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Does inducing labor cause the contractions to be more painful?

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I have read that inducing labor causes the contractions to be more painful.

Does anyone have any experiences with inductions vs. natural labor? 

Note:  I was induced with Baby #1 and not sure the route we are going to take with Baby #2.

I found this article to be interesting:


Are Inductions more painful?
What every mother should know about the pain of inductions before they have one.

While inductions are convenient and allow mothers to select the provider for their birth, inductions are notorious for causing very strong and powerful contractions.

Here are several reasons why birth experts believe that inductions may indeed hurt more than contractions from spontaneous labor.

  • Monitors are uncomfortable - Because the use of pitocin for inductions can cause strong contractions, which in turn can affect the baby's heart rate, mothers are required to have continuous electronic fetal monitoring (EFM).
  • Contractions are closer and more intense sooner - Though there is no research per se that contractions themselves are actually more painful using pitocin, mothers who are induced often report that intense labor occurs much earlier than in normal labor. Pitocin causes contractions to be unnaturally close to each other. Not having enough rest in between contractions can make labor feel more painful. Intense contractions also occur much earlier for mothers being induced, sometimes even before her cervix is significantly dilated.
  • Pitocin is not initiated by the pituitary gland - Another fascinating fact about the mother's own production of oxytocin is that it is secreted by the pituitary gland to stimulate contractions during normal labor. Oxytocin lowers the stress hormones and blood pressure as well as increases the mother's ability to manage pain.  Pitocin that is used in inductions comes directly into the mother's bloodstream from an IV and does not cross the same blood-brain barrier as her body's own oxytocin does. Therefore, pitocin does not provide the same sense of well-being or give her the same help in managing pain.  Because the hormones are initiated very differently in the mother's body, it is very likely that contractions from a pitocin-induced labor are indeed more painful than those from a normal labor.
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I was induced with baby #1.  They used the cervical gel stuff.  Sorry, no idea what it is called.  Less than 15 min later I was having really hard nasty contractions.   I had friends tell me induction didn't even work for them.  I think the hospital was even planning on sending me home.   They took it out and needless to say I didn't go home.   My stubborn son took 30 some hours after that to show up. 

Baby #2 I had a c-section.  I was all hooked up getting prepped and the nurse says "Did you know you are having contractions?"  Nope, not a clue.  I still had my c-section but the difference was night and day.

Baby #2 was 100% easier.  I was at the hospital a shorter amount of time and I actually healed faster than I did going natural.   I did have 9 + pound babies though.

Sorry I don't have any info for you on a total natural birth.


I had three children by induction, one natural, and two by c-section.  Does induction hurt more?  Oh heck  ya.   For me they put this stuff in my IV and the nurse came in every hour to pump it up a few more notches.  By the time I had been in labor 3 hours, I was ready to throw something at her everytime she came in and touched it.   

With my first one, I found out the worst thing I could do was ask for drugs.  I believe I told the nurse who wanted me to use a bedpan exactly where she could put said bed pan and she threatened me with a cathater.  LOL 

With Baby two, I discovered at as long as it isn't Demeroal Drugs can be goooooodddddddd.   I slept through the worst part of that labor.

Baby number 3,  I discovered that no matter how many times they did or didn't punch the iv drip higher and no matter what kind of drugs they give you, when your 5 foot 4 inches tall and at 9 months pregnate still only weigh about 140 lbs, a 9lb 13 oz, 21 i/2 inches long child is going to make you scream in agony.  They moved me to the delivery room early, because I was scaring some of the first time mothers.  LOL

With number 4, we were nearly in a car wreck and the placenta pulled away from the wall of my uterius so I didn't really have a chance to feel labor pains before they were giving me an epidural and cutting me open.

With number five, it was easy.  She was born at home the night before halloween.  I was about 28 weeks along and woke up having a baby.  The  pain, wasn't even there.

Number 6 was all back labor.  Oh to have had back labor with all of them. LOL  Im probably the only woman you will ever hear say that.  Most hate back labor.  Im use to back pain, that was nothing compared to my normal bouts of agony.  He was delivered C-section because number 4 was and they didn't want any complications.  Unfortunatly for them they didn't know my iron count was non exsistant and my red blood count was like 9.  Had to have a blood transfusion with that one. 

So yes there is a huge difference between induced and not induced pain wise and the kinds of drugs you take can make it even worse than it actually is.  So becareful and think twice before saying, give me the drugs, I can't take it anymore.  You will be amazed at how much you can take when your mind is clear and not drugged up.  


well Ive had 3 kids

My first was all natural with no help at all from the doctors.  Labour started at 300 am and my son was born 6 hours later!  I spent my entire labour if possible in the shower sitting on a stool!

