Let’s admit, pregnancy is a pretty long journey. And the culmination – childbirth – isn’t any easy on the expectant mom either. But through this journey, knowing what to expect out of childbirth can help you brace up for what’s coming your way. Based on my own experience, here are a few things every expectant mom should know about childbirth:
1. Nothing Will Go As Per Your Plans
Exactly! Because childbirth is extremely unpredictable. But having a plan helps when you need to make on-the-spot decisions.
2. All That Research You Did Doesn’t Go Waste
Most people might advise you otherwise, but research and reading up childbirth-related books do help. For instance, you’ll know why it’s important for your baby to cry soon after birth!
3. You’ll Not Know When You Might Go Into Labor
Especially if it is your first time. Most women experience it as something akin to leaving wind!
4. It Can Take Longer Than You Expected
Although the nursing staff will tell you that you’ll be done in 5-6 hours (that’s what I was told), it usually lasts much longer than that. It took me nearly 21 hours of labor before finally delivering my child. Things could be different, though, for elective surgery.
5. A Pain-Break Does Occur In Between
You might not notice it when you are in throes of labor pain. But after a while, you’ll start experiencing a break of 3-5 minutes in between contractions.
6. You Can Control Your Response
The intense labor pains will surely take you by surprise. You can’t control their intensity or the areas where you’ll experience the pain. But you will eventually learn to control your response to the contractions.
7. If You Want An Epidural, Decide Quickly
This is because the process of epidural takes some time too. It took almost an hour for me. Also, if there are other patients, it might take a longer time.
8. The Epidural Might Come With A Catheter
This catheter is administered to you in your spinal area.
9. The Epidural Does Hurt, But Less Than Labor
Yes, it did hurt a bit when an epidural catheter was inserted. But, it was much less than the labor pain that I was experiencing. However, every woman has a different pain tolerance level. Mine was less, I guess!
10. You’ll Still Be Able To Feel Mild Contractions
An epidural doesn’t mean that you’ll not be able to feel the contractions at all. You’ll still feel mild sensations.
11. The Numbness In Your Legs Might Scare You
Within minutes of getting epidural, I couldn’t feel my legs. And that did scare me a bit!
12. There’ll Be Tubes And Wires All Over You
There will be so many tubes and wires attached to you to monitor you and your baby. You’ll get used to them soon enough.
13. The Epidural Can Be Turned Off
If during the contractions, you don’t feel anything at all, then inform your doctor. They can turn off or reduce the epidural, which did come as a surprise to me.
14. You’ll Be On Full Display And Still Not Care About It
Initially, you might get conscious about your hospital robe in the presence of male nurses or doctors. But, soon you’ll stop caring where it falls. You just want to get done with it!
15. Your Baby’s Well-Being Will Be Your Top Priority
Your only thought throughout will be if your baby is doing well.
16. Your Spouse Will Be Just As Hassled As You
It might surprise you a bit, but even as your spouse runs around filling hospital forms, he’ll be as worried and hassled about it as you are.
17. You’ll Know Exactly When You Are Ready To Push
Despite being in labor for quite a few hours, you’ll still know exactly when you are ready to push the baby.
18. You Might Throw Up…
There are chances that you might throw up a bit. Some women find the smell of medications and body fluids quite overwhelming. But that’s completely normal.
19…Or Poop A Bit
and that is normal too. Your bowels might be emptied during the day. But if the labor lasts longer, a little bit of poop does come out.
20. The Baby’s Heart Rate Might Fluctuate
For my first time, the cervix took a lot of time to dilate. And I was often told that my baby’s heart rate was fluctuating and if it dipped a lot, then a C-section might be done. But that situation did not arrive.
21. Deep Breathing Will Become Your Best Friend
You’ll find those excruciating pains bearable each time you take a deep breath. You’ll also need to breathe deeply to push the baby out.
22. Pushing Is A Lot Of Hard Work
23. Your Obstetrician Will Arrive Only To Catch The Baby
It’s the labor room nurses and doctors who’ll monitor you throughout the time.
24. That Relief After The Baby Comes Out Is Followed By Nervousness
You’ll feel a mountain of relief once the baby comes out. But you’ll feel nervous the moment the baby is taken away by the nurse for cleansing.
25. It Isn’t Over Even After The Baby Comes Out
Because you’ll be delivering your placenta as well.
Childbirth is not easy. However, you can find solace in the fact that very soon your baby will be in your arms. And whatever troubles you’ve gone through to reach this point will all seem worth the effort!