Does Natural Birth Hurt Really Bad?

by ADMIN - Tracey Rose on July 27, 2012

does natural birth hurt

I am not going to lie about this one.

It’s different for every woman and every birth. (And yes, that even means different from your mother – who may have told you your birth with be long because all of her births were long – nope, not true!)

  • Some women will tell you in excruciating detail how it hurt like hell and they wanted to die.
  • While others will say, “yes it hurt, but it was worth it.”
  • Some may explain to you that “birth isn’t too bad.”
  • Then there’s a group of women who will tell you how they actually were pretty comfortable and perhaps even enjoyed their birth! … that’s me :)

My first natural birth did NOT hurt. In fact it was BLISSFUL. Every time I think of that day it fills me with joy and amazement of what our brains and bodies are capable of.

Does that mean I didn’t feel anything? NO, it means I felt sensations that were strange and wonderful, but I was not in pain.

My second natural birth hurt a bit, but not the kind of pain you might think. Imagine mild period pain. Like the type of pain where you want a hot water bottle on your tummy or maybe some panadol/advil. I think that’s pretty bearable and so I just didn’t bother with any medication.

I also know WHY I felt more uncomfortable in my second birth which I explain in more detail in my book: “How To LOVE Your Labour.”

Did I have comfortable births because I have a very high pain threshold?  No way! … I’m a big wuss and as a child would have a band-aid on everything.

So, just HOW do you have a comfortable and natural birth?

Most women I know who have had a comfortable and natural birth all had similarities in their preparation and support.

For many of these women, instead of asking each and every woman “Does Natural Birth Hurt Really Bad?” to get different stories and opinions, they focused on seeking out methods, support and ways to achieve and safe and natural birth for their baby.

They selected positive/natural birthing classes – CRUCIAL ELEMENT … (see the top of this website for methods such as Hypnobirthing, Calm birth, Gentle birth, the Bradley Method, Birth Boot Camp etc.)

They also read stories and watched videos of women who have already experienced comfortable births.

In fact, this strategy is very simple and you can apply it anywhere in your life.

Basically the premise is “If you want to achieve a goal. Find someone who’s done it already and copy what they do!”

It’s the same in birth. Find someone who’s had a comfortable birth already and do the type of preparation they did.

I have had two amazing natural births and here’s the basics of what I did:

  • I found a positive birthing course I liked and learned crucial techniques that helped me tap into natural hormones that acted as my “natural epidural.”
  • I asked my birth support people to come to classes too (my husband & my mum).
  • I booked into a hospital with a midwife program who were fairly “pro-natural birth.”
  • I practiced, practiced, practiced my breathing & visualisation exercises.
  • I did some exercises several times a week (yoga, swimming and walking).
  • I refused to read and listen to negative birth stories … only focusing on positive experiences.


I know it sounds simple, but really that’s it.

Can I guarantee you’ll have a comfortable or even pain free birth?

Nope! Sorry no can. Because the outcome relies on YOU.

The reason it doesn’t work out as planned sometimes is because we are trained by media and society to think about birth in a negative way.

Then the actions of certain people around us (who don’t really understand natural birth) can trigger physiological responses in our brains and bodies.

This fires off other hormones that actually hinder the natural birthing process making it more likely for us to need medical assistance.

It’s sad because this happens a lot and which is why many women find childbirth so uncomfortable.

BUT … the great thing is … now you are equipped with this information, you have the power to influence your own experience.

You CAN have a safe, comfortable and natural birth.

Go and take action now.

  1. Enrol in a positive natural childbirth course
  2. Practice, practice, practice
  3. Get supportive people around you

You and your baby are worth it!


Today’s question: What have you used or what do you plan on using to help make your birth more comfortable … Leave your comment below.


