Is It True? Almost All Childbirth Questions You’re Dying to Ask, Answered by Moms
Labor is one of life’s great mysteries for those of us who have never experienced it. On the one hand, there are stories of the magical and even orgasmic ecstasy that women have after childbirth.
On the other hand, horror stories abound of times when it’s tiresome, agonizing, and downright revolting. Everyone who hasn’t experienced labor wishes to know what it’s like, yet most people are too polite to inquire of mothers who have. Except for me. I inquired. I also learned about the good, the terrible, and the poop (yes, there is poop).
1. How much does it really hurt?
We all know that labor is painful, but how bad is it? Is it as painful as a scratched cornea or an allergic reaction to yeast infection treatment (don’t ask)? I asked two mothers to explain it in layman’s terms for the rest of us. “Labor feels like a very enormous and vicious boa constrictor coiled around your abdomen, squeezing with increasing frequency and intensity,” one person explained.
Another mother just stated that the pain is in a class by itself and that attempting to compare it to anything else is an insult. “Tell me about your broken leg and let me laugh at you because it’s nothing compared to childbirth,” she says. Ouch.
2. Super-long labors: myth or horrifying reality?
A basic online search for “average labor time for first kid” returns results ranging from 8 to 12 hours. However, anecdotal evidence (that is, any mother’s testimony after a glass of Chardonnay) tells a different narrative. One woman I spoke with fought for two days before the doctors gave up and performed a C-section on her. Another clocked it at 32 hours, but only 16 (!) of them were uncomfortable, according to her.
Labor isn’t the only activity that can take a long time. After her third kid overstayed her due date by three weeks, one mother became dangerously unwell. (Full disclosure: the mother and child were both mine) And please accept my heartfelt apologies, Mom.)
3. Does your vagina really tear during labor?
Before I give you the awful news, I’ll give you a chance to recuperate from imagining (and feeling) the terror of that inquiry. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yeah, yes According to studies, the perineum is damaged in 53–79 percent of all women during delivery (the area between the anus and vulva). Tearing or a surgical cut called an episiotomy, which your doctor may perform if they believe it is essential, might cause damage. Long recuperation durations may be required, and the trauma may permanently alter the experience of intercourse, leading to urinary or anal incontinence.
Those facts alone are enough to make me want to cross my legs indefinitely, and the mothers I spoke with confirmed my suspicions. One mother had to tear with her first delivery, which she blamed on pushing despite being warned not to, but was able to avoid it with subsequent deliveries by lubricating the region with olive oil.
Another mother I spoke with underwent an episiotomy but was still suffering from third-degree tearing. “My kid’s head was nearly 13 inches around,” she explained. Something had to give, and I knew it was going to be my skin.”
So, there you have it: Legs. Crossed. Forever.
4. To drug or not to drug?
One of the most contentious issues on mommy blogs is whether or not to accept an epidural during birth. The responses of the mothers I polled were diverse. One stated she had an epidural, but it wasn’t very effective, and she could still feel every stitch when her episiotomy was stitched up. “I would take medicines if I fractured a bone, so why wouldn’t I for this, which is a thousand times worse?” she defended the decision.
Another mother I spoke with stated she went drug-free for all four (FOUR) of her children’s births, describing the experience as a natural high. In any case, it appears that there isn’t so much a “correct” response as a “one that is good for you.” Moms aren’t nearly as into epidural-shaming in real life as they are on message boards. So, what’s the deal with that?
5. Do you poop in front of everyone?
I had only heard about labor pooping from “edgy” romantic flicks, and I was hoping it was a myth. As it turns out, there was no such fortunate. It’s fairly frequent, according to medical professionals, and one parent (who also happens to be a doctor) says, “If there’s poop in your sigmoid colon and/or rectum, it will be squeezed out when the baby’s head comes down through that tiny hole.”
The greatest thing you can do is try to relieve yourself ahead of time. But if that doesn’t work out, you’ll just have to concentrate on one of the other 100 sensations you’re having. Also, keep in mind that life goes on.
6. Does any of the deep breathing stuff work?
The prevailing view on breathing techniques’ effectiveness appears to be “not really.” However, some mothers claim that they provide a useful distraction for at least a few hours.
