Ring Of Fire Pregnancy- You are fully dilated and have been pushing. You can’t wait to be a parent but suddenly, this pain beings to burn right where you are pushing. It is hot, stingy and feels awful. It is the ring of fire! A ring of fire is the most unpleasant feeling right before your baby is born. We dive in on why this happens, what to expect and ways to make your situation a bit easy. Good news, its temporary!

What Is the Ring of Fire During Birth?

A ring of fire is when you are crowning and the baby is about to come out. Many people feel an intense burning situation. This happens because your baby’s head is fully visible and your vaginal opening is stretching to accommodate the size of your babies head. This feeling generally lasts between thirty seconds and a few minutes right before birth. The feeling goes away when the babies head has passed and the body is coming out.

The ring of fire is also a key time to relax your body. This sounds like an impossible ask because you are in so much pain. However, relaxing your body can help you avoid tears.

There are three stages of labor and it is important to be able to identify which stage you are at.

The Stages of Labor

There are three distinct stages of labor that everyone must know about. These stages can vary in time from person to person. Here are the three stages of labor.

Stage One

The first stage of labor can be the longest and it is the hardest stage. This is the period where you go from one centimeter to ten centimeters dilated. Your cervix has opened a whole ten centimeters!

Stage Two

The second stage of labor is intense but exciting! Your body is ready to have this baby. You are ten centimeters dilated and now you will give birth to your baby. The second stage can last a few hours but it can also be over in as little as a few minutes.

Stage Three

The third stage of labor takes the least amount of time. This is after your baby has been born. You will now give birth to the placenta. This is also referred to as “after birth”. This does not usually hurt and requires one to three pushes. Usually, you will have the natural feeling to push.

The stage of the ring of fire happens at the end of stage two of the birthing process. It occurs when your baby is crowning. You are fully dilated and have been pushing anywhere from a few minutes to many hours. Your cervix is expanding to accommodate the head.

Why Does It Hurt So Much?

Your baby is crowning which causes the feeling of a ring of fire. The ring of fire is your vaginal opening stretching. This feeling is not just uncomfortable but painful and shocking how intense it is. The ring of fire can feel like:




Localized pain


Extreme Pressure

You may experience some of these feelings or all of these feelings at once. Luckily, it does not last too long. There is not a way to make this feeling go away, but there are ways to manage it to minimize the pain and experience and help you focus on getting that baby out!

The Negatives of The Ring of Fire

The challenge is not only pain management during these few seconds to few minutes but also what could happen afterwards. The ring of fire can cause you to be in shock or panic. The flight or fight method sinks in and many people buckle down and push hard to get the baby out. The output of this is usually tearing which can be painful and have temporary to long term side effects to how you urinate, poop and incontinence in the future. Each tear depends on the person and the time of healing.

Why Does Tearing Happen?

There are many reasons why tearing happens during birth. One of the reasons is during the crowning of the babies head a person pushes instead of relaxes their body. When you push while the baby is slowly coming out, you can tear. If a person relaxes during the feeling of the ring of fire, usually a baby can be guided out tear free.

The Types of Tears

Tears are labeled in degrees, from one to four. They are also known as perineal lacerations. They come in varying degrees. The Mayo Clinic has an excellent diagram showing the different levels of perineal lacerations. These diagrams will guide you around the vaginal area and explain each level of tear. Remember, a specialist is there to help as soon as the baby is born.

Ring of Fire Pregnancy With Epidural

Many people wonder if they avoid the ring of fire if they get an epidural? The answer is maybe! Some people have had an epidural and still felt the intense pain of the ring of fire. Other people however, report that they are able to feel a dull sensation or even just a pressured feeling instead of the intense feeling of an epidural. If you are trying to avoid the feeling of the ring of fire, consider an epidural to lower or numb the pain of this point during labor.

What Does The Doctor Or Midwife Do?

When you have reached that point of crowning, it is time to listen to the specific instructions of the doctor or midwife. This can feel intense because of the initial shock of “the ring of fire”, but this will be over soon! It is time to work well under pressure and take instructions from the doctor or midwife. The doctor or midwife will instruct you on when to push and when to relax. Follow their lead. They will help you through this point of labor.

What Do I Do?

It is your job to listen at this point. Remove all instructions. Your partner, doula or birth partner will be quieter now and supporting your immediate needs. You need communication between yourself and your doctor or midwife. There cannot be too many people talking because you both need to communicate with each other. Have anyone turn down music or any sort of noise so you can focus. You are almost there!

It is easier said than done, especially if this is your first pregnancy, but just relax as much as you can. This will all be over soon and you will be holding your baby shortly! Being calm is important to get you through this stage and minimize the feeling of the ring of fire. Remember what you have learned and listen to your doctor or midwife!

Ways To Lessen The Pain of The Ring of Fire

There are a few ways to lessen the pain of the ring of fire. This involves a bit of planning ahead of time but it can be successful to lessen or manage that pain. Here are some ways to make this easier.

Epidural- If the impending pain makes you nervous, talk to your doctor about an epidural. It may lessen the pain or dull it so it just feels like a pressure. This could make your labor process and the moment of the ring of fire easier.

Speak To Your Doctor About Medications That Can Help- Your doctor knows your pregnancy. Ask your doctor for medications or pain relievers that can make the ring of fire a little easier to manage. They may be able to help you knowing your health background and details of your pregnancy.

Meditation- The pain can be a challenge. Being able to meditate and focus is important. Practice meditating now so you can be focused and stay relaxed for when the time comes. Start when you are pregnant for five minutes at a time.

These are some great ways to take your power back from the pain. Having less pain means you will be less tired when your baby is born. Choose one or all of these pain easing methods and do what is best for you and your baby.

The Ring of Fire

These facts can seem intense, especially if this is your first time giving birth! However, the pain is temporary and for many, lasts no more than a minute or two. Secondly, you are able to focus and listen to your midwife or doctor, you will avoid tearing. In the end, if you do experience tearing, doctors are there to fix the problem and begin your road to recovery.

When you feel the ring of fire, just know that you are almost done, your baby will be in your arms shortly and this is a powerful feeling. You will not feel pain for long and you will have a new respect for yourself. You are so strong and deserve comfort through out your birthing process! Talk to your doctor about options and know that you have a team of professionals only wanting the best for you and your baby.

If you are looking for more pregnancy posts, you have to see our Pregnancy section. Loaded with information, blogs and expert commentary, you can put your mind at ease.