Mary and Labor Pains

Dis Mary experience labor pains? Proof?

St. Pope John Paul II, General Audience 28 August 1996

Her virginity “during and after giving birth”, although implicit in the title virgin already attributed to Mary from the Church’s earliest days, became the object of deep doctrinal study since some began explicitly to cast doubts on it. Pope St Hormisdas explains that “the Son of God became Son of man, born in time in the manner of a man, opening his mother’s womb to birth [cf. Lk 2:23] and, through God’s power, not dissolving his mother’s virginity” (DS 368). This doctrine was confirmed by the Second Vatican Council, which states that the firstborn Son of Mary did not diminish his Mother’s virginal integrity but sanctified it (Lumen gentium, n. 57).

Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, p. 205:

"Virginity During the Birth of Jesus
Mary bore her Son without any violation of her virginal integrity. (De fide on the ground of the general promulgation of doctrine.)
The dogma merely asserts the fact of the continuance of Mary’s physical virginity without determining more closely how this is to be physiologically explained. In general the Fathers and the Schoolmen conceived it as non-injury to the hymen, and accordingly taught that Mary gave birth in miraculous fashion without opening of the womb and injury.

The Church’s general teaching is expressed in her Liturgy also. Cf. the Responsorium to the fifth Lesson of the Feast of Christmas, and to the eighth Lesson of the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord."

So does that also mean that Jesus was born vaginally?


Lateran Council, Oct, 649, DS 503: “If anyone does not in accord with the Holy Fathers acknowledge the holy and ever virgin and immaculate Mary was really and truly the Mother of God, inasmuch as she, in the fullness of time, and without seed, conceived by the Holy Spirit, God in the Word Himself, who before all time was born of God the Father, and without loss of integrity brought Him forth, and after His birth preserved her virginity inviolate, let him be condemned.”

Miraculously, how? She did or did not give birth through the birth canal?

Well according to private revelations I read, God put her into a deep sleep and when she woke up the Baby was in her arms.

It was kinda like how Jesus passed through the locked door of the Apostles house in the New Testament .

The others really didn’t answer about “pain”, but about virginity.
Yes, she had labor pains.
I am not sure I like someone requiring “proof”; you are like the Jews, demanding signs of Jesus before you believe the one sent to you.

Only those who believe without seeing proof are blessed, because without faith you cannot please God.

Okay, now that you realize your blessedness is at stake when you require proof before believing, Look now at the ark of the covenant seen by one in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day. Read the description of it and don’t doubt the one sent to tell you things. Me?, no, believe St. John, who saw the Ark of the Covenant, the Woman clothed in the sun, with moon at her feet and a crown of twelve stars, and “was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.”

Does it really matter, as Scripture is silent on this issue?


Well you know that the book of revelation are mostly about symbols and visions that have all kinds of meanings this could mean that she give birth to the Church also since she’s the mother of the Church.

Faith. Please.
Whether she delivered vaginally, or Jesus mystically and miraculously appeared in her arms.
We KNOW she carried Him in her womb.
She’s His mother.
She’s your mother.

Your OCD is acting up again.
Take a deep breath. Prayers offered for your peace.

Is it not church teaching that Mary gave birth to Christ without pain to show the removal of the Curse and Her role as the New Eve?

No tissue damage in the organs.

This gets me thinking. How exactly, if the Fall hadn’t happened, would women give birth without pain? Different anatomy? Their body would produce painkillers? Something miraculous? Babies were born smaller?
I fail to see how this could conceivably not be painful.

It makes sense that it was miraculous, otherwise Joseph would have had to become some kind midwife and I can’t see that happening.

Actually, Joseph had relatives in the surrounding area, but that’s beside the point.

As John Martin here quoted Holy Scripture, yes, she did experience labor pains. It is written in Holy Scripture. So that should answer your question.

As far as the other ‘teachings’ that were posted on here, I would say they are more theories about the issue than actual Catholic teachings. The same way the assumption of Mary was a theory for many years until it was made part of teaching by Pope Pius XII in 1950 or so. Even with that, Pius left some things about that concept open to interpretation. What was posted here as teaching regarding the birth of Jesus ‘passing as a ray of light’, I’m not even aware is an actual ‘teaching’ of the church, but conjecture from those in the past trying to understand. I want that to be made clear.

To me, the fixation of the female anatomy and whether or not the body of a baby passed through it is really weird (not to mention offensive to rape victims), but I do understand it has something to do with Old Testament Jewish teaching on purity- not the sinful kind, but that of a bodily kind, more having to do with keeping health and cleanliness. At least, that is what I was told and is what makes sense to me.

Having a baby or having something pass through your vaginal canal does not make you “not a virgin”. Young girls are taught that wearing tampons before they have sex doesn’t mean they aren’t virgins anymore. (I remember a tampon ad addressing that issue in the 1980’s- example of one such ad is on this webpage: ) Giving birth is not sexual, virginity (in the moral sense) has to do with chasteness and purity of intentions of heart on matters regarding sexual intercourse. So why it is an issue, other than what the ancient OT Jewish teachings on the matter, I can’t understand.

 Also, just as God protected Mary from original sin by preventing her to be tainted with it, if having a baby the 'normal woman way' would mean her virginity would be no longer, then I think God could prevent her from being 'soiled' from that too....   which is what I think these teachings were about...   ** But I don't believe it,** because the teaching doesn't match with what I know of Scripture, as John Martin pointed out here.    Going through labor pains, without actual birth is kind of silly.  What is the point?  To me that sort of says that going through the sufferings of life doesn't matter, that it all ends up that there is no afterlife later, that it was all pointless, that suffering is just an illusion.   Jesus died on the cross.  The church is known to teach that suffering matters and that we can offer that up.   We are taught that suffering is because of original sin... and that Mary was prevented from having original sin, but she surely suffered in her life, in more than one way.  SO did Jesus, and He is The Messiah, Son of God.  

I think this idea of Jesus passing through Mary as a ray of light during birth, is something that is left out there for explanation, but is still left open for interpretation. Its NOT actual teaching. Its still a mystery of faith. Its an idea that tries to comprehend that which is hard to fathom.

… At least, that is how I understand it. Someone correct me if I am wrong.

That’s why it’s miraculous, we can’t explain how, if we could then it wouldn’t be a miracle.

Jesus is the Messiah.
Mary is His mother.
That’s the long and short of it.
Anything is possible with God.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit