pregnancy

"I asked a doctor if it was possible to give birth without pain and here's what he said."

Whenever I ask my mother how much childbirth hurts, out of 10, she laughs and then exclaims something unhelpful like ‘308’.

Oh.

I then ask if it’s sort of like very bad period pain, or a broken bone.

“No,” she says emphatically. “It’s probably as bad as pain gets…”

She then mutters something about how it was all “worth it” because she had ” beautiful babies,” which sounds made up but okay.

You see, I’d definitely like to have a baby one day. I just don’t want it to hurt. At all. 

So… is that an option? Can I just ask a doctor to knock me out, extract the baby, and then wake me up when we’re all done?

Please? 

Video by Mamamia

I decided to ask Dr Joseph Sgroi, a highly experienced obstetrician, fertility specialist and gynaecologist.

“If hypothetically,” I began, “I wanted to have a baby, but not feel any pain whatsoever, what would my options be?”.

Dr Sgroi explained that, “one of the best experiences women can have is to give birth to their child,” and if you’re seriously, very afraid of birth, then you might have something called tokophobia.

Tokophobia is the fear of pregnancy and childbirth, and some studies suggest that up to 22 percent of women have some form of it.

The phobia is particularly prevalent among women who have had a traumatic birth in the past, or women who have witnessed or heard birthing horror stories.

While it’s normal to be anxious about labour pains and the uncertainty of the process, if that fear begins to effect your daily life, and perhaps even your decision making, then it might be time to speak to a psychologist.

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But if you’ve seen a psychologist, and you are still afraid of the pain, then Dr Sgroi says there are a number of avenues to explore.

“No woman should be judged for the experience she chooses,” he said, explaining that some women are particularly fearful of undergoing a vaginal birth.

“Some women may choose to have a cesarean section. And that is totally and utterly reasonable,” Dr Sgroi said.

In such a case it would mean having a spinal anaesthetic, and Dr Sgroi is careful to acknowledge that there are risks associated with the process. Similarly, there are risks associated with a vaginal birth.

“Some women want to have a vaginal birth,” he continued, “but don’t want to experience pain.”

“One of the things we can do at the time of birth is an epidural. So, as soon as you go into labour, and as soon as a woman starts experiencing labour pains, there’s an epidural… in some cases women sleep throughout the labour, until they need to push.”

You can also, according to Dr Sgroi, have a known pain or analgesia requirement soon after birth.

Mmmm. That sounds nice.

In terms of feeling no pain, whatsoever, it’s probably not likely.

But knowing there are obstetricians who understand how terrified some women might be of childbirth, and are willing to give you all the options, sounds a whole lot better than simply accepting a pain rating of 308 out of 10.

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