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  • Debilitating Menstrual Cramps vs. Labor

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    Old 03-30-2008, 02:51 PM   #1
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    Question Debilitating Menstrual Cramps vs. Labor

    I'm currently 'doing my research' about childbirth and pain management during labor, and I have an odd-ball question concerning menstrual cramps and how they compare to it. (Maybe it's a dumb question? I dunno.) I have no idea where my pain-tolerance-level ranks among the masses, but I often deal with severe menstrual cramps that are sharp vaginal and cervical oriented pain. They've been bad enough to cause nausea, dizziness, and of course I usually break a sweat. I've even had to go home sick from work before, and they render me exhausted. (My OB/GYN says it's normal, and I've noticed that they have improved some lately... they've only been that severe for about 6 or 7 months, and last only a couple days.)

    My curiosity is centered around how these compare to contractions/pain during childbirth - I'm wondering what I'm in for when I eventually have children, and whether or not I will want an epidural when that day comes. Anyone have any input on this?

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    Old 03-30-2008, 05:53 PM   #2
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    Re: Debilitating Menstrual Cramps vs. Labor

    well..I have had three deliveries.
    1) back labor..24 hours. The pain is bad, but not unbearable..I had a saddle block at the end because they were going to use forceps. and he had a big giant head.

    2) very fast labor, no pain medication...It was painful, but after the first labor, it felt so much better to get up and walk during labor. (they wouldn't let me with the first.) and I never got all foggy..I was awake and alert, and so was my new baby. I got her right away, and with the first one, I had to be in some cold recovery room for what seemed like hours., away from my baby.

    3) emergency c-section..He was 2 weeks early, had a bowell movement, and I wouldn't dialate..he was in distress. They put me comepletely out and did a diagonal incision. I can honestly say that this pain when I woke up was worse than any labor I had ever been through..I had a more difficult recovery also.

    The pain of labor begins like menstral cramps, but as in progresses, it becomes more acute, and you aren't focusing on the pain, you know the sooner you get it over with, the sooner you will be holding your new baby.
    and A few days after, you will have forgotten all about the pain.

    with all three of mine, I planned on having them natural, but I never ruled out pain medication if I needed it.

    You can never have a set-in-stone labor plan, mother nature will laugh in your face.

    and if it will make you more comfortable, by all means use pain management.

    hope this helps...sally

    Old 03-30-2008, 06:27 PM   #3
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    Re: Debilitating Menstrual Cramps vs. Labor

    I believe that from what I have felt myself, is that childbirth is likely worse than cramps. However, having said that, childbirth pains don't normally last for a couple of days. Really I think you're asking the wrong question here. I think that you need to be healthy before you even think of having children. I'm not a doctor but I disagree with yours. It's not normal to have pain that bad. I know the pain you are talking about because I was there also. I have had very bad cramps since I started getting my period and at times I have had them so bad that I have fainted, been dizzy, nausea's and vomiting from the pain.
    I really think that you should get a second opinion about your cramps. It isn't normal to have cramps that bad.
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    Old 03-30-2008, 09:12 PM   #4
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    Re: Debilitating Menstrual Cramps vs. Labor

    I had a natural birth in 2006. I also has severe painful cramps, nausea, vomiting and everything like you described due to periods. For giving birth, I deicided no drugs because the pain relief is not worth the side effects and risk of complications, and messing with the natural flow of hormones they can pose, in addtion our bodies are made to have babies and know what to do. The cramping in the beginning is very much like bad cramps, it comes for a bit and goes away for couple of minutes. It does intensify and become more frequent to the point it is unbearable. I pretty much went into my own world to deal with the pain and I used the birthing tub in my room at the hospital. I kept focusing on my goal of having a drug free birth when the pain was intense.....I also told everyone I knew that I didn't want drugs when I had my baby and also I told my midwife that I do not want drugs. I also focused on that sooner than later I could push and then I would be in the home stretch. Once I got to push I was okay because I knew I was close, although pushing took two hours and still hurts. The end result it worth it and I would do it again. It felt great to be able to get up on my own after I pushed my daughter out and move to another room and be able to bath myself in the morning a few hours later. My midwife have me a homemade herbal pack she makes to help myself middle area heal. It was an AWESOME experience. You have to have real determination to have a natural birth. I believe if you are open to drugs you are likely to use them. It is one of two moments in my life that I was truely never more proud of myself.

