Monday, May 28, 2012

Ask an OB: Holy leg pain, Batman!

"Ask an OB" is a weekly series with Dr. Maude "Molly" Guerin, MC, FACOG. If you have a question for her, please share it with us here. 

I experienced terrible, shooting pain down both of my legs during my labor. It was much worse than the pain of contractions. I had never heard of this before and it caught me totally off guard. Is this normal? Is there anything I can do to avoid leg pain in future labors? - Michigan Mom

Hard to say without more details on the shooting pain…. did it intensify with contractions or was it constant? Did it disappear at delivery or did it persist? Did it radiate up into your uterus, your lower back, or down into your calves? The nerves that carry pain sensations from the thighs and the uterus overlap, especially in later labor, and it sounds like your pain got worse as labor progressed. If it was constant (intensity between contractions just as severe as during contractions), then I suspect the baby was lying on some nerves. If the pain intensified during contractions and faded back a tiny bit between contractions, I suspect this was part of contraction (uterine) pain. 

 “Labor” is serious work and it really hurts. Is there a single woman out there who felt her FIRST labor was not as bad as she thought it would be? Personally I thought it was the most intense physical feeling I’d ever experienced. Eventually rewarding and exhilarating, but WAY more painful than I imagined. The good news is that subsequent labors are so easy you want to burst out laughing when it’s done. So don’t let a (first) painful labor stand in the way of another baby. I invariably tell first-time moms, “you never have to deliver your first baby again, the rest of your labors are your reward for the hard work you did today.”

You can read more about Dr. Maude "Molly" Guerin, MD, FACOG, right here

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