Awww, the miracle of birth, or is it? There are times when the birthing experience can be anything but miraculous. Thank goodness there’s a happy and healthy child at the end of it because we’re not sure women would go through these experiences again.
There’s so much information out there in the world that we’re discovering many things that we may not have known otherwise. These days, you don’t even have to wait for an appointment with your doctor. Many people can call or text their doctor if they have a question about their pregnancy that needs answering right away. The doctor’s job is to give you all the information that you need to get through your pregnancy and to also have a safe labor experience. But sometimes, doctors don’t always tell you what you need to know, and it’s these secrets that may make some women run screaming into the night. So, maybe that’s why they aren’t offering up the information unless you ask them straight out. The one thing that a doctor doesn’t want is for you to start freaking out before you go into labor because that can cause a dangerous situation for both the woman and her baby. They want the mother to believe that the labor process is easy and that they’ll have no problems with it.
Whether or not you prefer to live your life with rose-colored glasses, we’re breaking down the door on some things that happen during labor that your doctor doesn’t want you to know.
15. Catheters Are a Thing
Just hearing the word “catheters” makes us cringe, right? There are just some things that go on during labor that you really wish weren’t happening to you. It’s an experience that many people don’t even want to discuss because it’s so weird. When it comes to having a C-section, it’s essential to have a catheter put in so that the mother can still urinate; it usually stays in there for the first night after the baby is born as well. It’s because there’s a lot of pain involved, and getting to the bathroom to urinate will seem like an impossible task. It also helps to prevent infection around the surgical area when it comes to going to the bathroom. It’s just one of those things that occur during labor that we don’t realize and would probably rather not think about.
14. Water Breaking Can Happen Multiple Times
When we’re pregnant, we hear about how our water breaks as the defining moment that we really need to get to the hospital. It’s how we know that labor has progressed and that the baby could come at any time. What you may not realize is that your water can break multiple times before you give birth. “Having your water break is nothing like the movies; it does not come out all at once like dumping out a pitcher of water. It will usually be a trickle down your leg or like peeing your pants. Also, there is the possibility of having it occur more than once before going into labor” (FamilyShare). It’s just one of those moments in life that can have you feeling like you’re going to pee yourself. It’s not the most glamorous part of the labor process.
13. Sometimes, They Have to Use a Hook
Women assume that when they go into labor, their water is going to break. That’s what they’re told after all, and usually, it’s the case for most everyone. But sometimes, the water doesn’t break, and what then? You’re in labor, and the water needs to be broken before the baby can come out. It turns out that the doctor will use a hook-like gadget to break your water and get things moving. “It is a very big possibility that your water will not break at all while still going into labor. At this point, a nurse or doctor will do it for you, with a lovely hook-like tool” (FamilyShare). Yuck, it almost seems barbaric, but we suppose they haven’t found a better method of doing it. It definitely wouldn’t be something that a mother would want to see being inserted inside of her.
12. Drugs Don’t Always Work
Not all women get painkillers during their labor, but there are some mothers who cannot wait for the sweet release that the epidural will bring them when they finally get to the hospital. They don’t want to deal with pain in any way, and they’re barking out orders to have the epidural inserted immediately. If you’re one of these women, you might want to prepare yourself for the chance that the epidural might not work because there are no guarantees. “This kinda seems like bad news because we all know that an epidural can turn labor into feeling like you are being ripped in half to feeling blissfully happy and numb. This doesn’t happen often, but because of the way your body is or not being able to administer the epidural into the right spot in time, there may be times where even with the epidural, you will feel all the pain” (FamilyShare).
11. Your Baby Could Be a Conehead
True story. Although it won’t be as drastic as in the movie, it does happen. During the process of delivering the baby, the head can, at times, get squashed, and that can result in a conehead. But fear not; it won’t stay that way. At birth, the bones are not yet hardened, which is great news since the baby has to travel through a cervix that may not always be the right size for its head. Shockingly enough, the bones in the skull will actually shift so that the baby can safely get through the canal. Crazy, right? Regardless of what the head comes out like, it will return to normal; it may just take a few days, sometimes a week. We can imagine many parents freaking out, though, if they didn’t know this beforehand and then saw their misshapen baby. Just get your baby a knitted hat, and no one will know the wiser.
10. Vomiting Happens
Isn’t labor bad enough without having to worry about vomiting? We all know that during pregnancy, many women experience morning sickness, and we kind of expect that it’s going to happen. But we don’t expect that to happen while we’re in labor. Labor is a very painful experience, and nausea and vomiting can be a side effect of feeling that kind of immense pain. “When I told the nurse that I was on the verge of puking, she gave me a bucket and told me that it’s a normal side-effect to pain. Luckily, I never had to use the bucket, and my magical epidural made everything better. Many women aren’t as fortunate” (Baby Gaga). A sudden drop in the mother’s blood pressure can also be a reason why she experiences vomiting. Labor is often an assault on the body, so it’s not surprising that something like this would happen.
9. It Takes Time for The Belly to Disappear
As women, our bodies change so much during pregnancy that we can’t wait until the pregnancy is over so that we can get our bodies back. A lot of women assume that once the baby is gone, then so goes the belly, but that really isn’t how it works. You may want to hang onto the maternity clothing just a little while longer because you won’t get rid of that bloated belly look right away. It’s likely that you’ll still look that way for about a week or two. The quickest way to get rid of the after-baby fat is to exercise — and only after the doctor has approved that you’re okay to begin. It’s always best to start off slow until you get back into the swing of things. Part of the reason why you still have a belly after the baby is because your uterus is still contracted from when it allowed for the birth of the baby. It takes a few weeks for it to go back to the normal position.
