Every mom you’ll ever meet will probably have a battle story to tell and battle scars to show from the days of their pregnancy and delivery. They can tell you how things unfolded in great detail, including the details about their labor contractions down to the minute. But moms aren’t the only ones who go through labor — babies do, too. And while a mom’s feelings are well documented, it might be interesting to know how labor is for a baby. What does a baby feel during labor?
It’s a bit difficult to know exactly what or how a baby feels during labor contractions, because, well, they can’t really tell you. "There is no real way to know exactly what a baby is experiencing during labor, because none of us remember," says Dr. Eva Martin, founder of Elm Tree Medical in an email interview with Romper.
So while babies can’t provide a detailed memoir about their feelings in utero, doctors and midwives can guess at what babies are physically going through. According to The National, during early labor, your baby’s head will press into the birth canal, which will begin the process of cervical dilation. When the contractions get stronger, the article further explained, your baby might feel some pressure and get slightly less oxygen, which is a completely normal process of labor.
Your baby might even stop to take a nap during labor, explained Parents, but as your contractions get stronger, your baby will begin to push, twist, and turn to get through to the other side. The article further noted that babies may open their eyes, and even though they are known to be able to hear in the womb, there’s no way to tell what they see and hear during labor.
What will your baby feel if you’re having a C-section? Parents explained that if your baby isn’t being squeezed through the birth canal, they might have faster or shallower breathing because they don’t go through the squeezing during labor that expels liquid from their lungs. They may also look rounder and less "smushed" than a baby that is delivered vaginally.
Other than the pressure babies might feel, along with their different breathing and heart rate pattern, there is no way to really know what they actually feel. But even if babies can’t give you their side of the story, when they are old enough, you can still tell them yours.