Question for the ladies: Which is more painful...Crohn's or natural childbirth?

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New Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 9/15/2009 12:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello everyone,
I am currently 6 months pregnant with my first child. I have Crohn's disease. It is my desire to attempt a natural drug-free delivery. Lately, I seem to be having a flareup of CD. I've had episodes of diarrhea interlaced with episodes of severe constipation.  Sometimes starting several hours before a BM, I get severe gut-wrenching pain. The only way I can describe the pain to people who do not have Crohn's is to imagine the worst gas pains in your life (severe stabbing, ripping pains), multiply them by 100 and then imagine them going through your entire abdomen. The spasms get stronger and closer together, the closer I am to having the bowel movement. They continue throughout the going to to the bathroom process and then gradually subside afterward. The pain is so strong at times that I cannot stand up straight or talk through them. Following an episode, I am completely exhausted and weak and I feel an overwhelming desire to lie down in fetal position. The pain is insane and I have a pretty good tolerance for pain. Typically, I shut my eyes and breathe through them, but I pretty much become non-functional.
Anyway, I was wondering for women who had experienced drug-free childbirth (or labor pains without drugs up to a certain extent)...which did you find more painful? confused
I haven't really been able to find someone who can answer that question and I am sure it's rather subjective anyway, since pain is...

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 9/15/2009 12:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Me, me, me!!! I have found that the Crohns pains were worse, especially blockage type pains. At least when the labor pains you have a beautiful baby to see as a result of your pain, but with the Crohns pain you just have Crohns still. But in all seriousness my obstruction pain was pretty bad and I went thru 3 natural labors.

Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Crohns Disease and Anxiety/Panic Forum
Crohn's Disease for over 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, Calcium  w/Vit D, and Xanax as needed. Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, Osteoarthritis, and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission, but my joints are going crazy!
It's scary when you start making the same noises As your coffee maker.
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

New Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 8
   Posted 9/15/2009 12:59 PM (GMT -7)   

Awesome! Thanks for sharing your opinion. That has given me a bit of comfort. :)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1118
   Posted 9/15/2009 1:02 PM (GMT -7)   
AW HECK!  crohn's pain is the  worse i had 2 drug free births  would rather do that 20 times over than have the crohns pain Bevx

Diagnosed with crohn's at 13 now 42
resection, right hemi 1993 In remmision from 93 till last sept with no meds or docs
2 resections small bowel  and fistula jan 09 and given temp stoma.  reversal sheduled for Nov09 Meds:Pentasa 500mg 3x day,  B12 shots, every 3 months, iron syrup,loperimide,folic acid, Back on citalopram 40mg (for Anxiety.)

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 103
   Posted 9/15/2009 1:18 PM (GMT -7)   
I am not a woman, but I remember thinking, when I had my blockage pains for 3 day straight, that I can not image bigger pain than those... I was begging for pain meds and I have a pretty high pain tollerance (something you get by living with crohns smilewinkgrin )

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 342
   Posted 9/15/2009 1:33 PM (GMT -7)   
I have two kids..both sched csections..i have been told by the Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Mass General Hospital in Boston Mass..that one with Crohn's should not attempt a natural childbirth..because of the risk of tearing and forming a fistula...not too mention in my case..i already had i had two c-sections...and it didn't really hurt much at all..i was better one week fistula and my abscess and the seton business..had been more painful...then an abdominal far...


Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 9/15/2009 2:14 PM (GMT -7)   
I have had 1 birth with epidural after couldn't bear it anymore and I found that cd pain is worse purely because birth has an end in sight and cd you never know.  I also have had kidney stones (while pregnant) and have to say that those were by far the worst and then when my bowel perferated that was top number one ouch.  I will take birth any day over any of those.