7. Do you yell mean things at the doctors and nurses, and, if so, do you feel bad about it in retrospect?
This is another area about which my knowledge is based primarily on films, but childbirth appears to be one of the few occasions in life when it is acceptable to scream your wrath at everyone around you. Of course, not every mother takes advantage of this.
One woman said she attempted to be on her best behavior despite the agony because she wanted to make a good impression as one of the hospital’s first same-sex parents. Another admitted to causing a ruckus in the birth area by yelling the midwife’s name “so loudly the windows shook.” She claims, however, that she felt awful about it. She felt so awful for the midwife that she named her daughter after her.
8. Can your partner ever look at you the same way again?
To be honest, this is the portion of the business that concerns me the most. After all, we’ve established that during birth, you scream, cry, and defecate, which isn’t how most of us want our partners to imagine us. While some people may be permanently damaged by the sight of a lady transforming into the girl from “The Exorcist,” none of the mothers I spoke with shared this sentiment. One woman expressed concern that her wife would no longer find her attractive, which she later realized was silly.
“I didn’t enjoy her seeing me break apart like that,” she admits. And I sobbed. I sobbed because it ached and I was exhausted — being up for two days does that to you — and I didn’t want to be a bother, so I cried. But she was so nice and patient with me, and she didn’t seem to mind if I sobbed or s—ed the bed. She was concerned about my well-being and the well-being of our child.”
Despite the less-than-pleasant aspects, most labor stories end happily, with families becoming closer than they have ever been. After all, one of nature’s most beautiful and enchanting experiences is labor and delivery. Even said, it’s worth noting that when the time came for that mom’s wife to carry their next child, they chose a planned C-section. There’s no bother, no fuss.
More Childbirth Questions ( Important Questions & Answers )
1. “WILL SEX FEEL DIFFERENTLY AFTER GIVING BIRTH?”
“In all honesty, it will be different – not necessarily worse. Your vaginal tone may be a little looser at first, but with consistent pelvic floor exercises, it will recover.
There may be some discomfort at first, so make sure you’re prepared to convey this to your spouse so they know to take things carefully. It’s a good idea to try intercourse before your 6-week checkup with your doctor so you can tell them about any problems.
Because of your hormones, you may have vaginal dryness, especially if you’re breastfeeding – so stock up on lubrication! Many women indicate that once the first soreness is gone, sex feels better than before, they are more sensitive down there, and they have more orgasms, so it’s not all terrible.”
2. “WILL MY VAGINA TEAR AT ALL?”
Your vaginal muscle is a big muscle that can extend to provide room for the baby while you give birth. Because the perineum, which is the area between your vagina and your anus, stretches a lot when the baby comes out, it is more likely to rip.
If you avoid giving birth lying/sitting down, if the birth of the baby’s head is calm and controlled, and if you have done perineal massage during pregnancy, you will have a lower risk of tearing.
3. “WHEN I FIND OUT I’M PREGNANT, WHAT DO I DO FIRST?”
Consider the date of your last menstruation and enter it into an online calculator to find out how many weeks pregnant you are. Call your GP and request an appointment with the midwife; they may need to know the date of your last period so they can determine how quickly you can see her. It’s preferable to see her while she’s between 8 and 12 weeks pregnant.
If you haven’t been taking the recommended pregnancy supplements since you started trying for a baby (or maybe this baby came as a surprise), start taking 400 micrograms of Folic Acid daily until your baby is 12 weeks old. This helps to protect your baby from neural tube defects such as spina bifida. In addition to 10 milligrammes of Vitamin D per day, it is now suggested that you take no Vitamin A supplements while pregnant, as these can harm your baby.
4. “HOW DO I CHOSE A HOSPITAL?”
“There’s no need to give birth in a hospital.” You could have a home birth, in which case the midwife will come to you. However, the best method to select a hospital is to inquire about the experiences of friends and relatives. It’s not only about what kind of birth they got, though that’s significant, but it’s also about how nice the staff was and how nice the facilities were. Some hospitals have dedicated birthing rooms with pools, soothing lighting, and the ability to play music for natural births.
“Distance from home is also important because you’ll need to get there at any time of day or night while in labour – so don’t choose somewhere that’s a two-hour drive away.”
5. “WHAT DO I BRING TO HOSPITAL WHEN MY WATERS BREAK?”
