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What Is A Ring Of Fire Birth?

It has taken a full 3 trimesters for you to get to this part of your pregnancy journey. You have been amazing!

From dealing with first trimester symptoms, feeling those butterfly kicks in the second trimester and finally, you are looking at the finish line in the third trimester. But now the inevitable birth is posing new questions such as what is a ring of fire birth?

Now as you know pregnancy can be a beautiful experience, but every pregnancy is different and unique.

My own experience of this is from my first pregnancy – I loved it, hardly any symptoms or aches just the glow and cute tasks of choosing names, clothes, and furniture for the nursery.

My second pregnancy, however, was very different. I became an expert in puking out of my nose, and headaches that make your head split, it wasn’t as fun! In hindsight, it has made me realize the fact no two pregnancies are ever the same and the same goes for labor!

Whether you are a first-time momma or if you have had the pleasure of giving birth before it is important to remember that no two experiences are the same! 

You are in a situation where everyone wants to tell you their horror story, whether it be from friends or family. I promise you they do not mean to scare you at all but they are enjoying sharing their own experiences with you. Your labor will be different.

You may have set your birth plan, and have your hospital bag packed. You are feeling confident that the only thing you have to prepare for is the job itself. At this point, you have researched to find out different ways to help you cope during the main performance.

What Is A ‘Ring Of Fire’ Birth?

Now don’t let its name scare you! Essentially this term is what many moms have described and have had similar sensations, hence the name ‘ring of fire’ was born.

If we turn to the science of it, when you are in labor we all know there is only one way you are going to meet your baby, of course, providing you are giving birth naturally. 

As your darling baby makes its way down the birth canal it will start crowning. This is when you have finally made it! You are moments away from meeting your gorgeous baby for the first time, which you have dreamt about for so long.

It doesn’t take a scientist to understand that the circumference of a baby’s head and 10cm dilation isn’t really a fair size comparison.

The vaginal tissues of the cervix will stretch to accommodate the size of the baby’s head and it is during this time of stretching that many moms describe a burning feeling.

It sounds stupid right now but the burning sensation is what you want to feel! It is an indicator that your body is stretching. Take it from a mom that has had a tear previously, I will be welcoming the Ring of Fire any day!

What Is Crowning?

When you have watched things on TV and researched labor you will have come across the term ‘crowning.’

As it stands this phase is the final part of your pregnancy, your baby has started the transition into the birthing canal and is ready to make its appearance very soon!

As this progresses everyone in the room will be able to see your baby’s head. You too can have a look in a mirror if this is something you want to do.

Many moms have just reached down and have been able to feel their baby’s head at this point but if you don’t want to this is perfectly normal considering what your body is actually doing at this moment!

Everyone Is Different!

Please don’t let this scare you. As a mom who has been through this several times, I understand how those anxieties come back and you are forever wondering if you will cope in labor.

The bottom line of it is… YES, you will cope! Your body has gone through 40 weeks of adjusting, stretching, growing. The final part of pregnancy is the labor and it is one of the most fearful yet beautiful experiences a mom goes through!

Ways To Prepare For The Ring Of Fire

Now if you cant get that term out of your head, and it has scared you senseless. Then let us explain ways you can prepare for it.

Pain relief

The magical cure for many moms! Depending on what choice of pain relief you have gone for may change the sensations for you.

For example, Epidurals can create a pressure sensation rather than burning, this doesn’t mean everyone should opt for the epidural to dull the sensation. Whatever drugs you have opted for if any, will all affect you and your pain threshold.


Your midwife may have already checked the position of your baby but ultimately what you want is for the baby to be head down with him/her facing your back. This is the easiest way for the baby’s head to transition into the birth canal. 

Now as you are aware you have little or no control over which way your baby wants to be inside your womb. If they are stubborn they may refuse to comply with this position.

If this is the case there are some things that your medical team will help with to get your little one ready for their birth.

Water Birth

This method can be very soothing and help you relax during your contractions.

Can You Swim In A Lake While Pregnant?

I wish I had taken control of my first labor and gone with my first choice of water birth. I ended up with a perineal tare and let me tell you that is one thing you want to avoid during labor, but that is for another article.

Water births allow for your skin to be supple and will allow for that extra stretch. Many moms have noticed a reduced burn when in the water compared to when they are out.

Slow down

As a human being, no one wants to experience pain right? During labor, it is the pain and contractions that allow our bodies to become spectacular.

You may not feel it when in the delivery room and you may start cursing this very article, but no matter how intense or scared you become, remember that this is your final journey in pregnancy. You alone are bringing another life into the world. 

Before I sound too ‘hippy’ I want to assure you that like anyone I wanted the pain to be over as quick as possible! I wanted the baby out!

It is a natural feeling for you to want to push the pain away therefore many moms try to push fast strong and hard. The main advice here is to slow down!

Slowing down in labor can help you take in more oxygen when breathing and deep breaths can help retain your focus on the task you are facing.

Your body is under stress so when you feel that burning allow nature to help guide your baby out. If you are unsure your doctors will be there to guide you.

Perineal Massage

This may sound a bit abnormal as you are reading it but when in the delivery suite you will be glad that you tried everything in order to make it a little less painful.

Many moms have started using perineal massage as an aid to help relax the muscles to allow for less burn when in that last stage of labor. 

Simply massaging the skin between your anus and vaginal opening can help release the stress and pressure the skin and muscles are under.

If you don’t think you will be comfortable doing this whilst on display, then a warm compress placed on the area can achieve the same effect. It can also reduce the risk of trauma and tares in the later stage of labor.


How can the ring of fire be prevented during birth?

This burning sensation is a cue from your body that you need to slow down giving your skin a chance to catch up.

Slowing down may not be on your list of things to do during the last stage of labor but it is important to prevent any possible damage. Try leaning back and letting your body relax, try panting like a dog with your tongue out as an alternative to pushing through the pain.

When do you feel the ring of fire?

You feel the ring of fire when your baby’s head is crowning. It has been described as a burning or stinging sensation as your baby’s head stretches your vaginal opening. 

What is the most painful part of labor?

The most painful part of labor is the transitional stage of labor. This is when your body is moving from the cervix opening to your body getting ready to start the pushing stage. 

The Final Thought

You are almost at the finish line and have the chance to hold your beautiful baby for the first time.

It may seem like you still have a mammoth challenge to overcome but ensuring that you are as prepared as you can be and have done some research will help. Better to be informed than not right?!

My only advice would be to listen to your body, the doctors and nurses do this day in day out and they are experts in their field. You are in very capable hands, but they do not know you, they do not know your pain threshold, or in fact what the pain that you are feeling during your labor.

Trust yourself, speak up if you are not happy, and above all else remember that this is what your body is made for, it is a natural process that only we can experience. 

If you are still feeling agitated about the whole process then speak to your healthcare team and they will help you find the best way to relax and may have other hints and tips to combat the ring of fire!