What no one tells you about labor & delivery

These are the lovely things that some or most of you may not know if you have never been through childbirth. You will be surprised how many of these things were never told to you in a class!

  1. Birth Plans: Birth plans are wonderful to have. I prefer to call them a birth preference. I cannot tell you how many of my friends had specific, detailed “birth plans” and they experienced none of what they wanted. I know a girl who wanted a completely, all natural, no drugs birth. She wanted to use hypnosis and a birthing tub. Guess what? She had a scheduled C-section because the baby was breech and they couldn’t turn him. It is great to have your preferences, but be prepared to change them if things aren’t going your way.
  2. Pain Medications: You might be dead set that you do NOT want any medications. You might change your mind once you get into labor and that’s ok! Don’t try to be a superhero. Everyone’s labor is different and everyone tolerates pain differently. Also, you may be set on medications and not have time. One of my best friends got to the hospital when she was 9cm and they wouldn’t let her have any medications. This is more common than you think.
  3. Inductions Hurt: By 38 weeks you may be begging your OB or midwife to induce you. Don’t be too quick to want this. If your body isn’t ready this will only make things harder. Plus, pitocin (the drug used to induce you) makes your contractions more frequent and more intense, making labor MUCH, MUCH more painful.
  4. No FOOD: You will not be allowed to eat when you officially get admitted to the hospital. Digestion can slow down your labor and doctors will also be concerned about choking. You WILL BE starving when it is over.(PS- They will let you have clear liquids like ice chips, water, apple juice, etc)
  5. Puking: You may puke during labor or delivery. This is normal. Your body is going through a very painful, vigorous process. It is normal for your stomach to feel unsettled. You may feel nauseated either from the epidural or just from the pain in general. Make sure you have a puke bucket ready. The last thing you want is to be covered in your own vomit.
  6. Shivering: I call this the “shakes.” You may experience the shakes when you are in pain. I remember I was shaking SO hard when they were trying to put my epidural in. They kept yelling at me to stop, but it was an involuntary movement! Your body is in intense pain and you are nervous. Sometimes your body will react this way.
  7. Water Breaking: Um… Yea.. So in the movies they always act like your water breaks and then its done.. Yea it keeps coming out until you delivery. Maybe not gushing the whole time, but you will feel like you are just continuously pissing yourself. It is gross and you just basically sit in it until the nurses come and change out the pad underneath you. This is very uncomfortable.
  8. Pooping/Passing Gas: You may poop or pass gas either during labor or delivery. Remember, your baby is passing through your birth canal compressing your rectum making things come out. Then when you are pushing, it may happen as well. Trust me when I tell you… You will not care. Don’t worry about it.
  9. Pushing:  You’d like to think that pushing is that simple… but it isn’t. It’s not nearly as easy as you might think and don’t be surprised if you push for over an hour with your first child. There is a specific way you need to push in order for the push to be productive. You need to push like you are pooping (hence the reason many women poop).
  10. Epidurals Don’t Always Work: Epidurals don’t always work. Yup! There are a million reasons. Two of the most common being that it may not have been put in place properly or you may be having back labor. Either way you may still feel the pain or it may only take the edge off.
  11. Birth Is Messy: Childbirth is messy. I already told you that you will be leaking fluid once your water breaks. Then your doctor/midwife will come in for the delivery dressed in rain gear from head to toe. This is because delivery is messy. A lot of blood and amniotic fluid will come out and it will be everywhere. It is messy.
  12. Everyone will be looking at your vagina: A lot of people will be up close and personal with your vagina. Your doctor or midwife, the nurse on duty, the next nurse after shift change, the resident who comes in to observe, the nurses waiting to check out the baby when he/she is born.
  13. You will be extremely exhausted: You will be more exhausted than you can possibly imagine. You aren’t allowed to eat, you are dealing with extreme pain and then you will be pushing for a long time. This will take every ounce of energy that you have. Be prepared to feel like you just worked out for 3 hours straight.
  14. It could be easier: It may be easier than you are imagining. You may have heard every horror story in the world. You may be expecting the worst pain and then the day comes and you may tolerate it WAY better than you thought. A friend of mine said it was a breeze. She delivered both of her children without drugs, didn’t go to the hospital until 8-9cm because she wasn’t really in that much pain and than pushed for 10 minutes each time.
  15. YOU CAN DO IT: No matter how bad I just made it seem or anyone else makes it seem. You will make it. You will be surprised how strong you are. You will think many times during the process that you just can’t do it anymore, but then something will come over you and you will realize that you CAN do this. You will feel like warrior when you are done. You are awesome!

One thought on “What no one tells you about labor & delivery

  1. I never really understood my friends’ obsessions with watching ‘One born every minute’, but I have to say I think your last point iterates exactly why I will probably watch them too – people do it every day, and just seeing others succeed helps give you hope that you can too!

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