Dx CD 2003 but probably had it 10 years prior

Dx Primary Sclerossing Cholangitis 2006

GB out '95, Appendix out '96, Kidney stent '02/stone removal '02, Resection '04, fistulectomy '06 2x, tubal '05

Currently on 100mg 6mp-50 mg,  and Remicade every 8 weeks, Ambien, predsnisone, humira 1x wk, flagyl, cypro, diflucan, probiotic, questran lite

Lady G
Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 321
   Posted 9/15/2009 3:54 PM (GMT -7)   
I decided too to compare my crohns to childbirth as well. I realized they WERE pretty close to the same, for me to a certain point anyways. The day I was in labour I never knew it cause I thought it WAS my crohns, LOL, my mom had to tell me otherwise, haha.
The pains from that day, up to the hospital and my epidural were sure similar to my crohns. In fact when I am in the hospital now for my crohns and they ask what kind of pain the crohns feels like I tell them to compare it to childbirth and there you go, same thing,lol. But that being said I was sure glad I had the epidural cause I sure didn't feel like having that pain, crohns or birthing anyways (and I ended up in emergency c-section, so I really can't comment on what pushing the kid out might feel like) but up until the painkiller points and all, I really did think they were the same, but I am sure my labour would of gotten more intense then the crohns given time.

Elite Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 20577
   Posted 9/15/2009 7:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Well, I've never had a blockage related to CD or anything else and I had 2 natural child births one with an epidural and one without an epidural and the one without hurt like HELLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL so I'd say it was pretty bad, mind you I've had pretty hellish anus pain with my perianal crohn's skin tags, so bottom line, both CD pains and natural child birth hurt, just different from one another is all.

I wouldn't choose one over the other, I'm very glad to be done having babies though, that's for sure (they hurt the wallet too).

My bum is broken....there's a big crack down the middle of it! LOL :)

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 165
   Posted 9/15/2009 9:01 PM (GMT -7)   
I say pain from chron's.
 RIP my beloved Chihuahua: Roxy
DX with CD of the TI in 2004 by colonoscpy biopsy, with partical obstructions x 3. Anemic, constant elevated ESR & WBC. Constant abd. pain and fatique.    
Meds: Vit B-12 shots monthly, zinc, multi vit, Vit E, Pentasa.    

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 457
   Posted 9/16/2009 3:17 AM (GMT -7)   
When I had my total blockage and the ER idiots couldn't figure out what was going on and let me vomit and cry in pain for 20 hours was comparable to natural child birth. 
Dx'd with Crohns 1984 and polycystic kidney disease in 1996
Bowel Resection surgery 2006, Now on Asacol, Endocort, folic acid, and Enalapril,

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 209
   Posted 9/16/2009 3:35 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Irish,
July 4th,1981.
My Dr. on vacation.
My morphine script runs out.
I have the utmost respect for all of you that have weathered the waves.
(and are still here to talk about it)
B-12injections,Pentasa,Loperamide,Entocort,6mp,Hydrochlorothiazide,8 week
Remission since surgery
and 8-week Remicade.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Aug 2003
Total Posts : 1017
   Posted 9/16/2009 7:59 AM (GMT -7)   
I would say the CD pain is worse. I had drug free child birth, but mostly because she was born very quickly - doc said no time for drugs :)

But I also know that the body/brain is very smart and the reason women have more than one child is because somewhere in there we forget exactly what it took to have a child. It is a great thing for the brain to forget the pain of child birth.

The comment above about not have a natural child birth because of CD I do not understand. I do not understand because I had my resection prior to being pregnant and my OB had a fit. It was not taken into consideration I wanted to be a mom and if anything had gone wrong with my labor my doc would have had to come up with a completly new way to do a C-section. My scar is above my bellybutton and way below my hair line and that would not allow for either of the current traditional cuts for delivery. So it was never mentioned not to have my child naturally.
Red (Lee Ann)
    "No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear." - Edmund Burke

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2007
Total Posts : 90
   Posted 9/16/2009 4:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Crohn's pain is far worse.Mother of 1

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 703
   Posted 9/16/2009 5:45 PM (GMT -7)   
Ha! I've been thinking of asking this question for weeks! Every time I've had a really painful BM for the past few months, I've wondered if it even approaches child birth. White knuckles, breaking towel rods, intense nausea, sweats, poo feeling like hot coals, etc. But I always figured child birth was way worse, mostly because babies are so much bigger! Kind of comforting to hear that CD pain isn't considered a trivial thing.

