Your baby's arrival is big news — the biggest social media splash you could ever make.
These days, your friends and out-of-town relatives are likely to catch their first glimpse of your baby's fingers and toes on Facebook or Instagram. A short Snapchat message from the hospital isn't unheard of.
But it may not be the best idea to live stream your birth.
Really, we're not sure anyone wants to see that — not even your best friend and your mother-in-law, who have been dropping hints that they want to be in the delivery room.
Don't get us wrong. A baby's birth is a beautiful miracle, and an amazing awe-inspiring moment. We're just not sure it's camera-ready, much less open for public display.
You can expect blood and bodily fluids, lots of sweat and probably some inhuman noises. But the biggest reason that you should NOT live stream your birth is because of the things that you can't expect.
There are lots of reasons to keep the moment private. Here are the top 15.
15 There May Be A Lot Of False Starts
After about 40 weeks of anxiously awaiting for the grand event to begin, many mamas-to-be have a bit of a hard time figuring out when it is show time.
When you have been counting kicks and paying attention to every ache and pain, you could find yourself running to the hospital only to find out that you have a case of indigestion.
Some women feel contractions for weeks before labor actually begins. They are called Braxton Hick contractions, and they often feel like menstrual cramps.
The way to tell that they are Braxton Hicks is to when they don't happen at regular intervals and they don't feel stronger over time. Usually, they go away when you rest or take a walk.
Taking a walk can also start kick-start the real thing, so it wouldn't be a bad idea to get on your walking shows when the first signs of labor kick in.
14 It Can Be Pretty Boring
Once real labor does begin, it could still be hours — maybe even days — before the baby actually arrives.
Early labor, when the cervix is just starting to open up, can take quite a while. The average labor for first-time moms is 12 to 18 hours, but sometimes it can last a few days.
If you are having contractions every five minutes, it may seem like a lot of excitement to you, but it isn't exactly must-see-TV for everyone else.
If you get an epidural, you may not even feel the pain, so you are doing little more than waiting around. You can grab a deck of cards or maybe even get a good night's sleep, all the while, your livestream audience is tuning out.
13 It May Not Be G-rated
Even for the most conservative mama, labor and delivery can quickly earn an R-rating — in more ways than one.
Let's just say that your live stream may not pass the Facebook nudity policy. That is even if you keep things above the waist.
Plenty of mamas lose the clothes when they get extra hot, which can happen to anyone during transition, and can be really bad for any preemie mamas who take magnesium to try to slow things down.
After your baby is born, many experts recommend you give kangaroo care, which is another name for skin-to-skin contact. Laying your naked, brand-new baby on your bare chest can help babies adapt, and it helps in breastfeeding. The benefits definitely outweigh the chance to live stream.
12 Your Language
Even if you keep yourself covered during labor, you might have a hard time keeping your language G-rated.
Labor hurts. A lot.
There are ways to manage pain, from an epidural to massages and special breathing techniques. But in the end, you still have to push a baby out.
We won't hold it against you if you develop a potty mouth during labor, but your great aunt may not like it. And, if they catch your livestream, your boss or client could be offended.
11 The Gore
Another way labor and delivery can wreck your G rating is the blood.
You may not notice a lot from your vantage point, but it would be hard to miss on the world wide web.
Labor starts with a "bloody show," or mucus plug, and it ends with lochia, a bloody discharge that lasts up to six weeks. Sometimes there isn't much blood in between, but sometimes there is.
It isn't exactly the kind of image you want your neighbor to have, is it?
10 The Poop
If you thought a mucus plug was gross, just wait until you livestream yourself pooping on the table.
It happens pretty often in the delivery room, because you use the same muscles when you push a baby as you do when you use the bathroom. The nurses won't bat an eye, and you may not even notice, if they discreetly clean it up.
But would you want to risk your husband's best friend seeing that? We think that is one image that most people could live without.
9 You May Not Be Camera Ready
Some women make an appointment at the salon when their water breaks. Others prepare with a pedicure or even wax down there.
But when the time comes, most women care very little about their appearance. The hours of labor — labor means work, remember — can take a toll on even the most pampered mama, and by the end, it isn't likely that every hair will remain in place.
While your baby will relish the sight of its beautiful mess of a mama, you may want to wait to livestream until after you've had a chance to brush your hair and freshen up.
8 Your Baby May Not Be Camera Ready
Did you know that babies aren't exactly clean when they come out?
Depending on how early or late the baby comes, your wee one could be covered in a white substance called vernix.
The thick substance, which thins out the longer the baby is in the womb, is meant to protect baby's skin from the amniotic fluid, and it acts as a moisturizer and as a lubricant to help ease the baby through the birth canal.
These days, a lot of caregivers are slower to give baby a bath after their arrival, allowing them more time to stay with mama and adjust to the world, so the vernix may be around for a bit after the baby's birth. That's OK. It doesn't hurt the baby and probably helps keep him warm.
But it has been known to throw new dads for a loop, and could cause even more of a concern for your livestream audience. You may be all for educating them, but you probably want their first impression of your baby to be "so adorable," not "so gross."