With my second baby was already 3 cm and 80% thinned out when the docs broke my water at 5pm.   Labour started at 6pm and my daughter was born 5 hours later again all natural

With my third baby was 3 cms at just over 38 weeks and my docs were ok with doing a vaginal sweep which can trigger labour.  The sweep happened at around 1030am.  Labour started at 3 pm and my daughter was born less then 3 hours later!  Again all nautral but I Really felt those contractions and I havent forgotten just how much they hurt

Ive never had any drips for my labours but I will say that using the shower with the pressure of the water helped so much for my first two labours.  Most of the time I never felt the contractions and I think that being on your feet lets gravity help alot!
I was induced with my daughter and started naturally with my son. the contractions were much less painful with my son, which was part of the problem. Apparently, according to my gynocologist, most women these days are given some type of drug like pitocin, to speed up labor, otherwise the contractions come and go and may or may not be accomplishing anything. I was eventually given pitocin to help speed up my labor, yes it was "more" painful, but not unbearable and if it helped the processes go faster I was all for it.

hey there,

I have had three babies. and this are my two sents for what it is worth

With my first my water broke, but no real regular contractions, so after 14hrs of walking in the hospital and being real bored and hungry, I finally agreed to be induced with Pitocin but I also agreed to an epidural. The nurse was great and I trusted her experience- she told me that because my body would be pushed with  the drugs instead of going its own natural speed contractions will be fast and furious ... well, I am not sure what it would be like natural, but even with the epidural I still felt some of the contractions and for sure the "ring of fire" in the end.

With number 2 everything started slow as well, but totally manageable in matter of pain.

Started at 6am with some backlabour and finally at noon I went to the hospital, was admitted but only made one centimeter progress from 4 to 5-6 (more five than six the nurse kept telling me) ... finally at 5pm I asked for an epidural just because I wanted to get some sleep and  didn't want to be all wiped out in the early morning hours when it comes to the pushing part. Nurse told me that I had to talk to the doc first before we can talk drugs of any kind, so I started walking the halls. Half an hour later and a few real mean contractions doc came and checked me ... I said how about an epidural- he says how about having a baby! I went from 5+ cm to 9cm in half an hour and didn't even know it. Pain was totally managable because it was a slow built up. They broke my water and 30 min later I had my second son.

With number three they talked about inducing me- I think because the doc didn't want to be called in on the weekend LOL but I said no.

The next day at 2pm I was in labour- backlabour again!- and NO, I DON"T AGREE! I think that is the worse kind of labour, but that is very subjective I guess. I went to the hospital, but all those contraction didn't do a thing. Just like the day before I was only 3cm. I got admitted anyway instead of driving 1 1/2 hrs home again. only to turn around straight away to make it on time to the hospital. This time labour came strong and fast within one hour I was bagging for an epidural hardly could breath through each contraction.

It took them forever to get the anestioligist up there and my blood work cleared. I felt like such a wimp. Done it all natural with #2 and here I am screaming for drugs at 3cm? Well, while the anestioligist gives me the preptalk my doc shows up and checks me ... turns out I went from 3-4 cm to 8-9 within 1 1/2 hrs . No wonder it hurt so darn much! LOL

I got some kind of a pain shot anyway, just because I had such bad memories of the "ring of fire" and I must say ... the last birth was the best!

Painwise I have to say I really depends on how fast your body decides to move along. With #2 I thought it was so much more controlable than with number three and both weren't induced.


Anyway, enough from me.wishing you all the best either way you decide to go

Claudia, mommy of three boys

hey swearimn,

I see what your OB/GYN is saying, but i must say I don't agree. Our body has a natural speed. The main trouble isn't that the contractions might go away or not being very successful ... it's the trouble that the doc only wants to be called to the hospital once. And most moms - I guess especially first time moms- don't want to be caught off guard. If the contractions aren't regular we just aren't in real labor yet.

Mind you, it is a different story when the water is already broken and there is a risk of infection or when the baby is in distress because of prolonged labor ...

But I do believe induction is way to easily offered without totally understanding all the risk and sideaffects.

Nowerdays everything has to go the fast way ... the convenient way.

Still, I am glad you found it helpful in your case.

I had two naturally no induction and one induced (my last pregnancy) and they all hurt equally but yes i think the induction contractions were more intense!! But i had epidurals with my first two and i opted to go au natrual nodrugs the last birth and i DID it with no epidural, and if i had it to do all over again i would have had my other two natural too!! I had severe back pain after both my epidurals!! None with my natural delivery!! I had to be induced because of my hypertension during pregnancy but i would have rather gone on my own though.




Thanks to everyone for sharing your experiences.  Smile 

great post rainbow.  I was thinking the same question last night.  My doc said the baby is still really high up, showing no signs of moving down; and since my DD is 9 days away; he said he'd induce if I go a week over.  I wanted to do this without an epi; but if I have to be induced; I'll most likely consider an epi much more if the contractions are really strong and fast.  Who knows-  maybe she'll just decide to shimmy down and make her grand entry!  I'm leaving it up to her-  when she's ready she's ready- 

I'm going to miss being pregnant-  so I'm going to enjoy the last week as much as I can!!

