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15 Things Pregnant Women Need To Stop Doing During Labor

Of course, all expecting parents want delivery to go smoothly. Labor and delivery are unpredictable and many situations can arise. Having a baby comes with many challenges and there is no telling what will happen. Expecting parents can do everything they are told to do to prep for labor and delivery and things still go opposite of what is expected. There is no telling what mama’s body and baby will do. Every pregnancy is different as well, and a mama should not compare a pregnancy to a prior one because things can go much differently.

Everyone hears about smooth sailing stories as well as horror stories during labor and delivery, but at the end of the day, there is no knowing what will go down.Some situations that arise during pregnancy cannot be avoided while others can. If a mama does her research and tries to plan the best she can, some things can be avoided. Things not going to plan of course can get a mama worked up, but trusting that the doctors know what they are doing can help make things go a bit smoother.

When a mom is in labor, it can bring forth many emotions and when things start going wrong, those emotions can make an impact on labor and delivery. We all make mistakes in life, and the best we can do is learn from them. Read below to find out the damaging mistakes pregnant women don’t know they are making during labor. Maybe these mistakes can help a mama-to-be better prepare for labor.

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15 Pushing Too Soon

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It is always best to listen to the doctor's orders during labor and delivery. A mom may get told to stop pushing for several reasons. One reason is to conserve energy if it is too early and she is not dilated fully. So just because a woman feels the urge to push does not mean it is time to deliver. But some of the most important reasons not to push is a woman might be putting her baby in danger. Firstly, if the baby isn't properly position and mom pushes, the baby could be at risk for shoulder dystocia. The doc, then, will want to guide the baby out of the birth canal in a more controlled manner. Secondly,  if there's a risk that the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck, the doctor will need to be attentive to that - so don't push. Lastly, there is the risk of tearing when a woman pushes after being told not. Pushing when told not to can cause many issues and it is best to listen to doctors orders.

14 Holding In Your Breath

Breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth can help mama’s during childbirth. Increased oxygen provides additional energy and strength for mama as well as baby. Focusing on breathing can help the body and mind relax and make the birth process easier. When mama gets stressed, so can baby, which can make labor a lot more stressful and scary. As labor progresses, it is crucial to find your own rhythmic breathing pattern.

This is what athletes do while in their workout groove- and hey, no one can say childbirth is not somewhat like a sport! So, why all of this fuss over breathing- something we do all day long? The point is to keep mama calm and help facilitate the baby’s descent down the birth canal. Focusing on breathing is a part of meditation which can be relaxing and help in stressful situations.

13 Refusing The Doctor's Orders

We do believe that all people should have a say in what happens with their own body, but when it comes to labor and delivery, this could mean life or death. We know that mama probably has a plan on how she wants things to go and strict beliefs on certain aspects of the hospital stay, but in order to keep the baby and herself safe it is crucial to follow the doctors’ orders.

If a mama expresses she absolutely does not want to be induced, the medical team will do their very best to give mama enough time to go into labor naturally, but if it is not progressing it could be dangerous for the baby. The same goes for c-sections. If the doctor recommends a Caesarean for health reasons, moms should consider it because doing the opposite might prove fatal. Rest assured that doc knows what he/she is talking about and only wants the best for you and your peanut.

12 Eating A Hearty Meal Before Labor

We all know that food is supposed to fuel the body and give it energy. It would make sense why most people would assume consuming a nice hearty meal before labor would be beneficial but it is not a good idea. It is common to feel sick going from pre-labor to early labor and heavy food may trigger nausea. The last thing a mama needs on top of painful contractions is coughing up her cookies. Fatty foods can make a laboring mama sick and foods with tons of sugar can give mama a quick boost of energy followed by a crash in energy. Doc should give mama a list or suggestion on foods to eat before labor that are good to energize mama and keep her feeling okay.

11 Pushing In The Wrong Position

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Some women want to give birth lying flat on their backs, but positions (such as this one) limit mom's space to move. This, in turn, can restrict the baby's movement during labor and no one wants that. This especially applies to women giving birth at home. The best thing women can do is choose an optimal position such as standing or squatting in order to to open up the uterus. This encourages the baby too move, since there is more room, and descend the birth canal safely and into mom's arms.

