Monday, July 11, 2011

Pain during Labor

I have often heard nurses tell women giving birth "they don't call it labor for no reason its hard work."

Indeed it is hard work but no different from many of the other extraordinary things women can accomplish.

If a woman could just trust her ability without someone telling her constantly she needed pain medication than it would never be in the back of her mind in the first place. It is the fear of the pain that makes women give up before she even starts. I am not saying the pain is the same but the effort, determination and hard work required is similar to other things women have done like climbing a mountain, painting a house, cleaning an entire yard.  Think about emergency situations, when car accidents happen, when someone is shot, the people who wait in the ER with a finger in a zip lock bag because of a freak accident. What about those situations? Where is the epidural then?

What often happens is that women do not trust their bodies in those moments that pain seems unmanageable. Its like many things in life that if you are afraid you may not succeed, chances are that you will not. 1/3 of the body's ability to heal depends on your thoughts.

When the pain is managed well, with the help of a Doula or other experienced support people than the focus of the labor is less on the pain and more on how to make the woman as comfortable as possible, practicing positive affirmations and staying in the comfort of your own home until it is really time to go to the hospital. You would be surprise to learn that labor pain is so different when it is natural not medically induced. The body does beautifully when trusted and when it is given its right and ability to birth on its own.

Looking back at your own experience what do you think helped managed your discomforts during labor?


  1. so true about nurses encouraging pain meds way too early... i alhamduliah had yusuf who weighed 9 lbs without an epidural... so when i went into labor with ibby the nurse came and basically assumed id be taking an epidural... the way she as...ked wasnt really a question... so i told her that i was gonna try to go without an epidural (this was still very early in the labor) since i had given birth to a 9lb baby without one and they were expecting ibby to be 4 lbs based on his age... and she flat out told me i was crazy! i was shocked! alhamduliah even tho i had to have a transfer of care from my midwife to an OB/GYN due to the prematurity, my midwife still stayed with me the entire time n was a big source of support and the delivery went very well alhamdulillah!See More

  2. Strange, because when I was in labor with sumayya the nurses were actually encouraging me to NOT take and epidural...they kept trying to tell me that I had been managing well for the last number of hours, I told them I was really bad with tolerating pain and they told me they thought I was underestimating myself and told me they thought I should try without the meds.

    This was at creditvalley. Also, during my time there there was a volunteer doula on duty and she was with me for a couple hours helping through contractions and coaching junaid on how to assist me, it was a wonderful experience over all, alhamdulillah.

  3. I was induced 2 times, because my baby was waaay past her date and decided she still didn't want to come out :) My husband was trying to be very supportive and telling me to breath, the way they taught him too at the prenatal classes for first time parents lol, but in between the pains, i screamed that he should stop and to please just put some quran on. While listening to the Quran, I was concentrating fully on the verses and it's meanings and that helped so much! It was better then any support I was getting from those around me, my mama was there, my hubby and the midwives, but nothing they said calmed me down like the words of Allah swt.

    About the epidural, I didn't take epidural until the end, after 2 nights of being in pain. The doctor was really understanding about my decision not to take it, but she consulted with my midwives about my situation and told them that unless I don't go into labour within an hour, I will likely be having a cesarean anyway. She told my husband that it would decrease the pain at least for an hour because it doesn't seem like my body can deliver this baby naturally.. so he read istikhara and told the doc to go ahead with the epidural, with my midwives assuring us that this was the only alternative at this point.

    This was in Trillium, and when I look back, I'm still very thankful that even though I ended up with an epidural and a cesarean, my doctor and midwives and I tried our utmost to have the delivery naturally. Part of being patient is realizing that not everything will go according to our plans, and even if we've tried our best for something, perhaps it was not the best thing for us. And whtever happens to us, is the best thing, because Allah swt is the best of planners.

  4. Jazakallah khair to all of you for sharing your own experiences.

    The main objective of this post was not to encourage natural birth but to encourage women to TRUST in their ability to give birth. For some women that can mean a natural birth and for others that can mean a medicated birth.

    This post serves as a reminder to give yourself a chance and push your fears aside. Do not convince yourself that you need medication or a csection rather focus on the fact that Allah has given you the strength and ability to do this. Think of the day to day examples where women push themselves in other areas of life and succeed.

    I was not implying that ALL nurses or Doctors encourage a medicated birth. Still given my experience and having seen a number of births, the nurses do not hold back in suggesting pain medications even if it is not in the birth plan. Given the statistics and birthing trends here in North America, staff is quick to offer and women are quick to take the epidural. Getting back to the point, the most important thing is for the Mother to be comfortable and informed in the decision and choices she makes. Let’s be totally honest here- an epidural or not, labor is still labor. It is still hard work and taking medication does not take away from the fact that you carried a baby for 9 months, had contractions and still have push it out!

    Aasiya, It is really frustrating feeling when you are not being heard. After all it is your labor and you should have a voice. I encourage all the moms I work with to be ready to be vocal with their birth plan in advance just to make sure everyone is clear on what Mom wants. I actually had a client who in her birth plan wrote not to even say the E word, lol!

    Zeena, about your experience with Credit Valley. I have done a few births there. I was with a mom who had decided In her birth plan to take the epidural and actually your right the nurses were encouraging and told her she was coping well and did not need it. However, this was simply due to the fact that she had not progressed enough and the Dr did not want her to take the medication too early. It is common to wait until active labor to get medication so that the mother is most comfortable during those contractions and well rested for the pushing stage. When the mother was progressed enough, regardless of the previous encouragement the medication was suggested and Mom took it. Yes, to be fair- there are nurses who encourage avoiding medications and interventions and Alhumdulillah you were so blessed to have them on your side.

    UmmH, your story touched me indeed. It is a great example of giving your body its due rightyou’re your birth plan a true chance Alhumdulillah. You have the satisfaction of knowing that you did everything you could. It’s a great feeling and regardless of the fact that your birth was not exactly how you planned. And Allah is the best of planners.

    Like all of you pointed out, each of your experience was different. That’s what is especially beautiful about birth- we can all connect and relate when it comes to Motherhood but we are all the heroes of our own story.


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