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Robin Elise Weiss, LCCE

Go Ahead, Swear in Labor

By May 15, 2012

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Concentration in Labor

There are a lot of things that you could say in labor to help ease the pain. I spend some time in childbirth class telling my students that vocalization in labor is really good for helping to ease pain and feel "on top" of a contraction. In my practice as a doula, there are always some women who swear in labor. Usually you will hear a simple expletive here and there. According to a study, swearing may actually help increase your pain tolerance. So before you think you need to chant the F bomb to get any benefit, the good news is that any word that you choose as your swear word seems to work.

I know that in one of my labors I chanted the words "60 seconds" over and over. But I do know that with my 7th baby, she was in a funny position and it hurt a lot more than I had remembered and it was a fast labor. I said a choice word. I opened my eyes and looked up and thought, "Maybe I shouldn't say that word." Next contraction, said it again. Maybe it was working for me. Thankfully the baby was born a contraction or two later. Think it would work for you?

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Swearing as a response to pain. Stephens, Richard; Atkins, John; Kingston, Andrew NeuroReport. 20(12):1056-1060, August 5, 2009. doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e32832e64b1

Photo April's Grapevine Photography

July 13, 2009 at 3:04 pm
(1) Holly says:

During my pregnancy I really wanted to try to not be the woman in labour slugging her husband and swearing at everyone in the room, but obviously knew nothing what it was going to be like so went with it…I had an unmedicated home birth and concentrated on not swearing and being polite to everyone and it almost helped because I felt like I was “on top of things” as you say, because I had to concentrate on not swearing! Oh and the thing I chanted was “Oh, my, God!” during the pushing, not that I was swearing, but seriously calling out to God!!!! lol

July 13, 2009 at 3:24 pm
(2) pregnancy says:

See Holly, It’s so important that we each find our way and words in this case. This totally would have meant something different to another woman. They suspect that the words we put in these categories in OUR brains, bring forth the word from the opposite hemisphere than our speech, thus making it the pain reliever it appears to be. One thing is for certain, it can’t hurt, no risks attached and it’s easy to use. How is that for a pain reliever?

July 13, 2009 at 3:40 pm
(3) Holly says:

Cheap and easy, with no side effects! :)

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