How often is your doctor going to see you in the next 9 days, Vanessa

I go back on the 19th; which is a day before my dd.  I go once a week; but the 4th of july his office was closed that mesed up my saturday visits.  if I feel the need to go; I'll just call him and I can go in.  He's super nice! 

I'm going to miss her kicking and us playing where's the foot at night!! 
My experience was actually opposite. I've had 2 babies, the first one was taking forever so finally they gave me pitocin, but the contractions didn't seem to get really close together. With the second one I didn't take anything and my contractions were AWFUL and right on top of eachother.

Oh, my gosh!  Why would you want to be induced on purpose?  My first born had to be induced, because my water broke, but I did not dilate quickly enough to have him within their "24" hour period.  The contractions were so high they spiked above the monitor screan.  I did not get an epidural or pain medication until I was just past 6 cm.  They gave me something that took the edge off, but I also pushed him out before being fully dilated because I felt he was ready and the medication made me feel weird.  His head was out before the doctor came into the room, so I did tear a little and have had stress incontinence ever since his birth.  My bag of waters broke about 7:00 AM and he was born at 8:30 PM.

My second child was completely natural.  I literally only felt about every third contraction.  The labor went faster too.  She was a day late, so they stripped my membranes on Thursday, and I went into labor on Saturday on my own.  When I arrived at the hospital at about 10 AM, my contractions had slowed, but like I said, I was only feeling about every third one, so they thought I was far enough along, the doctor went ahead and broke the bag of waters.  She was born about 2:00 PM.

I've only had one child, so I have nothing to compare it to!!!   But at the end of the day, childbirth is different for everyone.  Some had great labours, others awful one.  My delivery was so awful, I was never able to have children again.  My son was born 3 weeks early weighing in at 11.2 lbs.  My water broke and contractions started and then they stopped.  I was induced, and nothing happened.  24 hours later I was induced again, and the contractions came on fast and furious.  It was back labour, so I asked for an epi...unfortunately I wasn't dialating (sp) so they topped up the pitocin and the epi.  I vowed I would deliver vaginally, but thinking back I should of gone the C-Section route.  He got stuck in the canal, and they had to use the vacuum to get him out.  I tore internally and externally, and my uterus fell over.  I just recently had a hysterectomy and a bladder reconstruction at 35 years of age.  Would I have done anything different?  Not sure if I could of other than asked for a C-Section.  Everyones different, listen to your body, listen to your doctor...thats all anyone can do!!!

I can't answer, since I never felt a single contraction when I was induced.  I was medicated beyond belief and slept through most of my labor.

With my second, I wasn't induced, the pain meds didn't take, and I won't talk about it since Vanessa is so close to having a baby and I don't want to freak her out.  Suffice to say I am a wimp and I was not prepared for a delivery I could feel.

I have 3 kids- my first was born naturally, but I was induced because I was 2 weeks overdue.


I was induced with pitocin-  a small tampon looking thing that they insert like a tampon and remove when contractions start- She was born 4 hours later- I too, like another posted, spent my time in the shower, and the tub that they had at the birthing center I went to. The tub was the best, I had my worst contraction in the tub and when I got out it was time to do the deed.

As for my second pregnancy- I had twins- I had a c-section- I had no choice- Breach breach babies- but I was not induced and the contractions, well I wont lie, I could not even feel them :) I measured 58" around!


All in all, I do not think that induction causes the contractions to be more painful, what it may cause is the labor to progress quicker than you are used to making it seem as if the contractions are stronger- in which they may be stronger faster, but no stronger than they would have been if you started labor without induction.


However, I think the difference has to do with pain medication while in labor and natural birth- I did not use anestetic with my first and it didn't bother me too badly- Some people choose pain meds, especiallly if they have a low pain tolerance.

My youngest is 30 now, but you never forget your childbirth experiences.  All three births were unmedicated using the LaMaze method.  The third was induced after stop and start labor for a whole day and was dilated 4 centimeters. When I had contractions 4 or 5 minutes apart for four hours with no progress we decided to induce.  I was exhaused and just wanted to get it over with. 

The pitocin induced contractions were powerful, almost overwhelming.  I can't say that they were painful, but LaMaze training does help you not perceive it a spain.

I don't remember it as being worse than the first though.  With my first baby I had to deal with the strangeness of it all, and with an unsupportive husband.  The second birth was the easiest.  I'd remarried and had all the support I needed to deliver an 8 pound boy with no problem and no pain. 

My advice - the more natural childbirth techniques you can learn the better.  I still think Dr. LaMaze was the best.

I have one baby girl and I was induced. By the time I asked for an epi, it was too late. The pain became pretty intense and all consuming but I'm glad it went down that way and if I had to do it over again, I wouldn't be on pain meds. so, although I can't compare, it's manageable

I too really miss being pregnant! I felt fantastic, calm and I loved her moving around. That was a really amazing feeling. Best of luck!

Missy ~ I've always heard the opposite.  Thanks for sharing.  Smile

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