Is crowning pushing baby out painful?

Answered by Robert Flynn

Crowning can be a painful and intense experience. As the baby’s head starts to emerge, it stretches the vaginal opening, causing a burning or stinging sensation commonly referred to as “the ring of fire.” This sensation is often described as one of the most intense moments during childbirth.

The pain experienced during crowning varies from person to person and can also depend on factors such as the size of the baby’s head and the speed of the delivery. Some women may find the pain more tolerable, while others may find it quite intense. It’s important to note that every woman’s experience with labor and delivery is unique.

When the baby’s head starts to crown, it is crucial to listen to your body and the guidance of your healthcare provider or birth attendant. It is common for the healthcare provider to advise you to stop pushing once you feel the burning sensation. This pause allows time for the perineum to stretch gradually, reducing the risk of tearing.

Taking a moment to stop pushing can be challenging, as the natural instinct may be to continue pushing to relieve the discomfort. However, it is important to follow the guidance provided by your healthcare provider, as pushing too forcefully or quickly can increase the likelihood of perineal tears or other complications.

During this pause in pushing, you may be encouraged to pant or perform shallow breathing techniques to help manage the pain and prevent rapid delivery. Your healthcare provider may also provide perineal support, applying gentle pressure to the area to help ease the baby’s head out and minimize tearing.

It is worth noting that while crowning can be painful, it is a temporary sensation that typically lasts only a short time until the baby’s head is fully born. Many women find that the pain quickly subsides once the head is out and the rest of the baby’s body follows more easily.

Remember, each woman’s experience with crowning and childbirth in general is unique, and pain perception can vary. It can be helpful to discuss your concerns and preferences with your healthcare provider during prenatal visits to ensure you feel well-informed and supported during this stage of labor.