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8 Things That Hurt Worse Than Childbirth

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Updated May 20, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

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You've heard that labor hurts, right?
Couple in Labor Holding Hands
Photo © Brand X/Getty Images
There are plenty of things that pregnant women admit that they do not know about pregnancy. They might not be sure when they will feel their baby move, when prenatal care moves to every week or even when their belly will show, but there is one thing that almost every pregnant woman believes that she knows for sure: Childbirth is the worst pain you could ever feel.

You don’t have to look too far to find some reasons why this is believed. Every reality television show about labor and birth is quick to highlight the images of women, typically writhing in pain, during labor. Certainly this makes for great TV, so why wouldn’t they show it.

Now before you think I’m completely out of touch, I think there is pain in childbirth. Having had eight children, I’ve certainly been around the block myself once or twice. I’ve had short labors, long (45+ hours) labors. I’ve had an epidural and I’ve had a natural birth. I’ve had forceps. One of my births was twins, weighing in at a combo of almost sixteen pounds. My biggest baby was 10 pounds 2 ounces. This doesn’t include all of the various labors I’ve attended as a doula.

My point here is that there are things that do hurt more than having a baby. When I asked some women recently what they thought hurt worse than giving birth, here is what they came up with:


  • Broken Bones
    More than one person when asked about what hurts more than labor mentioned this as more painful. One person mentioned a broken ankle specifically. The only bone I’ve really ever broken was my clavicle and it certainly hurt a lot. It effected my ability to move my arm, my shoulder and even turn my head. It lasted a lot longer than even my longest labor. I would think that something like a broken ankle would be even worse, given the wear and tear of having to use crutches.
  • Migraine Headache
    Migraines also topped the list of a couple of respondents. Having a migraine can last for days. Many sufferers report that the pain is unrelenting. There are also symptoms that come with a migraine like nausea, vomiting, light sensitivity, etc. This can make your normal activities nearly impossible to complete.
  • Kidney Stones
    These were mentioned as well. Kidney stones have to be passed. I did have a friend who had experienced both childbirth and kidney stones. She swore up and down that childbirth was easier than the kidney stones. Though I’ve also heard others say it’s about equal, stating that, “Kidney stones are as close as a man can come to giving birth.”
  • Gallstones
    Gallstones can also cause quite a bit of pain. While there are pain medications and nutritional avoidance of offending foods, this can plague you for a long time or come in waves of attacks. The moms who listed this said they’d be doubled over and nothing would really touch the pain.
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  5. Pain Relief in Labor
  6. 8 Things That Hurt Worse Than Childbirth

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