Pain, Suffering and Comfort in Labor

Many women, especially those about to face their first labor and birth experience, have some concerns about what it’s all going to feel like… specifically: How much is it going to hurt? Will I be able to tolerate the pains of labor? And what can I do to make it easier??

Answers to the first two questions will vary for each person, but I think that the answer to #3 is that, hands down, the best way to make it all easier is to be as prepared as you can be and be free to move around to use different positions.

No one wants a woman to suffer her way through labor and birth. That is not necessary and not productive. Good preparation can go a loooooong way to prevent any suffering.

Here is a great (free!) PDF for both pregnant women and their partners to read as you prepare for this amazing process:

Comfort in Labor: How You Can Help Yourself to a Normal Satisfying Childbirth by Penny Simkin 

Penny Simkin, the internationally recognized leader in childbirth education and labor support, shares her wisdom with women, including comfort measures, effective positions, and tips for partners and doulas.

Topics include Setting the Stage for Maximum Comfort in Labor, How to Use Comfort Measures to Manage Pain and Prevent Suffering, Tips for Birth Partners and Things to Consider About Medications for Labor Pain Relief.


To go along with this, below is Penny Simkin in a short video on Pain Versus Suffering in Labor. I think my favorite quote in this piece is this:

The pain of labor is a side effect of the normal process and it’s nothing to fear.


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