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The Pa in of Labor

Do not let anyone tell you that labor does not hurt if you breathe and relax properly. You will want to hunt them down after having your baby! There are no 2 people who experience or feel the same thing. Everyone has different pain tolerances and reacts differently to stress and pain. Some women will have a very easy labor and tell you that labor was a breeze. Others will tell you that it was horrible. One thing that is known is that expecting or being fearful of the discomfort of labor will affect your response to labor and how well you cope. It is important to keep this experience as positive as possible. We associate pain with someone who is hurt or dying. Pain is a negative experience. You can overcome the pain experience by focusing on the outcome of your labor – your baby.

Prepared childbirth classes provide you with knowledge about the birth process and help you to understand the cause of labor pain. Your instructor will explain the feelings that you will experience and the impact these have on your perception of pain. In class you will receive the tools necessary for coping with the pain of labor so that you can focus on the positive aspects of labor. These tools and knowledge of the birth process give you the power to be in control of your labor.

Where Does The Pain Come From?

Pain is a very personal as well as a subjective experience. As with any other life situation, we learn about pain and our reaction to it from those around us and from our own individual experiences. Regardless of your tolerance for pain, you can learn constructive ways of coping. Your first step is to understand the causes of the pain you will experience in labor. This allows your body to work with your labor and not fight against it.

Factors that contribute to what you feel and experience in labor:

• The thinning out and dilation of the cervix.

• The pressure of the baby’s head as he moves down the birth canal. • Lactic acid build-up as the uterus contracts.

• The contracting uterus putting pressure on the bladder, rectum, fallopian tubes, ovaries and ligaments. • Size and position of baby.

• Stretching of the vagina and perineum.

• Personal beliefs and cultural conditioning in response to pain.

The Gift of Motherhood – your personal journey through prepared childbirth 54

Prepared childbirth classes provide you with knowledge about the birth process and help you to understand the cause of

labor pain.

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