Besides bowel pain, I've experienced excruciating neck pain (really felt like somebody was grabbing my spinal cord and squeezing, HARD), and my ankle got so inflamed and sore that merely bumping it (which happened a lot) would make me cry. I am extremely thankful I have never experienced the pleasures of abcesses, strictures, blockages, etc.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2006
Total Posts : 1354
   Posted 9/16/2009 5:48 PM (GMT -7)   
I have had 4 natural births and I would say the Crohn's pain is by far the worse!
Crohn's Disease
Ankylosing Spondylitis
Current meds: Methotrexate, Prednisone

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2010
Total Posts : 8384
   Posted 12/21/2010 7:00 PM (GMT -7)   
Well, two natural child births and 10 years of CD, the childbirth was only really awfully painful for the last 30 minutes during transition and pushing. The contractions were, of course, unpleasant, but they are short and come and go. My labors were pretty typical - about 12 hours of light labor, 6 hours of hard labor for the first. 12 hours of light labor and 3 hours of hard labor for the 2nd.

I find bowel pain, like menstrual cramps, to be similar to uterine contractions but not quite the same. The thing about childbirth is that you know when the baby is out the pain will disappear. That is not true of our bowel pain.

Angelcockatoo, I think you should talk to your GI and your OB/Gyn about the problems you're having. I'm concerned that pelvic pain could trigger early labor, or mask early labor. If your CD is not controlled you should consider changing your meds to get it back under control. I took pred during both of my pregnancies, as have many others I'm sure.
48 yrs old, IBD diagnosis in spring '01. Proctitis, gastritis, ileitis.
Currently taking Pentasa (3g/day), Sulfazine (1.5 g/day), Prevacid, folic acid, vit. D (2K iu), flax seed oil (2 tsp/day), mesalamine enema as needed.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2004
Total Posts : 6518
   Posted 12/21/2010 9:36 PM (GMT -7)   
Not to intrude on a womens question but both are wrong. I have to say based on my own mothers experience that,, child raising,, especially male children,, may be the most painful. Basing this on my own childhood,and two brothers, I know we were a pain for my mom for many years.
If we would read the secret history of our enemies,we would find in each mans life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2007
Total Posts : 589
   Posted 12/21/2010 10:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Hah. Yeah, Crohn's may last forever, but kids can talk. Toss-up, I'd say.

but in all seriousness, I get that same pain sometimes. I don't think mine is as severe as yours, but its still rough. I haven't found any way to cope other than to try reading or doing something else to keep my mind busy and away from my guts, but it doesnt do much.
Diagnosed with Crohn's late December 2004. Currently in a clinical trial for Vedolizumab, which seems to be helping. Maybe. It's hard to tell.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 1811
   Posted 12/22/2010 9:02 AM (GMT -7)   
Are you talking about the labor and pushing? Because if so, then labor is worse - definitely worse. When I was in labor with my middle child (I have 3) the contractions were UNBELIEVABLY painful and when they were coming 1 minute apart I thought I was going to pass out! And I am NOT a wuss. I have SEVERE Crohn's and am no stranger to excrutiating pain, so in my opinion the heavy labor was more painful. That being said, Labor ends at some point and Crohn's doesn't.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 2481
   Posted 12/22/2010 1:49 PM (GMT -7)   
I'm pretty sure I've had labour-like pains with my CD. At times all I could do was get down on all fours and breathe through the pain.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 1070
   Posted 12/22/2010 8:06 PM (GMT -7)   
Reading this thread helps me because I feel so insecure at times about my handling of this DD. I feel as though I complain too much or I am a wimp etc. So thanks

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 66
   Posted 12/23/2010 1:49 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi, sorry congrats on your pregnancy and sorry you are not feeling well...

I have to say, neither my Crohn´s nor my two stomach surgeries were as painful as childbirth (no medication), but neither pain has gone as quickly as when I gave birth-the moment the baby popped out, I felt absolutely fine. Also, birth only took approx.15 hours...

I hope you´ll manage to get your Crohn´s under control soon-I don´t know if you are on some medication, but if you are not, do not hesitate to start taking meds please, I was flaring afret I gave birth to my son and it was hard even without the flare, first baby etc., but with the flare, having to go to the toilet 3 times while I tried to breastfeed him and the joint pains plus insomnia was not nice.

Hope you have a nice rest of pregnancy, easy birth and a lovely baby at the end of it, good luck!
Diagnosed with Crohn´s in 2005, 3 surgeries, . Pentasa 2x2, Imuran 2-0-1, 32 yrs old mother of two. Boy 05/2005 and girl 03/2009. Pregnant again, baby is due April 20th 2011.
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