    Last edited by AlexaIn2006; 03-30-2008 at 09:15 PM.

    Old 03-30-2008, 10:10 PM   #5
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    Re: Debilitating Menstrual Cramps vs. Labor

    First, I agree that periods that are that painful, can mean you could have endometriosis, which is treatable by a good GYN. I think you should have that checked out.

    Second, I had both of my children the natural way. No meds, no epidurals, etc. I did attend Lamaze classes before the first and they really were beneficial. I've known some women who have had very little pain during labor and some who have had horrible pain. In my opinion, by the time you get to the point where an epi can be done, you will know if you want one or not.
    So much depends on a person's pain threshold, how long the labor lasts and the actual severity of the labor itself.

    Third, When the time comes and you really want a child, whichever method you choose, will be worth every bit of it. I will say though, the older you are when you have your first, the more likely you'll want an epidural. Our tolerance to pain is not as strong as we get older.

    Good luck with your research. I wouldn't worry too much about the childbirth just yet, but I do think you should see an OB/GYN about your painful periods. If it was an OB/GYN that told you it was normal, see a different one.

    Old 03-30-2008, 10:27 PM   #6
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    Re: Debilitating Menstrual Cramps vs. Labor

    Hey, I know what you mean about bad cramps, I used to have terrible pain due to my period.

    I remember thinking, with my first child, "This is it? This is the pain?" in the beginning stages. Compared to my period pains, it was nothing I couldn't handle. But... it does get worse, and after 31 hours of it I opted for the epidural. I never entered into childbirth completely opposed to getting an epidural, so it really wasn't that big of a decision for me. I was confident after researching and talking to my doctor.. that if I needed it, the epidural would be safe for me and my baby. Once I decided to get and recieved the epidural... I fell fast asleep for 2 and a half hours until they woke me up and told me to push. I didn't feel any pain at all... the epidural was still in full effect when he was born (which was okay by me.. that was the pain I really feared).

    My second child went about the same... only I got the epidural 18 hours into labor.

    My third ... I didn't get the epidural. I went faster, I was only in labor for 12 hours and my dr was sort of a ding dong (and mean too) and figured I didn't need it. Anyway, there was a point when I didn't think I could do it... but of course I could, and of course I did.... even if I didn't want to. And it's true what people say... after you have your baby in your arms the memory of the pain fades.

    My fourth was a scheduled c-section (she was breech). Recovery was a nightmare. I'd honestly say, for anyone fearing pain.... c-section is NOT the way to avoid it. For anyone's who's had to have repeat c-sections... my heart goes out to you, that's a very rough recovery.


    Old 04-01-2008, 02:30 PM   #7
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    Re: Debilitating Menstrual Cramps vs. Labor

    Thanks for all of the helpful information! It's exactly what I was hoping for. (I can find all of the clinical information about medication and whatnot elsewhere, but there's no substitute for a person's opinion from experience.) Educating myself about things like this is something I like to do long before I get to that point in my life, since it helps me control my anxiety. (The more prepared I am mentally the less I am likely to panic about something.) Having children will probably happen somewhere between 5 and 10 years from now for me, and I know that time will fly by more quickly than I think it's going to.

    I'm still sort of playing it by ear regarding my cramps - I go to the doctor for an unrelated test soon, so if they're still severe I will be asking her about it. I have noticed a massive improvement since trying birth control pills in January though. I'm no longer on that prescription for emotional reasons, but I've experience a marked decrease in pain since that time.

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