Pain Tolerance: Know How Much You Can Take, And Have A Plan!

If you know what you're in for, labor won't be as stressful. Photo by hamletnc, Image by Decoded Pregnancy

If you know what you’re in for, labor won’t be as stressful. Photo by hamletnc, Image by Decoded Pregnancy

I learned back ┬áin nursing school that pain is the fifth vital sign – and that it is subjective. If we don’t address your pain, you won’t be a happy patient or a happy mom, so it’s best to know in advance what you’re going to do to take care of it. Labor hurts, so make sure you have a plan for your pain-management!

Ouch! Labor Stinks

How bad does it hurt, though? Childbirth pain is different for every mom, but your attitude (and your pain tolerance) will make a big difference. Know what you’re getting into before you go in, but don’t be afraid – millions of women (including your own mom) have been through this. It’s a natural process, so be prepared, but don’t be scared.

According to Birthsource, “Fear and tension increase pain sensations. Understanding and relaxation make the pain manageable. Knowing why your back hurts during labor, and knowing what to do to relieve the pain can make you a more powerful woman and ultimately, a more powerful mother.

Pain Changes

Each different stage of labor carries its own brand of pain. If you know what to expect, it is a little easier to deal with.

In early labor, contractions are mild or even moderate – which means they can hurt a little or just be uncomfortable – or even hurt a lot. It all depends on your own pain tolerance, and your level of comfort with the process – and how fast things are moving.


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During active labor, pain increases in intensity – if you’re planning on using pain medication, this is when you’re more likely to start asking for help.

Transition is when pain is the worst. If you’re planning on getting an epidural, and you’ve already started transition, it’s too late at this point.

The pushing phase isn’t as intensely painful – during this time, you’ll feel more pressure than anything else. You’ve made it through transition, so the worst bit is over.

Placenta delivery causes some mild crampy contractions, but you probably won’t notice – your baby’s here!

Click to Read Page Two: What’s the Plan?

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