my baby.

So what does it all really feel like?

The truth is, every person will experience birth differently and if you have read the stories that women share, they range from those who found the pain unbearable to those who said they felt able to enjoy it. Some love it so much, they go onto have more children just because the experience of childbirth is so alluring! So, a good message here is – don’t focus too much on how it was for others. Just plan and learn how to make it manageable for you, learn about your own innate abilities and empower yourself with knowledge so that when the time comes, you enter the birth room in a position of confidence rather than fear. Now let’s look at how each stage of labour may feel…

Pregnant_woman_practising_hypnobirthing_relaxation

In early labour

You might have Braxton Hicks weeks before your body goes into labour. Braxton Hicks are just practice contractions as your body prepares for labour. You probably won’t even feel these contractions however if you do and if they start to become more intense, be sure to contact your midwife or local hospital as you could be in labour.

When labour does actually start, you might experience a feeling of intensity as your contractions build. It can feel like your bump is tightening, or crampy period pains.

You may have pain in your lower back, or around the base of your bump.

Your contractions are likely to be sporadic and you are likely to be able to talk through them. This period of labour could even feel quite exciting as you know you are going to meet your baby – and soon!

As labour progresses

As your contractions continue to increase you might be overcome by them - not as if you can’t handle them, just that you might not be able to talk through them anymore. Many women say that, although the pain can build and build like a huge wave, it then recedes and you have some moments to recover and that helps. During this stage of labour, it’s important to continue breathing and moving intuitively through every contraction. And remember, every contraction is taking you one step close to meeting your baby.

pregnant_woman_holding_baby_bump

As your baby is born

When your cervix has fully dilated and your baby starts to move down your birth canal, you may feel an intense pressure because your baby’s head is pressing against your gastrointestinal tract. This is when you might poo as your baby’s head pushes hard against the rectum. You may feel intense pressure and an uncontrollable urge to push as your uterus muscles push your baby out and down through the birth canal.

As your baby crowns, you might feel a burn as your perennial muscles spread open. This is totally normal and the reason we feel this – so you can be altered to the fact that your baby’s head has been born and they will be out very soon.

After the birth

Take it from me - once your baby is born, any pain you might have encountered during labour is likely to vanish and be replaced by the miracle of holding your beautiful baby. Eventually, you might remember you were in pain but you’ll probably not remember exactly what it was like. This is because our endorphins remove the memory.

I really like this quote that a woman shared on the internet:

“I actually can't remember in what way it was painful, just that it was very, very painful and required my intense concentration the whole time to deal with it. However, I did cope and used TENS, gas and air, active labouring positions, shouting "aaaaahhh" a lot and generally focussing. And I got through it. It is possible to cope with it.”

How hypnobirthing can help

Don’t forget that the right birth environment will help to trigger lots of oxytocin to facilitate your labour, and plenty of endorphins to block out the pain. In fact, endorphins are 10 times more powerful than morphine!

There are so many ways to stay in control of how you feel during labour, including knowing your options, understanding your hormones, and practising hypnobirthing. Happily, there’s insight into all of this on the butterbean blog. Be sure to keep reading!

Don’t forget, all of the tools you need are within the butterbean website. Head to the ‘prepare my mind’ page to unlock all of the tips and tricks to make your labour as positive as possible.

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth is another great resource to dive into ahead of labour.

For more free guidance and support head over to the butterbean YouTube Channel.

 

child-birth-fea-img

What Does Childbirth Really Feel Like?

child-birth-fea-img

If you’re pregnant for the first time, you’ve probably spent a lot of time wondering what giving birth really feels like. I know I did! I was adamant that I needed to find “the answer” so I knew what to expect. Deep down, this was because my biggest fear about birth was not being able to handle the pain. I, like many women grew scared of what was to come. I managed to overcome my fears by taking a hypnobirthing course, learning the facts about how my body was able to give birth and this gave me a sense of comfort in knowing that I did in fact have the power to birth my baby.

So what does it all really feel like?

The truth is, every person will experience birth differently and if you have read the stories that women share, they range from those who found the pain unbearable to those who said they felt able to enjoy it. Some love it so much, they go onto have more children just because the experience of childbirth is so alluring! So, a good message here is – don’t focus too much on how it was for others. Just plan and learn how to make it manageable for you, learn about your own innate abilities and empower yourself with knowledge so that when the time comes, you enter the birth room in a position of confidence rather than fear. Now let’s look at how each stage of labour may feel…

Pregnant_woman_practising_hypnobirthing_relaxation

In early labour

You might have Braxton Hicks weeks before your body goes into labour. Braxton Hicks are just practice contractions as your body prepares for labour. You probably won’t even feel these contractions however if you do and if they start to become more intense, be sure to contact your midwife or local hospital as you could be in labour.

When labour does actually start, you might experience a feeling of intensity as your contractions build. It can feel like your bump is tightening, or crampy period pains.

You may have pain in your lower back, or around the base of your bump.

Your contractions are likely to be sporadic and you are likely to be able to talk through them. This period of labour could even feel quite exciting as you know you are going to meet your baby – and soon!

As labour progresses

As your contractions continue to increase you might be overcome by them - not as if you can’t handle them, just that you might not be able to talk through them anymore. Many women say that, although the pain can build and build like a huge wave, it then recedes and you have some moments to recover and that helps. During this stage of labour, it’s important to continue breathing and moving intuitively through every contraction. And remember, every contraction is taking you one step close to meeting your baby.

As your baby is born

When your cervix has fully dilated and your baby starts to move down your birth canal, you may feel an intense pressure because your baby’s head is pressing against your gastrointestinal tract. This is when you might poo as your baby’s head pushes hard against the rectum. You may feel intense pressure and an uncontrollable urge to push as your uterus muscles push your baby out and down through the birth canal.

As your baby crowns, you might feel a burn as your perennial muscles spread open. This is totally normal and the reason we feel this – so you can be altered to the fact that your baby’s head has been born and they will be out very soon.

pregnant_woman_holding_baby_bump

After the birth

Take it from me - once your baby is born, any pain you might have encountered during labour is likely to vanish and be replaced by the miracle of holding your beautiful baby. Eventually, you might remember you were in pain but you’ll probably not remember exactly what it was like. This is because our endorphins remove the memory.

I really like this quote that a woman shared on the internet:

“I actually can't remember in what way it was painful, just that it was very, very painful and required my intense concentration the whole time to deal with it. However, I did cope and used TENS, gas and air, active labouring positions, shouting "aaaaahhh" a lot and generally focussing. And I got through it. It is possible to cope with it.”

How hypnobirthing can help

Don’t forget that the right birth environment will help to trigger lots of oxytocin to facilitate your labour, and plenty of endorphins to block out the pain. In fact, endorphins are 10 times more powerful than morphine!

There are so many ways to stay in control of how you feel during labour, including knowing your options, understanding your hormones, and practising hypnobirthing. Happily, there’s insight into all of this on the butterbean blog. Be sure to keep reading!

Don’t forget, all of the tools you need are within the butterbean website. Head to the ‘prepare my mind’ page to unlock all of the tips and tricks to make your labour as positive as possible.

Ina May's Guide to Childbirth is another great resource to dive into ahead of labour.

For more free guidance and support head over to the butterbean YouTube Channel.