I'm sure you've received a large variety of answers but I'll add mine to the ring!
For me the most painful part was having back labour after 7cm, stagnating for 12 hours after that and transition. The pain was so unbearable I felt like I wasn't in my body. BUT....the silver lining was pushing him out, because my contractions were so painful that pushing and delivering him was a breeeeze! I remember the delivery doctor saying, "This is really going to burn" as the baby was crowning and thinking, "Nope! Not at all. This feels fine compared to contractions" I would assume if your contractions were manageable from start to finish that the whole "ring of fire" and delivering the head would feel worse...I think!
In order I think contractions were the worst, very very intense (I also had back labour) And then the ring of fire, ouch. And then the pressure of the baby coming out (not painful but an uncomfortable horrible feeling because you can't control it when your body starts pushing)
For me it was 2 hours of not being "allowed" to push, no contest. I had had back labour and sterile water injections (which are no walk in the park either let me tell you. Ouch they sting!) as I wasn't coping well but after I got the urge to push the MW checked and I was only 6cm and she told me to hold off pushing. I was checked a couple more times and finally after two excruciating hours there was just a lip of cervix left she pushed out of the way. I then pushed for another 2 1/2 hours which was exhausting but sweet relief after two hours of fighting my body... Didnt notice the rjng of fire. Can't help but think if I hadn't listened to the midwife and just done what my body was telling me to do I wouldn't have pushed for nearly so long as I wouldn't have been so exhausted by then...
Second birth was a breeze - contractions only got painful in transition but didn't think I was even in real labour prior) and she was born 20 mins later. Felt the ring of fire but it wasn't bad. But the afterpains were awful. Way way worse than any part of the labour.
I can't imagine being told not to push, it's such a normal and natural urge almost involuntary, well tbh in my case I would say it was totally involuntary, there seems something so wrong having someone down there telling you what to do, I do wonder what would have happened if she hadn't of instructed you.
The reading I did after the fact would suggest nothing - other than pushing a baby out there's a long held belief though that if a cervix isn't fully dilated pushing can cause it to swell (brain fart there's another word I'm looking for but it's not coming to me) and cause damage. But I've yet to read any cases where that actually happened. And its quite common for a woman to "get pushy" at 6cm and have a baby a few minutes later. I wish I'd known better but at least it didn't result in a traumatic outcome or anything and now I know better and witrhmy second, as I will for future births, will absolutely not be letting anyone examine me when I get the urge to push and just go with it.
Incidentally with my second I was admitted at 4cm and an hour and 10 minutes later started feeling a bit of pressure which I soon realized was a bit pushy feeling and 15 minutes after that she was born (less than 10 minutes of actively pushing though as I was trying to hold off another hour and a half to shift change as the consultant on didn't do breech births, but when the registrar came in and assured me he wasn't going to be in time to have a say anyway and she was very experienced that's when I let myself push)
Yeah I think hands off unless obvious issues are occurring is best, with my second I had to do all by myself and just went with my body he was born swiftly, safely and no tears, I think birth is too heavily managed for the majority due to the rare risks in a minority which is in itself causing more problems.
Any opinions, advice, statements or other information expressed or made available on BabyandBump.Momtastic.com by users or third parties, including but not limited to bloggers, are solely those of the respective user or other third party. They do not reflect the opinions of BabyandBump.Momtastic.com and they have not been reviewed by a physician, psychologist or parenting expert or any member of the BabyandBump.Momtastic.com staff for accuracy, balance or objectivity. Content and other information presented on BabyandBump.Momtastic.com are not a substitute for professional medical or mental health advice, counseling, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical or mental health advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on BabyandBump.Momtastic.com. BabyandBump.Momtastic.com does not endorse any opinion, advice, statement, product, service or treatment made available on the website. If you think you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.