If this is your first baby you will undoubtedly feel apprehensive about labour, especially the pain. It is almost impossible to describe how the pain feels to another mum – for a start, every woman copes with pain differently and secondly, it isn’t like anything else you’ll have experienced before.

It can help to focus on the positive aspects of your pain. It sounds ridiculous but there are some good points: –

Contractions aren’t a constant pain. They come on steadily, peak and then die away. The build up and the peaking are the worst bits – as soon as the pain starts to loose intensity you will feel relief. It will also give you a chance to rest and get ready for the next one.

You know why you’re in pain – it sounds obvious but it makes a big difference. If you suddenly felt acute pain right now it would be very frightening. You couldn’t be sure what was causing it, you’d worry that there might be something serious wrong with you and you’d probably panic. Labour pains mean that your baby is on its way, you know roughly how long the pain will last and you’re prepared to deal with it. That puts you in control.

Generally speaking, the more it hurts the closer it is to being over.

After your baby is born, you’ll be really proud of how you coped and the pain you felt will be last thing on your mind as you hold your baby for the first time.

No pain, no gain! If ever this were true it’s during labour. This may well be the most painful experience you’ll ever have but it’s such a small price to pay for a happy healthy baby. You made this little person and it’s the best present you could ever give yourself. Look at all the women who go through it time and time again – they can’t all be mad!

Take a look at our factsheets below to learn more about some of the methods of pain relief available to you.