According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, there are several definitions of a "myth", but the most common one is the popular belief or tradition that has grown up around something or someone; especially: one embodying the ideals and institutions of a society or segment of society as well as an unfounded or false notion.
Most people have heard that if they use deodorant, they might be increasing their chances of ending up with cancer. Some of us may even have heard that as a result of there being no proof to back this claim, it has since been debunked. The same goes for eating too many eggs and ending up with cholesterol. As it turns out, eggs are actually quite good for us and don't necessarily heart's health at risk!
Or how about the time you were told not to crack your joints because if you do that, you'll end up with arthritis? And yet again, you found out that there are no studies backing that up. What do all of those statements have in common? They are all myths!
You have probably heard many myths as well when it comes to weight loss such as if you eat after 7 pm you will gain weight- which I can personally say from experience- that is completely untrue! So if there are myths about so many things that are health-related, there are plenty of myths circulating as well when it comes to labor and delivery.
So I am going to take this opportunity and dispel 15 labor and delivery myths, that some doctors still probably believe!
15 Small Baby = Easier Birth
If you are pregnant and have been told by your OBGYN that your baby will be large, don't let that scare you. Many times your baby will not end up as large as predicted. However, even if it is, that does not mean that you are going to have a difficult birth. Unless your baby is abnormally large (at least 10lbs), then as long as your baby is in a good birthing position, there is no reason to believe that you will have a difficult birth.
In fact, according to Parents Magazine, if you do what you can to keep fit during your pregnancy, you will have an easier time with your labor even if your baby is on the larger size. There is also speculation about the fact that giving birth to a bigger baby may be easier than giving birth to a smaller baby. That is because of the fact that gravity has more to work with. In other words, a larger baby can actually help dilate your cervix even more, and help have the baby pulled out of the birth canal a lot more quickly.
That said unless your baby is going to be abnormally large, if your baby may be on the upper end of average or even a bit large- don't worry about having a hard birth!
14 C-Sections Are Less Painful Than Natural Births
I have never had a C-section so I cannot tell you from personal experience that they are less painful than any kind of natural birth. However, I have often wondered in the past if you were better of having a C-section because it would be less painful, especially after recovering from a very painful episiotomy after I had given birth to my daughter.
However, according to Parenting Healthy Babies, even though you are completely numb when you have a C-section (though you are also numb if you opt for the epidural while delivering naturally as well), it is still not any less painful! In fact, moms who have had C-sections will need plenty of time to heal and recover since it is a surgical procedure.
Additionally, getting back to your normal life will take longer for someone who has had a C-section than someone who had given birth the natural way. That means even if you were to have a scheduled C-section which meant escaping the painful labor and delivery- you still have to consider that you will be in plenty of pain after giving birth due to having to recover from that procedure for many weeks! That said, at the end of the day, a C-section is not really any less painful than delivering naturally.
13 You Must Give Birth On Your Back
If you are pregnant and started taking a Lamaze class, and your instructor had told you that you must give birth on your back, that is not true at all.
In fact, according to NCBI, it's not the best idea for women to give birth while they are on their backs.
Firstly, if you are on your back while you are in labor, it will make the whole experience more painful.
Additionally, when you are lying on your back when you are about to give birth, you are pushing uphill- literally! That is because the birth canal actually curves up whenever you are lying down. Therefore, you are going against gravity which is defeating the purpose of you having a short and a complication-free labor.
Also, whenever the mother is lying on her back while in labor, the blood vessels are becoming more constricted which means both mom and baby are not receiving optimal levels of blood and oxygen.
If the mom who is ready to give birth prefers to be on her back because it actually helps her manage labor the best she can, then it's fine to let her go on her back. The mom has to do what is the most comfortable for her. However, in a nutshell, it is not a good idea for women to give birth while they are on their backs and doctors need to stop telling their patients that this is the only way!
12 Losing The Plug Means The Baby Is Coming
The first thing that goes through a very soon mom-to-be's mind whenever bits of the mucus plug begin to come out is that she needs to get right over to the hospital because she is in labor! The fact of the matter is that the mucus plug can start coming out weeks before you have the baby, and you are not going to be in labor for that long!
Even Your Child Birth Guide makes it clear to anyone who starts losing their mucus plug to not get their hopes up that they are about to deliver. The reason you will see bits and pieces of the plug coming out while you are at the tail end of your pregnancy is that the cervix can take weeks to dilate and the loss of the plug is a result of that.
On the flip side, if you haven't seen any signs of your mucus plug coming out and you are approaching your due date, that is also meaningless. You can be in labor even if none of it starts to appear. I didn't lose my mucus plug at all when I was in labor with my daughter until after my water had broken! Therefore, losing the mucus plug does not indicate whether or not you are getting ready to deliver.
11 Your Labor Will Be Like Your Mom’s
Even though it has been pointed out in What to Expect that there may be genetic links as far as pregnancy is concerned. Therefore, that means if your mom had awful morning sickness when she was pregnant with you, then there is a good chance you will experience the same. Additionally, if your mom had gestational diabetes during her pregnancy, then there is a good chance that you could end up with that complication as well.
