Swearing Can Help Curb Labor Pains -- F#$% Yeah!

woman man homebirth labor giving birthResearchers from Keele University in the UK have found that swearing can have a painkilling effect. The scientists believe the pain-reduction effect works because cursing triggers the body's physical ''fight or flight'' response that can amplify your tolerance to pain.

So if you're pregnant and emotionally anything like me (pain is bad, pain is bad, pain is bad), you might be thinking what I'm thinking. Could cursing help reduce the pain of labor and giving birth then? F#$% yes, say these new findings.

And lucky you, I have first-hand experience cussing while in labor. I cussed on that delivery table! Oh, how I cussed. I probably dropped my very best, most passionate F-bombs of my life in there. In fact, I give myself an A+ for delivery (of F-words). Read on to hear how labor and delivery swearing worked for me.


Bad news, sailor mouths. Cursing didn't help me a single bit during labor. My labor with my first son came on incredibly fast and furious -- maybe 7 hours total from first twinge of pain to my son's arrival. After several painless hours on the pitocin drip, labor pains finally kicked in hard and fast. I went from about 4 centimeters to 10 centimeters in less than 2 hours and was pushing. The L&D team screwed up and gave me the epidural during the Transition stage, which was gnarly to say the least, and to this day, I swear the anesthesiologist pocketed the drugs when I started wanting to push mid-epidural placement. Because the epidural never worked. Not one bit.

In any case, I tried many techniques to curb the pain, including breathing exercises, changing positions, as much as I could while hooked up to pitocin, squeezing the hell out of my husband's arm, and thinking about my "happy place" -- a total bullsh!t technique, which immediately led me to cursing. Happy place nothing! A giant head is moving slowly and painfully through my cervix! Bring on the fast and hard cursefest!

"F#$%! F#$%! F#$%! F#$%! F#$%!" I screamed with all my years of cursing might. But you know what? Swearing didn't help. So I stopped. Real fast. And trust me, at that point, if it had helped ease the pain even an inkling, I would have kept it up all night. However, when you're in the middle of labor, you instinctively know what's not worth your dwindling energy, and for me, cursing was that thing.

So if this new research out of England is true, why didn't cursing help me while in labor? Well, these British researchers also found that the study volunteers who weren't big swearers on a daily basis were four times more likely to see a boost in pain tolerance than habitual swearers. Hmmm. I guess you can figure out then that my mouth isn't too clean on a daily basis.

Maybe if you give up cursing now, you can bring it back in time to aid in your delivery! Of course, if you're already 8 or 9 months along and cursing daily -- sorry, potty mouth mama! I will, however, tell you the three secret words yelled over and over that helped me push my second son into the world: "GET!!! IT!!! OUT!!!"

Try them. They just might work for you. But if you're a Puritan mouth, I'd go straight for the big "F."

Do you think you'll curse during labor -- or have you in previous labors? Did it help?


Image via goldberg/Flickr

Read More >