Did Mary give birth in pain?


According to Genesis pain during childbirth is the result of Original Sin, Mary was born without Original Sin so did Our Lady give birth in pain? I didn’t think she did but I remember watching a film about Jesus’ life in school and the scene of his birth showed Mary in pain.


Revelation chapter 12.


I think Revelations 12 has two meanings as the woman is also the Church.

In Catholic dogma Mary was ever virgin and conceived without sin. Though I am sure she suffered both physically and mentally during the course of her life I dont know that her bringing forth Jesus,the Savior caused actual labor pains. The incarnation was miraculous and there is no reason to doubt His birth was also.

I believe some saints have writings concernng the life of Mary,though none of them have any proof.Some may be just pious meditations. I think St Bridget likened the birth to light shining through a vase.As the light shines forth through a vase it does not disrupt the integrity nor shatter it.

In addition there are women who do give birth with no pain(not just because they have had anesthesia either)


Revelation 12:1 And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; 2 she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery.

However, there are many ways to interpret this verse. The Child is definitely the Messiah, and the Woman crowned with stars is Mary, but she could also be Israel, who was suffering in turmoil when Jesus was born. It’s up to the individual to exegete and decide.


I can accept some wiggle-waggle on the interpretation of these verses, but not that the woman in Rev. 12 is the Church. The Manchild is obviously the Messiah, and the Church did not give birth to the Messiah; rather, the Church was “born” (if I can use that word) from the Messiah. Beyond that, I apply the best thing I’ve ever heard when it comes to interpreting Sacred Scripture: When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.


Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that the Church teaches that Mary did not suffer labour pains, and that the actual delivery took place with miraculous rapidity.

This is based on the “original sin” / Immaculate Conception argument mentioned by the OP, as well as on an allegorical reading of Isaiah 66: 7.


The Church doesn’t teach one way or the other. Here’s an excerpt from a Catholic Answers magazine article

The Church is officially silent on the issue of whether or not Mary suffered pain in childbirth, although some Fathers, Doctors, and theologians assume that her immaculate state rendered her free from it. Strictly speaking, we need not assume that Mary was free from labor pains. Christ too was sinless and went through hideous suffering on the cross. If Mary’s labor to bring Christ into the world was painful, just as is ordinary childbirth, it may have been so in order to allow her to be in greater conformity to the life of her Son, who also would suffer. Even so, it is also true that she could have been free from childbirth pain. Absent a ruling from the Church, we just don’t know for certain.


Revelation 12 woman can be interpreted as Mary and the Church, dual meaning. As for the pain that Mary suffered, it was probably due the fact that Mary knew that all the forces of evil were out to kill her baby, as the same passage mentions that the Serpent was waiting there to devour Him. No doubt that armies of angels were also there at the birth in order to protect Him from the demons and the Devil. Further attacks were made on Him such as Herod and so on.

Physical birth pains was never experienced by Mary, as the Church has always taught.


To the woman he said: "I will intensify the pangs of your childbearing; in pain shall you bring forth children

It doesn’t say that there was no pain in childbirth but that it would be intensified.


I think she suffered birth pains, like in Revelations.


Oh, I get it. That makes sense. I was remembering (or misremembering) an incident where certain Catholics criticized a movie on the Nativity because it portrayed Mary as suffering labour pains.



The Church has traditionally understood Mary’s virginity in partu (during birth) as meaning that Jesus passed from His Mother’s womb into the light of day without the womb being opened and consequently without the destruction of the physical signs of virginity possessed by one who is virgin in conception. Secondly, Mary’s virginity in partu involves the absence of labor pains and usual infirmities (e.g., rupturing, bleeding, etc.) involved in gestation. It was, in reality, a miraculous birth, which relates more to her role in the New Creation (and thus her Immaculate Conception and Assumption) rather than her virginity before and after.

In a miraculous birth there would be absolutely no need for contractions which are the cause of labor pains.The contractions facilitate the opening of the cervix whereby a baby normally passes through the birth canal after cervical dilation reaching a point of about 10 cm.Since without a doubt Jesus birth was asmiraculous as His conception it is safe to say it was unlike any other.


=SeanF1989;11532183]According to Genesis pain during childbirth is the result of Original Sin, Mary was born without Original Sin so did Our Lady give birth in pain? I didn’t think she did but I remember watching a film about Jesus’ life in school and the scene of his birth showed Mary in pain.

Hi Sean [that’s our sons name]:smiley:

NO, here’s why

The pain was a direct result of Eve’s Original sin.

Mary ALONE was preserved from it’s consequences because She was “Perfected” by God through the merits of Her Son Jesus.:thumbsup:




I have read somewhere that this points to a painless birth of Jesus, because it was Mary herself who took Jesus and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes right after His birth then placed Him on a manger. Childbirth is an intensely painful and tiring affair for a woman, and especially a firstborn (mothers of multiple children would know this). For Mary to be able to do this right after birth (a newborn MUST be cleaned and swaddled right after birth for they have poor heat retention; one can easily die from hypothermia) either means she had almost superhuman endurance or she had no pain during childbirth. One could argue that Mary did this out of desperation since Mary and Joseph had no help, the Holy Family being placed in a stable because there was no room in the inn, but where was Joseph? Having Mary also do these if she had the usual birth pains would place Joseph in a bad light for letting her do all that.

Now about Revelation 12:

[BIBLEDRB]Revelation 12:5[/BIBLEDRB]

From here one can say that the birth of Jesus symbolized here pertains His Life up to His Ascension (“taken up to God, and to His throne”). And we all know how Mary suffered witnessing the pains Jesus underwent to save us; this is why we sometimes call her Our Lady of Sorrows.


And oh: Merry Christmas everybody!


You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but you’re wrong when you say the Church has always taught that. Read the post (mine) immediately before yours.


That’s an interesting point, but I would venture to say that in all of human history there have been lots of women who would have found themselves alone at the moment of childbirth and would have to do what was necessary on her own. A mother does what a mother must.



Yes I agree with you there. But the point here is this: she wasn’t alone, Joseph was there. Why didn’t he help? Of course there is the possibility that Joseph was outside when Mary gave birth, but I find it strange that St. Luke never explained why Mary did all of that when Joseph should have been present to help.


I suppose Luke didn’t mention Joseph’s participation because it’s not that important. I can’t imagine Joseph standing in the corner watching the birth and doing absolutely nothing, can you? Even if there was no pain for Mary, it would be at least a little awkward. Joseph would at least pass her the swaddling cloths. But it’s not important enough to record.



:slight_smile: Even if by Luke’s account, if Mary had a painful birth, he just insinuated Mary sinned?



Even if by reading Luke’s account, if Mary had a painful birth, it could be insinuated Mary sinned?

Remember what I said: a newborn child MUST be cleaned and swaddled right away because of a baby’s poor heat retention, and the baby can easily die of hypothermia if this was not done. A newborn baby is covered with fluids that can rob him of heat right away, and thus must be cleaned as soon as possible.

IF Mary did this when she was dead tired from giving birth when Joseph was around, then she would have exposed Jesus as well as herself to unnecessary danger, and that would have been a sin.

This is the reason why I cannot understand why Luke would neglect to say anything about Joseph’s help in Jesus’ birth if Mary had a painful birth. Joseph’s help in this case would be important to show that Mary would not have sinned during Jesus’ birth by swaddling Him and placing Him on the manger…IF Mary had a painful labor and birth.

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