7 Dad Might Not Be Ready
While mom and baby will be the star attraction during labor and delivery, the dad plays an important starring role as well. But during one of the most stressful experiences of his life, the father-to-be may make a few mistakes along the way.
A lot can happen during labor, and even the most educated dad has questions that may come out as silly. They may be your rock and a great support during the delivery, but even a super dad sometimes needs a moment to himself to keep it all together. That could be hard to find when you are documenting every moment.
Even the most social media savvy dads feel scared and helpless while their loved one is bringing a baby into the world. It might be best to keep the livestream off until they feel a bit more confident as a dad.
6 It May Be Crowded
During labor and delivery, you may have to deal with a whole host of people. There will be a doctor or midwife for you, a nurse or two for the baby, maybe a neonatalogist or another specialist, maybe an intern or a student — and that doesn't count you, the baby's daddy and any family or friends you invite to the experience.
A lot of women actually prefer a crowd. On average, a poll showed that some moms have eight people in the room at some point, but there isn't always a lot of elbow room.
Some hospitals are loathe to allow a video camera, much less a livestream, because the doctor doesn't want anything else in his way.
5 You May Get Hangry
The pain is one thing, but soon-to-be-mamas often also end up quite hungry before their bundles of joy arrive.
While the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says the clear liquids are OK during labor, many hospitals have a strict policy against allowing for solid food during labor and delivery.
The policy is about safety, in case a mother has to end up in surgery for a C-section. But labor can take hours; usually at least one meal is skipped. And if you get hungry and angry — hangry — it may be hard to keep a smile on your face for your livestream.
More than one mother has declared her favorite meal of all time to be the first one after she has a baby, even if it is just a turkey sandwich.
4 Things Can Get Scary Fast
So, we've mentioned that labor can take pretty long to progress, but sometimes, actually, things can go super fast. And just as quickly, things can go from painful but positive to really scary.
Some complications can be discovered ahead of time, such as a baby in breech position or placenta previa, where the placenta is covering the cervix. In those cases, the doctors may come in with a plan, possibly for a C-section.
But in other cases, the complications can come at any moment. Doctors and nurses monitor your baby for fetal distress, and the check the amniotic fluid for signs of meconium, which can be dangerous if a baby inhales it. It's also possible for a baby to be too big to pass through the pelvis.
Sometimes, doctors take a wait-and-see approach and give you a chance to continue on with vaginal delivery, but sometimes things can escalate quickly into an emergency situation.
You may be pretty alarmed yourself, and your live stream audience could get a lot more than they bargained for.
3 You Won't Seem As Brave
There are only a few occasions where you can truly conquer your fear and sound like a hero. If you aren't the type of person to climb mountains or run into burning buildings, your baby's birth story may be your chance.
Even without embellishments, most birth stories are really inspiring and show an amazing, strong, brave woman giving the gift of life.
But there is a difference between telling people that you had a beautiful water birth or felt powerful through your pushes, while you gave birth to your favorite soundtrack, and having your audience actually witness you beg for an epidural or scream and cry through your breathing techniques.
We agree that all mothers — no matter how their babies come into the world — are an inspiration and should be praised and lifted up.
But we don't want your livestream to give any other impression to those who don't know what it really feels like.
2 You Don't Want To Crowdsource Your Decisions
You don't want to invite your judgmental sister-in-law into the delivery room, so why would you want her to watch your live stream?
She's just going to armchair quarterback everything and post comments on everything you do, from the brand of your labor ball to the best position to ease your back labor. And don't get her started on epidurals. She may have had a baby, but that doesn't mean that she understands exactly what you are going through in that moment.
Live stream your birth, and you could be inviting the mommy wars into your delivery room.
We promise, you'll have plenty of opportunities to defend your parenting decisions, but we think you deserve a nap first.
1 Everything Won't Go As Planned
All of the baby books tell moms to create a birth plan and bring it to the hospital.
Sometimes, that can entail a preference for an epidural or not, some thoughts about what kind of interventions you would prefer and whether or not you will breastfeed.
A birth plan is great — it gets you thinking about all of the things that could happen in the delivery room, and helps you make informed decisions.
Then again, some moms get pretty detailed with their birth plan and set some high expectations for themselves.
And in the end, nothing could go as you planned. You may want to go for an unmedicated birth; but the pain could be more intense than you realized. Your doctor may encourage you to break your amniotic sac, or your baby could end up in distress and need a C-section. You may not be able to breastfeed right away because the baby had to go to the neonatal intensive care unit, or something could happen that puts the baby's health in danger.
Very often, births don't go as planned, and that is OK. But you may not feel comfortable having the circumstances available for public consumption via live stream.
The moment you meet your baby is a special time for mom and dad, and lots of people love to watch it over and over again on video. The pictures are treasured for a lifetime or more.
But we're not sure live stream is the best avenue to document your birth. By all means, after things calm down, we'd be happy to meet your sweet baby via social media, and we'd love to see watch him or her grow up.
But we hope you agree: there are plenty of reasons NOT to live stream your birth.