“We have a secret in our culture…and it’s not that birth is painful. It’s that women are strong.”
- Laura Stavoe Harm
The pain that you go through during labor is different from any other type of pain you will ever experience in your life. Unlike other pain, labor pain is an indication that your body is working towards birthing your baby.
Baby movements, stretching of your ligaments, dilation of cervix, pressure of baby moving through the birth canal, uterine muscle pain are few of the physical factors that cause labor pain. Emotional factors that affect the perception of pain include but aren’t limited to fear, anxiety, lack of support, beliefs about your body and your ability to birth.
The environment you are in also adversely affects how you feel pain. Your beliefs regarding your body and birthing have a lot to do with how you will perceive pain during labor. When you’re in a safe and secure environment, your body helps you and your baby to cope with the sensations of birth and labor.
Following are some myths and realities about labor pain that will open up your eyes and help you see what’s real and what is not:
Reality: In a 24-hour labor, about 3 hours is actual contraction time. The remaining of your labor
is downtime. So, contractions are actually irregular with rest intervals.
Reality: There are a natural techniques and comfort measures that can help improve pain
perceptions, shorten labor and improve relaxation.
Reality: Labor starts slowly and intensifies gradually. Your body has the chance to adjust and
release comfort hormones to help with the pain.
Reality: Moaning and vocalization helps to reduce the sensation of pain. It softens the birth
passage by relaxing the perineal muscles.
Reality: Labor pain is a sign that your body is effectively working towards bringing your baby into
Reality: Inducing may be important to start labor for women whose pain is delayed or who might have
an early delivery. However, a caesarean section is not a natural conclusion.