1. "[Labour] is soooo different for everyone. For me, cramps in thighs, tummy ache, dizzy, vomiting. But still not 'the worst [pain] ever'. My broken foot was much more uncomfortable." Via, mousymouse
2. “With mine, I had pains in my lower back - nothing across my tummy. Definitely the worst pain of my life, but I coped ok with gas and air and breathing exercises.” Via, moogalicious
3. "Contractions were like a muscle spasm (similar to the ones you get when you have diarrhoea) but it built up to a peak and then faded away again. At the top of the peak it was almost unbearable and just as I thought I couldn't take any more it went away. It was a positive pain though as you know it will end and they will get closer together. I found that they only 'hurt' when I was frightened and tense and overwhelmed if I concentrated on keeping all my muscles relaxed - my jaw especially it wasn't too bad.It was also easier to deal with if I distracted myself, so I walked, watched TV and listened to music, rather than clock watching all the time (my labours were long - 22 and 19 hours each). Gas and Air was great for keeping my breathing calm as you can hear it more, plus it makes you woozy and floaty which is a great distraction!
It was definitely not the worst pain ever." Via, supergreenuk
4. “Different both times - the first time, the pain was intense in the small of my back, second time more like classic period cramps (only more so...). Both times I had a point where I felt panicked and overwhelmed - think this was probably 'transition'. Also, the pain really does go away in between contractions which I couldn't get my head round beforehand. I found TENS great, but I know others don't get on with it.” Via, RhinesoneCowgirl
5. “It started off very manageable, what I thought were Braxton hicks intensified and became more regular. It was uncomfortable but not painful. However, I don't know if it is because it was a back to back labour but I found the vaginal examination unbelievably painful it was torture and I'm ashamed to say I was crying and unable to let the midwife examine me properly. I couldn't get the hang of gas and air. I wasn't prepared for what happened when my waters broke. I expected the contractions to increase in pain but I didn't expect it to happen so suddenly. My contractions were very close together and with each contraction, I vomited. I was also tachycardic (sp) and I was advised to have an epidural. I had completely forgotten all the breathing and relaxation techniques learnt in hypnobirthing. It probably didn't help that I spent the first hour of full-blown labour on an antenatal ward without DH at night when the expectant mums were trying to sleep. The epidural took the pain away almost immediately and I stopped vomiting. However, it did slow the contractions down and I never got past 9cm so ended up with an emcs.” Via, thaigreencurry
6. “I didn't realise I was in labour for the first 2 hours then I only had 6 hours from then until DS popped into the world! I found it manageable - sore, of course, but I've broken bones and that hurt more. It felt like bad period pain with someone squeezing you round the middle at the same time- odd!! I guess a lot of it is your state of mind, too - focus on the fact that it's a means to an end, it's not pain due to illness or injury- it's got a purpose!” Via, bigredtractor
7. "I just closed my eyes and did what my body wanted to do. This included shouting, swearing, vomiting and moaning. The pain was a bit like the tummy ache you get when you eat something undercooked, like beefburgers. Gripping, cramping, rolling around on the bed kind of thing, but it was only really, really awful wailing pain when I was 8+cm dilated.” Via droopypoppies
8. “It does hurt but it comes and goes, I guess it depends entirely on your ability to deal with pain and that so-called pain threshold, mine is pretty high (I think!) For me, it was nowhere near as bad as gallstone pain (which made me want to curl up and die and sent me slightly potty) or the egg collection process during IVF (which was under pethidine). I found yoga type breathing very useful (having previous scoffed at it) so in through the nose and out through the mouth in a controlled slow fashion, through the pain, I did try a bit of shouting instead of controlled breathing but found that didn't help the pain at all so went back to the breathing. Vaginal exam in the early stages of labour was V painful, as was being stitched up afterwards, I have no recollection of any tearing. Caveat here is that I had a relatively short labour with a small (5lb 13oz) baby and an excellent (same) midwife for the whole time so that obviously helps.” Via, sdotg
9. “It doesn't always come and go. For me, it was one long continuous pain which was completely unbearable. I have since found out that this was because the baby was back to back. I am sure I would've dealt with it much better had the pain come and gone. As I couldn't feel separate contractions, I didn't realize I was in labour until I was 6 cm. I thought I had food poisoning which was what it felt like (including vomiting and diarrhoea- sorry TMI).” Via, Fredfred
10. “Pain for me was like very strong but intermittent period pains, strong enough to be all-consuming though in that I couldn't talk or do anything else during them. But I do try & make the most of them being intermittent, rest & breathe in between them & be thankful that I am one contraction nearer to the end. Transition just feels weird to me, not nice but inevitable if that makes sense.” Via, Thornykate
11. “I found labour more painful than anything I could have imagined, to be honest. Towards the end, the contractions came one on top of another for quite a while with no break in between. But with gas and air and concentrating on breathing I got through it without any other pain relief. It's weird though - your body copes because it has too and it knows what to do even if your brain doesn’t!” Via, BeeBopBunny
This article originally appeared on Women's Health.