Pregnancy is a wonderful experience, yet for many couples it can be an anxious time leading into labor. A woman going into labor for the first time, may not know what to expect when entering the hospital. Not knowing what labor feels like and how intense the pain may become causes anxiety. So, what does labor feel like? In this post I share my labor experience to our expectant mom audience.
What Does Labor Feel Like?- Early Stage
Labor pains feel like cramps- only they pulsate and come and go. The night before you do go into labor you may have a stomach ache.
Labor pains are not very painful until you reach about 6 centimeters dilation.
You will want to go to the hospital as soon as the labor pains are too much to handle, or when they are about 7 minutes apart.
I went to the hospital when my contractions where 6 minutes apart and the nurse told me that my cervix was opened up to 7 centimeters- I gave birth a few hours later. Do not leave it any later to go to the hospital.
When you arrive at the hospital the nurses will probably make you walk the hallways to bring on the labor. They will check to see if your waters have broken- and possibly break your waters by accident when they do check!
At this point, the labor pains will become horrible. You will need an epidural as soon as possible. In my case the pain felt like I was being stabbed and the only thing I could think about was pain medication.
From here on, the labor will go very quickly and you will be ready to push (this still could take anywhere from a few hours to a few minutes).
You will feel a tremendous amount of pressure and you will feel like going to the bathroom.
There will be a LOT of blood. It will look as if somebody was murdered in the bathroom.
Do not be scared, this is completely normal. When your waters break there will be enough water to fill a bathtub a few inches deep- that’s a lot of water!
Do not be concerned about your waters breaking, most of the time it happens while you are sleeping.
Make sure to get the epidural as soon as possible. The medical staff will need to do blood work before you can have the epidural. They will hoist you up on the bed and make everybody leave the room.
You will hear crunching noises and have to remain 100% still during this time. If you move and they accidently hit something, you could possibly be paralyzed. Wait until the contraction has just ended to have the epidural. Hold on to the nurse when the next contraction hits, or you will be squirming all over the place.
What Does Labor Feel Like?- Pushing
The doctor and midwife will sit down below. One nurse will hold one foot and your boyfriend/ husband/ friend will hold the other. You will use them to push against.
As you feel a contraction intensify, you will need to push. Your doctor/midwife will guide you with when to push and when to hold off. You need to push hard, but don’t make the baby fly across the room!
The doctor/midwife will help guide the baby down and out.
Once your baby is out, the doctor or midwife will suck out the fluids from the mouth and nose and wipe the baby down. At this time the baby will be handed to you.
You can hold the baby for a few minutes and then it will have his/her footprints done in the room before being put into a large heating tub. This machine will have been brought into the room beforehand.
After labor and passing the placenta you will be taken back to your room. Your doctor will visit to check on you and your baby. He/she may press on your stomach as a check.
Most babies do not know how to latch on or drink from a bottle. Your nurse will help you.
The baby will most likely sleep most of the time, so you will want to catch up on sleep.
Do not feel as if you will break this little person, babies are very durable. Enjoy motherhood, it’s exciting! Millions of women have been through this natural process of childbirth.