8. You Can Have an Accident
Labor can be a humiliating experience for women because literally, anything can happen. Sometimes, when you think you’re pushing for the baby to come out, the doctor may get a surprise. “Because you have to push out a baby, that pushing sensation can also push something else out, poop. Some say that it is the feeling of having to go number two that lets you know the baby is about to come out, and so what comes out with the baby is completely normal. You probably won’t even know it happened, and the doctors and nurses are so used to it that it won’t be a big deal at all” (FamilyShare). No big deal? Sure, but if you do find out that you pooped all over your doctor, that can be very embarrassing. Having children sounds like it’s a battleground. Gross.
7. Eating Isn’t Allowed
Women can be in labor for hours at a time, even a full 24-hour period. When you’re in labor, the last thing that you think about is food; trust us. Early on in the labor process, you might be allowed a few snacks, but the doctor really doesn’t want you to eat at all. You may think that this is a little unfair, but the reason why they do this is just in case you have a C-section. The belly needs to be empty for this kind of surgery, so food is off limits until you have the baby. It’s unlikely that you’ll feel hungry anyway, but you can dream about pizza as soon as it’s over with. Some women have been known to eat ice throughout their labor because it gives them the feeling of eating, and it’s refreshing as well.
6. Your Doctor Probably Won’t Deliver Your Baby
It doesn’t always happen. Some people are lucky enough to get their own doctor during the birthing process, but a lot of women don’t. That is, unless you’re famous. Doctors are on call all the time to deliver babies, and there’s always the chance that when you go into labor, your doctor will be somewhere else, either in surgery or delivering someone else’s child. It sucks because you’re comfortable with your own doctor, and it’s likely you’ll have a stranger during delivery. “It sounds scarier than you think, and all this means is that if your doctor has partners or happens to not be on call when you go into labor, a different doctor will come in and take over. Plus, most of the time, doctors aren’t even there until the baby is actually coming out, and it’s the nurses who will be with you the whole time” (FamilyShare).
5. Sometimes, They Use a Vacuum
It’s true. If there’s any kind of complication during the delivery process, doctors will decide to use a vacuum to get the baby out quickly. Some situations require it because they need to get the baby out quickly, and they can’t wait. It’s not supposed to be a dangerous procedure. “As weird as it sounds, there are times when this procedure is completely necessary and life-saving, like if you suffer from preeclampsia. Apparently, the apparatus that sucks the baby out does not resemble an actual vacuum, and most women don’t notice it happening. What they do notice is the cute little cone your new baby might have on their head for a couple of days” (FamilyShare). We’ve already talked about those cute little coneheads, and the vacuum can certainly cause that look on your baby, but it’s not something that’s permanent.
4. Everyone’s Going to See
There’s no glamour involved in the delivery process. In fact, you have very little privacy during the whole experience. You’re exposed in the most awkward position, and there are usually a few nurses and the doctor who see pretty much everything. It can make you feel violated and exposed. Unfortunately, there are times when medical students have to be there in order to learn the whole process, which means you have even more people looking at your lady bits. Many women would have a problem with this, but there isn’t too much that can be done about it, as it’s part of the process of becoming a nurse or a doctor. There’s a chance that you may be able to request that only specific personnel are present, but there are no guarantees. Sorry, ladies. It’s just an embarrassing part of the process.
3. It’ll Feel Like Forever
Some women go through labor, and it’s quick and kind of painless, while for others, the labor seems to go on forever. Even a five-hour labor can feel as if you’re never going to get through it, but for those who have labor that’s ten-plus hours, it can feel like it’s endless. If you’re a first-time mom, it can take even longer because your body isn’t used to giving birth. It can be an exhausting process because you’re required to push for endless hours, and some women feel as if they can’t go on. It’s always a good idea to take Lamaze classes because it’ll prepare you for the process, and you’ll at least have some idea what’s going on and how you can get through it. Labor coaches or Doulas are also helpful, and they’ll be in the room with you.
2. You Can Turn into Mr. Hyde
Labor is a strenuous process that’s filled with exhaustion and pain. It can be a harrowing experience for even the most loving and kind women. When you’re in constant pain, you can often feel as if every little thing going on around you is annoying. “Rub my back, please. . . DON’T TOUCH ME!” Yes, it can happen that fast. It may be the pain causing the sudden personality change. For some women, feeling like they have no control over what’s going to happen in the next few. . . or several. . . hours is frightening. They may think they want something, like the back rub. When it happens, they realize, ‘No, that’s not what. . . JUST GET AWAY FROM ME’” (BabyGaga)! It’s completely normal for a woman to experience the ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ persona in such a stressful situation.
1. You Won’t Use Toilet Paper
After the experience of childbirth, it can leave the lady bits a little sore. The trauma that you go through down there can make it impossible to wipe for a while. Sounds terrible, doesn’t it? That’s the price we women have to pay in order to get the miracle of life. “Because of the stitches and just pushing out a child, the area down there is going to be especially tender for the next little while. There is something called a ‘peri bottle,’ which is basically a little squirt bottle to clean up and sanitize that area when toilet paper is still a little too rough” (FamilyShare). It’s embarrassing to think that you’ll have to use a squirt bottle to freshen up after going to the bathroom, but trust us, you’re not going to want to use toilet paper.
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