That also includes if your mom gave birth early or late, then the odds are in your favor that you will be following mom's path as well as far as that goes. However, one thing that you cannot predict is the kind of labor that you will have because of the kind that your mom did!
For a long time, it was believed that was the case. However, as time has progressed, along with more research done on this topic- there is no way to predict how your labor will be. So that means, if your mom had a difficult labor, then that does not at all mean you will. At the same token, if your mom had a fast and easy labor, you can't assume that you will either. No one can predict the kind of labor you will have!
10 Your Second Delivery Will Be Easier
I will tell you from personal experience that second labors are not easier than the first. Therefore, I will be biased as far as how I answer this. However, this is the only time I will be objective.
According to Fit Pregnancy, the majority of second labors are go by faster because mom has already been through one.
Her body, therefore, is used it is and it is not such a shock to the system. That is likely the only grain of truth to this.
Personally, in my case, my very first labor was very fast. That is because I did not know I was in labor until my water had broken, and it broke the way it does on television shows and in the movies. It gushed at once and the contractions came on right after. I delivered my daughter six hours after and the labor was smooth even though it was painful.
When I was in labor with my son, it was longer and a lot more drawn out. There were complications with that birth and that is likely why he has autism, whereas my daughter does not and the birth was smooth. So if you are pregnant with your second, I hope you have a fast and easy labor- especially if you had a rough one with your first, but don't take that for granted either.
9 The Baby Stops Moving Just Before You Go Into Labor
While you are nearing the end of your pregnancy, you will feel your baby move less often. That is only because there is less room for him or for her to move around in that cramped space. However, even though that is the case, you can still feel plenty of movement from your baby of some sort. Your baby will still be moving around to find a comfortable position, and you will be feeling your baby attempting to find that- that also includes while you are in labor.
The only time when you may not feel your baby move while you are in labor is if you received the epidural because you are pretty much numb which is the purpose of getting one in the first place!
According to Parents Magazine, the only time when you would not feel your baby move is while you are going through those painful contractions. That is because the contractions are pushing your baby's head down, while the cervix is slowly thinning and opening. Otherwise, even during the calmer moments while you are in labor you can still feel movement from your baby.
Otherwise, if you do not feel your baby move at all before or while you are in labor, then that concerning and that is most definitely not normal. If you are not in labor yet and you have not felt your baby move even for a day, you need to get to the hospital to be checked right away.
8 Having A Midwife Isn't As Safe
It is no surprise that whenever a woman tells her doctor about the fact that she wants to start trying for a baby, that the doctor would immediately discourage her from using a midwife after she becomes pregnant. The fact of the matter is that it is not less safe to deliver with the help of midwife vs. the help of an OBGYN according to Time Magazine.
The only time when there is truth to that statement is that if a midwife is not associated with a nearby hospital to where the mothers and their newborns can be brought to if a complication were to arise.
However, it is unlikely that any good quality midwife would not be associated with a hospital just in case a problem were to arise.
Otherwise, home births that are attended by trained nurse-midwives are not any less dangerous than giving birth at a hospital. Keep in mind as well that hospital births did not begin to happen until the middle of the 20th century. That would have meant that your grandparents were delivered at home. The fact that you exist is an indication right there that home births can be just as safe as hospital births- as long as the midwife is trained and affiliated with a nearby hospital.
7 You Will Instantly Bond With Your Baby
You have probably watched many shows and movies where the mom gave birth and she immediately bonded with her new baby right after it was delivered. Therefore, if you have not given birth yet, you may be expecting that the same will happen. And I am here to tell you that you may bond with your newborn but you may not also right away, and that is okay- and it happens!
According to WebMD, the results from research that was conducted found that about 20% of new moms and dads don't feel any real emotional attachment to their new babies right away.
If you happen to fall into that category, then there is absolutely no need to panic.
However, according to the same source, if you find that you are not able to bond to your newborn, then you will have to take some steps in order to do so. These steps are stroking your baby during a feeding and making some skin-to-skin time- where the baby's skin is touching your own. Bonding is what gives babies a sense of security and will help them develop their self-esteem in the long run as well. However, again, if you don't bond with your baby immediately, don't panic but definitely, start working on it!
6 An Epidural Increases Your Chances Of Getting A C-Section
I want to first say that a huge kudos goes to any mom who has chosen to not use an epidural during labor. I am the biggest wimp whenever it comes to pain and the first thing I said when I was talking about my birth plan was that I just had to get an epidural. The alternative for me was just unthinkable.
I do remember that my OBGYN at the time warned me that an epidural will slow the labor down and that a C-section was a possibility as a result. I was willing to take that chance regardless. However, according to Parents Magazine, many studies that have been conducted over the years to determine there was any truth to epidurals increasing the chances of C-sections had found there is no connection.
Therefore, if you have been worried about this fact and you are as terrified of pain as I am, and you are expecting unlike myself- now you can breathe a sigh of relief. You are not any more likely to end up having a C-section if you receive the epidural over someone else who has decided not to use any pain meds at all to help numb labor!
