If you are due to give birth soon, you will probably be wondering ‘what does giving birth feel like’. You’ll have watched countless TV shows and seen the drama that comes with childbirth. I can assure you, it’s rarely like you see on TV. It’s not that sudden, it’s rarely that quick and you’ll not often be walking around looking fabulous the next day (unfortunately), having ‘drinks with the girls’. It’s also not always as painful as they portray (depending on circumstances).
Labour and birth is indeed painful, but as I was experiencing the childbirth (the bit I assumed would make me scream ‘Holy mother of God’ at the top of my lungs) it was nowhere near as horrendous as I assumed. The contractions I felt, were far more painful (but still not in the sense the TV shows them to be).
When they send in the shouty, matron style midwife (for some gentle encouragement) and you’re asked (forced) to ‘push’ you will feel an immense pressure build up. You will naturally feel yourself needing to push. All of a sudden your body naturally tenses in a way that makes you feel like you need ‘the toilet’, so you won’t be able to stop yourself and you’ll be pushing into this pressure.
As the baby slowly travels towards the exit you will feel a slight burning, along with the pressure. Once the baby is crowning, all you will feel is burning. I can’t think of a better way to describe the pain, it’s a burn, as if you had a really bad urinary tract infection.
Once the head is out, you’ll be working on the shoulders, this will also burn. Once you’ve done the amazing job of pushing the shoulders out, the rest is plain sailing and you’ll have your baby in your arms instantly. As soon as the baby has safely arrived, I can promise, you will not feel any pain whatsoever. I know this is commonly said amongst mums, but it’s said because it’s true. All of the hard work is done and you should feel immensely proud of yourself.
The only pain that will be to follow, is when you get your internal examination (I advise using gas and air for this, the examination with our first child wasn’t too painful as the midwife was gentle, the second time was extremely unpleasant and even my partner almost shed a tear at seeing my reaction, so gas and air really will take the edge off, just in case), the other pain will be ‘tightening’s’ of your uterus, where it is slowly retracting back to it’s usual size, this feels exactly like contractions in a milder form (it sometimes feels like another baby is on the way).
Just remember, if you’re nervous, that the worst you’ll feel is a strong burning sensation.
Of course, all of this is provided that there isn’t any medical intervention. Keep calm and good luck!