Labor seen by women

What does it feel like during childbirth

How many times have they told us about travails and dramatic or absolutely simple parts? This is normal because there are several variables that affect the experience, for example the pain threshold, past experiences, the social and family context and, last but not least, the place where you give birth.


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In my experience of midwife of community I have seen many children born, in hospital and at home, every woman I met has used her own means to overcome the pain and every child that was born brought strong emotions in the parents and also in me. I still remember the first child I saw born, I, mom and dad, were crying for joy.

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And I remember the first I leave at home, the emotion of the protected and well-known place mixed with the fear that everything would go as it should go. But the midwife's emotions are all at the service of the woman and the child who is being born, and so let's try to understand how labor is described in its phases and how it is experienced by the real protagonists, women.

  • The first phase also called prodromi

that is when the contractions they are not very painful and quite far from each other, usually it is still at home and women describe the type of pain as cramps in the lower abdomen, premenstrual or menstrual type. Between contractions there is still time to rest and organize everything for the hospital or to notify the midwife if you have decided to give birth at home.


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  • Slowly the contractions begin to regularize

and become more painful, enough to be really tired in the break and need to rest. It is important that this rest time is respected to allow the body to recover energy. I have seen many different reactions to these contractions, some noting them as just annoying, some already pointing to them as incredible pain.

  • It is therefore time to go to the hospital

The pain usually moves to the back, in the lower back. It is described as a continuous pain, or as a renal colic or as if something was crushing the pelvis. Indeed, the baby is progressing in the birth canal so any of these sensations are possible. In this period, it is usually done thereepidural analgesia for those who have requested or want it.

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Also on the effect of the epidural I was able to see different reactions. The "strength" of analgesia depends on some factors, the depth to which it is done for example, but each of the women has a different perception of success or failure. Some say it is a relief and a blessing which allows you to experience labor more peacefully, while others feel pain or discomfort despite the anesthetic.

  • Expulsive period

But I have always found the greatest variability in way of dealing with the expulsive period, the final period when tissue contractions and dilation are maximal. Who speaks of an inner laceration, who instead speaks of a liberation and an almost ecstatic feeling after each push and even more so after the birth of the baby's head. The pain is certainly maximum and the desire to push and get rid of the weight too, by now the hair is emerging and very little is missing.

The most comfortable position for the birth of the baby you can decide freely, it is important to listen to the indications of those who assist the birth. It is normal to be afraid, it is normal to be tired or rather exhausted and any reaction to pain is absolutely acceptable. It can happen to feel the perineal area burn, some women count, others scream, still others shut up and remain focused on breath and thrust.

Read also: How to cope with labor: pushing and breathing

Each woman has her own way of reacting and none will be judged for how she expresses herself in the moment of greatest pain. I take the liberty of dedicating a few words to the reactions of partners present in delivery room. To some women it may seem that their partner is not present, not active, or almost aloof. Know that what most of them feel is the sense of uselessness.


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Seeing the woman they love to suffer, knowing that they cannot do anything or say anything is very annoying. You will probably see them melt into tears as soon as they see the baby, and it is a huge emotion.

As you will have understood, labor and childbirth are absolutely subjective events with sometimes very strong reactions and emotions, but never exaggerated. We must always keep in mind that the whole journey, all the pain experienced leads to immense joy: having the baby, expected for nine months, in your arms.

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