5 Good Hips Make For An Easier Birth
If you have small hips and have not had any children yet, then you are probably worried about the fact that because of your small hips that you'll have a difficult birth. If you want to start trying to conceive at some point, and you have already discussed it with your doctor- and your doctor warned you that you may need a C-section because of your small hips, that is not true.
I would honestly hope that doctors are no longer telling their small-hipped female patients to expect to have a harder time with giving birth due to that fact. It simply is not true, and there are so many things that can play into whether you have a difficult birth or an easy one. But the hip size is not a factor.
In fact, according to Science Daily, a study conducted back in 2015 had shown that there is no connection between hip width and efficient locomotion. I have also seen this for myself. I have known plenty of thin and small-hipped women who had very easy births. I have wide hips, and even though I had an easy birth with my daughter, I had serious complications with the birth of my son.
4 More Babies Are Born During A Full Moon
There has been the belief for a long time that more babies are likely to be born under a Full Moon. Why? Because according to Huffington Post, that belief stems from the fact that the Moon's gravitational pull can cause high tides. That said because the human body is made up of 80% water, it has been believed that the childbirth process would be sped up due to the Full Moon as well.
I am also an astrologer and I can tell you that of all of the readings I have done for clients over the last decade and a bit, I can only say a fraction of them were born under a full moon. Neither of my kids were and neither was I.
The odds are not necessarily in your favor that you will have a baby born under a full moon despite what some professionals may still say.
Though, according to the same source, apparently, there was a study conducted by the Mountain Area Health Education Center in North Carolina back in 2005. About 600,000 births across 62 lunar cycles were analyzed. The birth certificates of the children born between 1997 and 2001 provided them the data they needed to conduct this study. The result that they found was that there is no evidence that more babies were born under a full moon than during the other stages of the Moon's cycle.
3 Your Birth Plan Is The Best Way To Have Baby
Even though it is important to have a birth plan made up, according to Children's MD, you and your doctor have to be prepared to deal with any sudden changes that can cause the birth plan to be no good at the end. Sometimes, the birth plan that you had created will not be ideal for the kind of labor you are in.
A good OBGYN will also make this clear to any of their patients as well. Even though having a birth plan written up and filled with detail is a good idea to have, it has to be made known that it can be subject to change at any time. That means if you had it in your plan to tough it out and not use an epidural, you'll be regretting the fact that you added that to your plan- and your doctor may not be so accommodating because of the fact you did not add that choice.
That said, it is the patient's job to be educated as much as possible about their options. Go watch educational videos, read books about birth preparation, or if you still have time go and complete a childbirth preparation program. Learn everything you need to, especially when it comes to pain management and C-sections. You need to know about all of your options because sometimes the birth plan you had in mind is not the ideal one- and your doctor will not tell you that.
2 A C-Section Is A Must If You're Pregnant With Twins
Many people assume that the safest way to deliver twins is via C-section. I cannot speak from personal experience because I don't have twins, and since the baby making factory shop is closed for this lifetime anyway- that is something I won't be knowing a thing about.
However, from what I have learned, it is not always necessary for twins to be delivered by a C - section. According to Fit Pregnancy, if the first twin which is labeled as 'Twin A' is in a vertex position, then it is possible to have a natural delivery. Even if the other twin which is referred to a 'Twin B' is in a breech position. That is because after the first twin is born, the other baby can be maneuvered before it is delivered.
Though, if 'Twin A' is in a breech position, then the delivery will have to be done via C- section. I have read as well that some doctors refuse to deliver twins naturally regardless of the position that 'Twin A' happen to be in. So that said, there are doctors that still believe that twins have to be delivered by C- section.
If you are pregnant with twins and this issue concerns you, then you need to do your research and call around different hospitals to find out their policies.
1 Pitocin Contractions Are Worse Than Natural Ones
If you are approaching your due date and you fear you will be overdue, you may have read up on how Pitocin induced contractions are more painful than natural ones- which most likely made you more nervous. And that probably made you more irritated considering that you are at a stage where you are so sick and tired of being pregnant- and you have had it with not being able to walk for more than five minutes without breaking a sweat. Additionally, being so heavily pregnant and a warmer time of year is very uncomfortable.
However, if you are really worried about the possibility of having to be induced and having to deal with extremely painful contractions due to the effects of the synthetic oxytocin- don't be too worried. Even though according to Fit Pregnancy, contractions that are brought on by Pitocin are generally harder - you would not be given the highest dosage to start.
A low dosage of Pitocin is not going to make your contractions any worse than you would have if you went into labor on your own. The only time that they would be worse is if they had to increase the dosage if nothing is progressing. And remember, that is a time when the epidural is your friend.
Don't assume that if your labor has to be induced that you will have a tougher time with it than you would otherwise. There are always variables to consider.
References: Time.com, ScienceDaily.com, Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, Parentinghealthybabies.com, Yourchildbirthguide.com, WhattoExpect.com, Childrensmed.org, WebMD.com, Merriam-Webster.com