“Wear a maternity pad (these are thick sanitary towels without the fancy honeycomb coating) if your waters break, and then bring your hospital bag and your pregnancy notes with you after you’ve called the hospital and been asked in. Don’t forget to inform your birthing partner that they must accompany you!”
6. “WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE WHEN YOUR WATERS BREAK?”
“Some women describe it as a popping sensation inside them, with a flood of water that appears out of nowhere or trickles. Some women may experience a persistent moist feeling, necessitating the use of a maternity pad, while others may become completely soaked, necessitating the changing of all clothing and mopping of the floor.
“As pleasant as it sounds, you can sometimes wee yourself in later pregnancy, so it’s best just conducting the sniff test to see if The waters don’t smell like urine.” If you suspect your waters have broken, call your midwife or hospital immediately to report it, as they will most likely want to see you.”
7. “HOW FREQUENTLY DO PEOPLE ACTUALLY POO THEMSELVES DURING GIVING BIRTH?”
“To be honest, not very often — the body has a natural way of emptying itself out as it prepares to go into labour, so you may have had several trips to the bathroom in the days leading up to the big event. But don’t panic if you poo a little (no one has a full bowel movement!) The midwives are quite adept at being undetectable and rapidly disposing of the evidence, so you won’t be the wiser.”
8. “ARE WATER BIRTHS DISCOURAGED?”
“No, Some women, however, require a more medicalized level of care for whatever reason, such as being hooked up to drips or having the baby monitored continually throughout labour — these women would not be permitted to have a water delivery.
9. “HOW ACCURATE IS A SCAN TELLING YOU WHAT SEX THE BABY IS?”
“When you have your 20-week scan, the baby must be lying in a specific position for the “bits” in issue to be visible. If the sonographer is certain that they can see, the result will be 100 percent accurate. The problem arises when they are unable to see those “bits.”
10. “HOW LONG IS THE AVERAGE BIRTH?”
The length of your labour is determined by a variety of factors, including whether you are upright and mobile throughout, the location of your baby, the strength of your contractions, and your overall calm and relaxation. While it’s tempting to start counting down the days until you’re in labour, this isn’t a good idea (and this is why family & friends may report labours that are 3 days long),
Early on in the initial stage of labour, things can be a little uncertain. The womb’s neck shortens and opens up to 4cm, thus this will not be taken into account when the Midwife calculates your labour time.
The active period of labour lasts from 4cm dilation through pushing, which can take up to 8 hours on average, although it can be considerably less or much longer! For first-time mothers, pushing your baby out might take anywhere from 1 to 2 hours.
11. “HOW COMMON ARE EMERGENCY CAESAREANS?”
“Emergency caesareans account for about 15% of all births in the United Kingdom. Emergency Caesareans sections are only performed as a last resort when no other options are available.”
12. “ARE THERE CERTAIN THINGS YOU SHOULD AND SHOULDN’T EAT DURING PREGNANCY?”
Yes, the list is lengthy, and it’s good checking with your local Midwife for the most up-to-date information, as new items are occasionally added to the list. Here are some simple things to stay away from:
- Goat cheese is a soft cheese with a white rind.
- Blue cheese that is soft and creamy
- Meats that are raw or undercooked
- Products containing liver or containing liver
- Tuna should be limited to four cans or two steaks per week.
- Limit oily seafood, such as salmon, to two servings per week.
- Shellfish, raw
- All fruits and vegetables should be washed to remove any soil.
- Soft ice cream should be handled with caution due to the cleanliness of the machines from which it is dispensed!
- Choose decaffeinated drinks to cut down on your caffeine intake.
13. HOW COMMON ARE NATURAL BIRTHS?
It’s a lot more prevalent than you might believe. Many women have normal deliveries, whether in a birthing pool or on dry land, with little or no pain medication, yet these events are rarely discussed. It’s not always how it seems on TV, with screaming mothers and midwives sprinting down corridors… promise!
- Many new MOMs have a lot of questions.
- This article is solely for the purpose of education.
- If you have any questions or concerns, please leave a comment or contact us and we will respond within 24 hours.
THANKS FOR READING, All Childbirth Questions and Midwife Answers – Pregnant ( AUTO )