Tracey Rose is a journalist, natural childbirth educator and mother of two. Her story of safe, natural and pain-free birthing has inspired thousands of women all around the world to get educated about ALL the options in childbirth. Get your Top 6 Tips on how to experience the birth you’ve always dreamed of HERE.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa Vose July 28, 2012 at 6:01 pm

I absolutely agree that this shortlist is key! I had 2 natural VBAC births that were intense but not that painful. Sometimes, however, pain can indicate that ‘something’ is wrong. For example, my natural birth nutter friend had a very painful second birth (out of three), and her baby was born like Superman with one hand above his head! We figure that is why it was painful. Also, my sister had an extremely painful labor and as it turns out, his cord was so short as to be unheard of. It was only 3 inches long, and each time she had a contraction it pulled on that cord, pulling against her uterine wall and causing pain (also not allowing her baby’s head to give adequate counterpressure). She planned a homebirth and did lots of physical and mental preparation for birth.
Physical and mental preparation for ALL births is awesome, and should reduce the pain experience for all women. But it is not a guarantee of a less painful birth, so whenever I post about this I caution women against unrealistic expectations. Like when I did the hypnobirthing stuff and Mongan was like, “Painfree birth is possible, just follow my method!” I followed her method but I rolled my eyes at the pain free bit. I know it IS possible but if I had expected it to be pain free, I would have been supremely disappointed and at greater risk of dissatisfaction with my birth.

I feel for women like Savannah Farrell above, who wind up with PTSD and emotional trauma from their births. I would say to her that every birth is different, and it is entirely possible to have a healing, peaceful experience after having a prior painful and traumatic one. I would recommend professional counseling to cope with PTSD, and returning to your counselor a few more times while pregnant a second time, to re examine the parts that were traumatic and help you come to peace (it sounds like you are at peace now; I just meant that sometimes those traumas can reopen a bit when women get pregnant again). I also recommend going in with the goal of a natural, peaceful birth, well supported by a midwife and doula you connect with and who know the story of your first birth. Then, have a plan B. This gives your mind assurance that “peaceful” is the goal rather than “natural.” Plan that if the pain is too great, you will get pain relief. If you fear disturbance or interference, plan a birth center birth, a home birth, or to request another care provider during labor if necessary as a part of your plan B IF things go awry next time (teach your support people how to push for this if you ask for it). Having a back door/Plan B, etc, can make us remarkably more peaceful and even sometimes better able to handle Plan A!

My second birth was MUCH better than my first, and my third birth was even better than my second. With each birth I learned a few things that I would like to try and change the next time around, and I kept my expectations realistic. I treated it like a marathon; you prep, you practice, you mentally visualize yourself doing it, but you allow that some marathon runners fall down, break bones, have heart attacks, or even develop pneumonia the day before the race. They are still awesome.

The goal is peaceful, not perfect. Good luck <3


ADMIN - Tracey Rose July 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm

Great points Melissa … and I like your point about “The goal is peaceful, not perfect.” – I think it’s important that everyone’s version of peaceful or perfect is different. I know a women who’s main goal was a VBAC … she ended up having an epidural, but that’s awesome because even though her goal was for a natural birth, her main worry was that she didn’t want another cesarean … she got that and was grateful … XXX


Robyn July 28, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I had a natural birth 1st time around. i wanted to have a home birth but my daughter came 9 weeks early so I had to have her in the hospital but I did not get an epidural. for which I am profoundly thankful for. It actually wasn’t super painful. not so much that I couldn’t handle it and use the techniques that I had practiced and learned about. So when i was pregnant with my second child I thought oh this will be a piece of cake because my first one was good. My first one wasn’t very long. I labored for a while but I only pushed for a few minutes, like three or four pushes. My second labor was about as long but I pushed for a while. at least thats what my sister tells me because I can’t really remember how long I pushed. n-e-ways the second birth was A LOT more painful! I was handling the labor part of it alright but when it came time to the pushing…..oh man it felt like I was pushing for forever and it was painful! besides my midwife kept sticking her fingers up there to stretch me out so the baby could descend! So DID NOT feel good! Sorry this is so long, I do have a point. I, like savannah farrell am now kinda scared for my next one. I don’t want to do the typical hospital birth with the epidural and what not because that scared me MORE than natural labor does! I do not do needles. But I am also scared to try a natural labor again. I know my body knows what its doing. It was profoundly brought to my attention in my 2nd birth when my body basically took over the pushing part even though I was totally exhausted and it just said lets get this baby out! so I am kinda asking the same thing, how can I prepare myself to have an exhilarating birth with my third….when I actually do get pregnant. I have been waiting to get preggo because I am scared about the ending!


ADMIN - Tracey Rose July 29, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Thanks for sharing Robyn … you have some great experience in childbirth to learn from already, but remember every birth and baby is different, so focus on getting in touch with your body again – perhaps this time the ending will be the easiest part for you … XXX


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