Can you describe what childbirth feels like? These mums are having a go

Can you describe what childbirth feels like? These mums are having a go
Can you describe what childbirth feels like? These mums are having a go Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

"It kind of feels like a bad period".

That's how a friend described the pain of childbirth to me when I was 117 weeks pregnant (okay 37 weeks but it felt like 117). But when I was induced and those contractions went from 0 -100 in about five minutes, they felt nothing like period pain.

Not. A. Thing.

And yet, if I had to describe what the pain of labour felt like, I'm not sure I could. Is it even possible? Can words do it justice? 

That's the question a group of Mumsnet mums have been trying to answer over the past few days - and their responses are hilarious and oh-so true. (Note: If you're expecting you might want to stop reading here. Or at least ensure you're hooked up to an epidural.)

"My sister-in-law is trying for a baby," MamaBear posted in the parenting forum. "She asked how painful it is. I told her there is no way to describe it.  She said it must feel like something. I can't think of anything that explains the feeling."

While mums were united in their agreement that IT HURT, from there, explanations of the pain they experienced during labour differed wildly.

"Apparently doctors say it's equivalent to the pain of an amputation (without an anaesthetic of course.) So best not tell her that," wrote one mum. "If anyone asks me I just say 'take the drugs'".

"No one would've invented the epidural if it was like being licked by kittens," said another.


"It's like really really bad trapped wind," said one mum. "I suffer with trapped wind and I have had five children. I think the pain is very similar. I have been on my knees with trapped wind. So times that pain a few times and I think you get close."

Another felt it was more akin to having a vacuum up your nether regions. "Like someone sticking an industrial powered hoover up your arse, and switching it on and off at increasing close intervals," she said.

Many mums admitted that they felt they were going to die - or that they wanted to.

"I remember thinking I was dying, but that I was in so much pain I didn't care," one mum said.

"Sometimes it's not so bad, other times it's so bad you wish for death to take you," added another.

One mum described that she just felt "a bit constipated", while another said her experience was like "being disembowelled."

Mercifully, one woman's advice was framed in a more optimistic manner. "Tell her it's painful but plenty of women elect to do it more than once," she said.

But while recollections of the pain may have different substantially, all mums agreed on one very important thing: holding your baby for the first time made it all worthwhile.