Will I Swear During Labour?

In contrast to the births shown in movies, not all women swear during labour, in fact many become very quiet. In almost a trance-like state, some women silently progress through labour, and others hum loudly during contractions. Some women let out a low groan, and others swear like drunken sailors. Whatever you do, it’s fine, just do whatever helps you to feel comfortable and in control.

Some women report using words they’d never usually dream of saying aloud, and feeling quite embarrassed about it afterwards. There’s no need to feel embarrassed about your foul mouth, you won’t have been the first labouring woman to curse in front of the midwife – and you certainly won’t be the last. You can always apologise for your language at the end, if you’re feeling mortified.

You shouldn’t worry about swearing, humming, singing or anything else you might be doing during labour. You should focus on the task at hand, and do whatever feels natural. While some women may find silence helps them to focus on breathing through the contractions, others find that jumbling together a mix of expletives helps them feel more in control of the situation. Do whatever you need, after all, people probably aren’t going to start arguing with you while you’re in the throes of labour.

It’s unlikely to be your midwife who gets the brunt of your potty mouth; it will probably mostly be hurled at the dad-to-be. Again, you can always apologise afterwards. Although, if you’re lying with your legs in stirrups as the midwives check your tender area, you probably won’t be feeling too sorry for your husband or birthing partner as they sit on their comfy chair cuddling your new baby.

Scientists at Keele University found that swearing can actually have a painkilling effect, especially for people who don’t usually swear. Swearing accelerates the heart rate, mimicking aggression and triggering the “fight or flight” response. This natural response lessens perceived pain due to physiological changes taking place in the body. So there you go – now you have an excuse for calling your husband or birthing partner all those horrible names!

For most of my labour, I stayed quiet but I did let out a little swear word when my husband tried to take away the gas and air during the second stage of labour (what was he thinking?!). So, in answer to “Will I swear during labour?” – maybe, if it feels right to you!

Did you hum, moo, groan or hurl abuse? And, most importantly, did it help?

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.