23 Things Nobody Tells You About Labour
When it comes to talking about childbirth, women who’ve been there done that usually fall into two camps.
Theres the ones who love to relay the horror stories, and the ones who suddenly go coy. Thankfully, you have us to give it to you straight…
1. You might never see a “bloody show.” Most books rate this as a huge telltale sign that labour is imminent, but not everyone will lose the mucus plug (or notice it) before everything kicks off. Thankfully.
2. It’s hard to pinpoint when labour actually starts. There’s no alarm to herald the beginning of contractions; instead there are cramps and plenty of wondering “is this it?” which can go on for days. Yes, days.
3. There’s no way to predict the pain. It really depends on the woman, but it helps to know exactly what your body is doing and to practice breathing or visualisation exercises.
4. Your waters probably won’t break when you’re in the supermarket. In fact, that only happens about 15 per cent of women. For everyone else, it happens as labour progresses.
5. There’s no rush to get to the hospital. Seriously, unless you have a history of quick births, you can take your time getting ready to leave. If you arrive in the early stages of labour, you may even be sent home. Nobody wants that.
6. You’ll probably be as excited as you are nervous. Not many women actively look forward to childbirth, but after nine months of waiting, those contractions will probably have you giddy more than scared.
7. It’s best not to text everyone in your phonebook to say things are moving. If you do, prepare to be hounded for the coming hours. Unless you fancy answering texts between contractions?
8. Trusting your body, and the process, will make things easier. Work with it, not against it.
9. If you fancy an epidural, ask for it sooner rather than later. Depending on how busy the anesthesiologist is, they might not be able to fit you in.
10. You might puke. It’s your body’s reaction to the pain, just go with it.
11. Things can sometimes slow down, or even go backwards. You may have to work to keep labour progressing.
12. You and the baby will be monitored constantly. It can be reassuring, but also annoying when you want to move around.
13. Contractions sometimes double up. When your body really gets into it, it might skip the break. It’s good though, it means things are moving double fast.
14. Transition is the most intense stage. Many women report they sort of go primal and feel a loss of control, others completely get in the zone and block out everything else.
15. When the baby is close to being delivered, it feels like it’s coming out your bum. Ever been constipated? This is the next level.
16. Poop happens. And you’ll be able to smell it. But the nurses (who’ve seen it all before) will get rid of it STAT.
17. Pushing can feel really, really good. When the pressure has been building for hours and hours, bearing down can bring a sense of relief.
18. Tearing is not as bad as it sounds. If it happens, the skin will have already been stretched paper-thin so you’ll barely even notice.
19. The baby might come out really fast...
20. Or it might come out in stages, or even need a helping hand from forceps or a vacuum.
21. How you feel when you hold your baby for the first time might be unexpected. You could feel complete and utter joy, or fear, or a little bit anxious. Maybe even a combination of them all.
22. But you still have to deliver the placenta. Although it’s so soft you’ll barely notice it.
23. No matter how you feel at the time, you will always – ALWAYS – remember this day fondly.
Are there any hints you would share?