Does childbirth hurt? Facts and Myths about Childbirth
Pregnancy and childbirthPreparations
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Does childbirth hurt? Facts and Myths about Childbirth

Pregnant women are often very afraid of childbirth. Especially because there are many myths about it. Does it hurt a lot? How does it really look like?

When two magic lines appear on a pregnancy test, many expectant mothers are filled with a lot of positive emotions. With time, however, comes a lot of questions and concerns about the yet unborn baby. There is no denying that at the end of pregnancy most mums-to-be are very scared not only of how their life will change in a few months, but also of the birth itself. Does giving birth hurt a lot? Are there any anesthetics? These are some of the questions that bother pregnant women

Childbirth – what should you know about it?

You should know that, up to four weeks before your baby is born, you may experience irregular preliminary contractions, usually in the evening. Some women fear that this is a sign that labour is about to start. But these contractions are much softer and are the uterus’ reaction to being stretched

Only when they become really strong, frequent, regular and longer, it is a sign that the baby wants to be born. A sign of impending labour is also the discharge of amniotic fluid and mucus (thick mucus that is often slightly coloured with blood). Sometimes, chills and diarrhea also occur. If any of these symptoms appear, you should go to the hospital immediately

What can we compare labour pain to?

Before giving birth, women would like to be at least a little bit prepared for the pain that awaits them. Unfortunately, when they ask questions about it, they often hear answers from other mothers, that “it hurts, but you can live through it”, or “it hurts, but you don’t remember this pain” etc. Such information is certainly not helpful for them. Such information certainly does not help them to get rid of the anxiety before the birth of their offspring

The pain of childbirth is caused by stretching of muscles, contractions and compression of nerves in the lumbar spine. Doctors say it is comparable to that which accompanies an attack of renal colic or the birth of a kidney stone

How childbirth goes depends on many factors. According to experts, the attitude of the woman giving birth and her preparations are of great importance (it is worth going to a birthing school and practicing breathing and pushing, thanks to which the birth may go much more smoothly and less painful later on). At the beginning of labour it may hurt mainly in the abdomen or the sacrum – sometimes both. It is good to know that the location can change e.g. when you change positions. That is why you should position yourself in such a way that the pain is as little as possible. When it comes to the moment when the baby’s head presses on the perineum, usually the woman feels burning, spreading and stabbing

However, it is important to know that pain during labor is not continuous – it comes with the contractions. During labour you may be given an epidural injection, which will undoubtedly ease the pain. Also a close person can help, usually your partner who accompanies you, supports you and holds your hand. It is worth knowing that midwives even encourage mothers-to-be to scream, because it relaxes the body and makes everything more bearable

Myths about childbirth

The biggest myth circulating on the web about giving birth is that the pain is unbearable. If it really was so, women would not decide to have more children. It is also untrue that it can be compared to breaking bones

Some women are convinced that during the birth of a baby they lie still, like in the movies – this is another myth. In fact, a woman should squat, stand up, turn around and assume the position in which she is most comfortable

Untrue information is also the one, which says that the length of childbirth is influenced by the waist circumference. Sometimes women who are very slim give birth in a moment, and those who are a little bigger – a dozen or so hours. It is impossible to say how long the birth will last from the external dimensions of a woman

It is often said that “if your mother had a difficult birth – you will have one too”. This is also not true, there is no scientific evidence that how the birth of a child depends on genes

Main photo: Jonathan Borba, source:

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