Contractions Worse Than Crowning

17 Replies
whatisgoingon - November 17

Im a first time mum-to-be, currently 34wks 4days pregnant. I am not scared of giving birth, just a little apprehensive/anxious about what to expect. As I have never been through it before, and there is only so much reading you can do. Not only that but everyone says each woman is different and has completely unique labour/birth experiences. The only aspect of giving birth I am semi-nervous about is the crowning phase.. I know the contractions is where the real effort and longest amount of pain lies, but that doesn't really bother me at this point. I am more curious as to what it feels like to have your va___a stretch that much for a babies head! I just can't get my mind around that concept! Does it really hurt, worse than the contractions? Or is the crowning phase a breeze typically compared to the contraction part of labour? Another quick question also is, when your babies head is coming down under your pubic bone can you feel that? As in actually realise that a head is slipping and pushing underneath that trying to come out? :) Thanks xo


jenna32 - November 17

i don't have experience either but i always hear/read that the head is the worst part and it feels like a really bad burning sensation down there,they call it "rim of fire" or guess is it hurts a lot more then the contractions,but it could vary from person to person.


whatisgoingon - November 17

I have heard about that expression "ring of fire" also. But also read that the nerve endings in your v____a can only stretch so much before they just become "numb". Which I can trust in, as when I lost my virginity it hurt a great deal but after a few minutes it just went "numb" to the sensations. I would really love to hear what the experienced mothers on here have to say in regard to it, it's all quite daunting and a tad scary.. :)


staci - November 17

hey! So here is my thoughts on this subject ;) Contractions really hurt, having to push and not being able to was pure torture! I had the urge to push (because of crowning of course ;) ) for 2 hours before they would let me because I wasn't dialated all the way, was only at a 8 or so. It was the worst feeling not being able to give in to that urge to push! I never noticed the head coming down under the pubic bone. When I got to push it was the best feeling ever! I mean really! So, crowning and contractions are totally different pains, but I gotta say the crowning and not being able to do anything about it (push) was the worst ever! Also once I started pushing (pure heaven!) I didn't feel anything down there, I'm a__suming because of the stretching and the fact that things do go numb down there aftter so much. Ok so I think I'm done lol!


josie4 - November 17

Let's see here... That's a hard question to answer. For me, pushing hurt. It felt like an Indian burn (if you've ever had someone do that to you) the whole time. Crowning burned pretty badly but it was quick and once his head was out it was pure relief. The midwife later told me he came out with his arm up by his head and that's why pushing hurt. I'd say over all I'd rather push than feel contractions. When I pushed, it burned, but it took away the pain of the contraction which was nice. They were VERY intense at that point.


DDT - November 17

Well it depends on what kind of drugs you will be getting. I got an epidural at 4cm dilated. Those contractions were PAINFUL. In fact so bad that I was throwing up. The worst of it was how tired I felt....It took me 12hrs to get from 0-4cm and they were 2-3mins apart right from the beginning. I felt exhausted and just couldn't handle it anymore. It felt like I was having one continous contraction. So, when was crowning it hurt but not as badly as the contractions pre-epi. It it a burning sensation...and because the cord was wrapped around his neck the doc had to push his fingers in there evern more. The relief once his head and shoulders were out was amazing though! I pushed for 2.5hrs.


DDT - November 17

BTW I tore 2nd degree internally and externally.


Erins Mom - November 17

Well, I had no drugs with Erin whatsoever and the labor was the easy part for me, crowning no one could have prepared me for that burning sensation. No part was numb on me! I felt everything, but it is quick (comparative to labor) and there is great, great relief when it is over. I had back labor and never felt the urge to push though, so maybe thats why that part was worse for me? With my first daughter who was premature at 26 weeks, I did feel her slip under my pubic bone, but with Erin I didn't. I think because with Rebecca it happened so quickly, but with Erin it was a gradual thing.


Nurs2b21 - November 17

Do you still feel the burning and all of this even with an epidural??


KRISTINA - November 17

I been wondering the same thing. WIth my first I started having contractions that were 2-5 minutes apart, but I wasnt dialating. SO I spent 24 hours at home with these HORRIBLE contractions that were so close together, you cant sleep through them, so you get really tired too. The next evening I was finally dialated enough to go to the hospital and then they gave me drugs and I got a little sleep and felt fine. I ended up having to have a c-section because my water had broke 24 hours before and I still wasnt at 10cm. So I often wondered if pushing was worse than those contractions, because the contractions were SO BAD!!!! So I think it depends on A if you have drugs, and B how long you have the contractions for before you start to labor. Because after you have been having them every 2 minutes or so for 24 hours you get to a breaking point. But if you only have bad contractions for an hour and then start to labor, they might not be that bad. Hope that all made sense :)


January - November 17

i had my lil girl 10 days ago and she was my 2nd. no pain meds with either. contractions hurt.. crowning doesnt.. for me anyway.. and like someone else said.. pushing is the best feeling ever at that point and such a relief. good luck to you.


Happymommy - November 18

I am going to have to agree with what a lot of the rest of the ladies have said. Contractions are the worst--I threw up from the pain. Once pushing started it was wonderful--pushing through contractions seems to kind of take the pain away. Crowning burns but it is not too bad, plus at that point you're almost there!


qdogs_navywife3 - November 18

Nurs2b21: I have had 3 babies with epis.... I could feel all of them coming down under the pelvic bone.... it felt like a weird urge to go to the bathroom. I knew it was time to push.... I never did feel any burning or any pain through the crowning process either. Good Luck


Nurs2b21 - November 18

navywife thanks for your response! I'm 38 weeks and ready for this birthing process to begin! When did you get your epi's? How dilated were you?


DDT - November 18

I had an epi and felt the burning during crowning. Maybe because I had my epi administered at 4:30pm and my ds only started crowning at about 10:45pm. In 6hrs can the epi start wearing off? because by the time I was getting my st_tches I felt them and they were a little ouch! I couldn't feel him moving down under my pelvic bone. I didn't feel 90% of my contractions after the epi and was often relying on the monitor next to me to know when to push.


qdogs_navywife3 - November 19

I often relyed on the monitor next to me for contractions too. I had no clue when I was having them. I got my first 2 epis around 4 cm but with my 3rd because I was induced I got it a 2cm when they broke my water. DDT: some hospitals turn the epi off when it is time to start pushing because the epi can make it hard on some women to push since they cant really feel anything. And by the time they start st_tching you up you should already have most of your feeling back.


falafal0 - November 20

I agree with a lot of what's been posted. I just had my fifth baby 7 days ago, and yes, for me, the contractions were worse. I guess if I had the pain of the crowning for as long as the contractions, then maybe it'd ben different, but considering crowning takes only minutes, it's no problem! As the baby's head comes out, you should be breathing through the contractions, letting the v____a and everything stretch. Even before the head is out actually, things are stretching to make way, so it's not like suddenly the opening is stretched or ripped (don't even like TYPING that! :-)) because the head is trying to come out suddenly. I've always felt a bad stinging, burning sensation, like other mums here, only lasts a short while, and like I think it was the best time of the labour because you knew it would be over shortly. Once the head it out, the body just comes with it basically. No burning there for me anyway. I remember feeling two of my babies head's come down under my pubic bone, with DD she dislocated it so I definitely felt that! So as your concern is with crowning, you should be fine.



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