You’ve probably been reading hundreds of articles, asked your mum, friends or GP most of the questions which came to your mind, while trying to find answers to countless questions before giving birth, right?
Because it’s always best to know everything, even the unexpected side effects or unpleasant details, we’ve rounded up a few of the most unknown facts (at least for us!) surrounding birth. So read on to find advice from different forums, our mama colleagues here in the office, and official medical sites such as nhs.uk, patient.info, and webmd.com.
1. Prepare To Go With The Flow
“No matter how meticulous your childbirth plan, you can’t plan how long it will take, how much pain you will be able to bear, how easy or not it’s going to be for you.”
2. You Might Get Sent Home
“If you arrive at the hospital but aren’t dilated enough (3cm minimum) then they might ask you to go home and come back later.”
3. You Might Poop While You Push Baby
“Epidural or not, this can happen because of the amount of pressure your body will go through. But really, don’t be mortified, because you will be living this moment so intensely that you won’t care at all whether you are or not.”
4. Channel the Push From Down Below
“Try not to push with your face by clenching your jaw, but instead try pushing from down below. Also, try to control your urge to push if you aren’t dilated enough.”
5. Stand Your Ground
“If you question their plan of action during the delivery, make it known. Personal autonomy and empowerment come through consent and choice. If you’d prefer a doula (a trained professional generally used for home birth) to help you on the day, give birth unmedicated, give birth in a pool or at home – let it be known!”
6. Don’t Be Ashamed to Say When You’re Not Coping Mentally & Physically
“During your pregnancy or after, if you are feeling anxious or are struggling emotionally, don’t be afraid to reach out to perinatal mental health support. Same goes for a change of initial birth plan, if you can’t bear the pain any longer, let your nurses know as soon as possible that you need help and want an epidural. Because if you wait too long, you might pass the time slot when they can give it to you.”
7. You & the Baby Will Be in Diapers
“Whether it’s a C-section or a vaginal birth, you’ll need to accept vaginal bleeding after the birth for weeks. So, make sure to pack a few thick sanitary towels in your bag.”
8. Pitocin Contractions Are NO Joke
“Pitocin is a hormone which stimulates the uterus by making it contract. Giving a boost of Pitocin is needed to help get things going or keep labour on track – but be warned, the contractions might be more painful.”
9. You Will Deliver Twice
“After your baby is born you will also have to deliver the placenta, the bag that held your baby and the amniotic fluid, within 30 minutes of the delivery. Doctors might give you a dose of Pitocin to encourage the uterus to release it.”
10. The Feeling After Is as Intense
“You may cry intensely, smile uncontrollably, or shake entirely from the pain, the joy, the exhaustion, and achievement you might be feeling.”
11. Postpartum Night Sweats
“After your baby is born, know that your body will naturally get rid of excess fluid, and as a consequence, you might have to deal with an unpleasant postpartum symptom: night sweats. You will wake up in the middle of the night feeling soaked through your clothing or bedding. Don’t panic, it’s absolutely normal, simply drink plenty of water, change your pyjamas, and protect your bedding with a towel or rubber sheet underneath.”
12. You’re in Pain, Not in Danger
“Your brain might enter into panic mode because of the pain it’s never experienced before. So, try to remember that you are not in any imminent danger but experiencing deep pain.”
13. Get Ready for a Lot of Opinions
“Everybody has their opinion whether it’s on C-sections, breast-feeding, sleep routines, and in general how mums are supposed to do everything the “right way”. But know that you might not be able to breast-feed, will choose to get a C-section, or will need more time to start loving your child. Unfortunately, some people are strongly opinionated, and you might feel judged for your choices and how you raise your child. Don’t let them make you feel guilty or weird for it, because you know in yourself that everyone has different experiences and reasons for doing things how they do them.”
14. Every Child is Different
“It is important to keep reminding yourself that every child is different. There is no right or wrong way of bringing up a child and you should never compare your child’s progress to others! Do what feels right for you and your child, trust your gut and be led by your child’s needs – if they are healthy and happy, then you are doing an amazing job!”
We hope you’ve discovered a few new facts, but if you’ve got to remember one thing, the most important, is that you’ve got this mama! You’ll be surprised at what your body can endure, and how amazing it is.
Going through pregnancy and labour will make you see just how incredibly strong and resilient you are. Although the pain can seem terrifying, know this: you WILL boss it and feel like a complete badass afterwards!