Moreover, some pregnant women will move around and try out different positions during delivery. Every mama finds a different solution for positioning during labor and delivery. But, not every women gets the okay from the doctor to move around in different positions in order to push the baby out. Why? The issue with different body positions is mom runs the risk of tiring herself out during delivery. 

10 Trying To Keep It "All" In

Some mamas let it all out during childbirth while others try to be modest. Screaming during childbirth is not a bad thing and it can be a helpful release of anger and pain and keep mom less stress. So don't think about etiquette during labor. If you need to yell, cry, or squeeze dad's hand - do so. It's okay!

Pooping during labor isn't as rare as we think. So, of course, when it happens, moms might want to keep their feces in during childbirth. If there are feces in the colon, the pressure of the baby will push the feces out during labor. It is not uncommon for mamas to have a bowl movement during labor, and to be honest, the doc and nurses are so used to it. As much as both can be embarrassing, it is nothing the medical professionals have not seen before and it is just a part of the process. They say modesty goes out the window when it comes to childbirth, and it is totally okay.

Plus, most women have constipation after delivery, so moms should be happy they emptied their pipes beforehand.

9 Not Resting Enough During Labor

A laboring mama will probably feel and do a lot better if she rests. Active labor can last a long time for first time mama’s, and trying the best she can to conserve energy is crucial. Sleeping whenever possible is something that is recommended by the doctor. The birthing process could go super quick, or could drag on for hours. It is best to be prepared and rest up.

Not moving around too much could help some momma to be conserve energy, while others need to move to get comfortable. Focusing on breathing, eliminating external thoughts and distractions and really focusing on what the body needs is so important during this time. It may be nice to have a birth support rub on mama’s back and feet to help relax her as well.

8 Spitting Out The Ice Chips

It is common for moms to think they should drink anything during labor in order to stay hydrated. It is up to the doc, though, to determine how much liquids mom can consume on a case by case basis. While some docs will allow a woman with an uncomplicated and normal labor to drink clear liquids and fruit juices without pulp, most hospitals will only allow ice chips - and for good reason.  The reason why doctors warn against drink and food intake is due to the fear of aspiration in the event that mama needs to be anesthetized for a cesarean delivery. Staying hydrated is super important because mild dehydration could possibly contribute to slightly longer labors. Feeling hydrated is a pretty bad feeling to begin with, on top of the pain of labor. It is best to keep the mouth wet and stay hydrated to avoid feeling run down. So don't refuse the ice chips when hubby passes them over.

7 Going To The Hospital Too Early/Late

Some mamas want to rush to the hospital the second they feel contractions while others try to wait it out. At the end of the day, this is a decision mama and her health care provider can determine together. Many women decide to labor at home which allows ultimate comfort for the mama. Timing contractions is something that is very important in determining when to go to the hospital and that is a topic a mama’s health care provider will discuss with her. The issue is, if mama decides to head out the door too late that sweet little bundle of joy may arrive on the kitchen floor or in the back seat of dad’s car. If mama goes into the hospital too soon, she will most likely be sent back home which can be super discouraging.

6 Moving Around Too Much

Some mamas while in labor want to move around a lot. This could be for a variety of reasons such as nerves, pain, or even thinking moving around will help get baby out. The best thing mama can do is rest up as much as possible before the delivery. Resting before delivery can also help baby relax as well. Sometimes things are just out of our control and allowing nature to take its course may be the only option. Resting may be moms best bet so she does not get burned out. Trying to walk around may only tire mama out which could be a recipe for disaster during childbirth. Of course, it may be uncomfortable for mom to stay put, especially if labor ends up being hours long, so some walking around will not hurt. The goal is for mama to not exhaust herself and allow her body to rest up.

5 Expecting No Pain

Nowadays we have access to a million birth stories on the internet and social media platforms. Sometimes considering those stories can do nothing but scare a soon-to-be mama, or prepare her for some of what to expect. Some moms-to-be on the other hand expect things to go smoothly and pain free, despite what they are told from various people. It is always good to be optimistic, but to expect nothing but a painless and smooth delivery is asking for a lot. When a mama expects this, she is setting herself up for a major slap in the face when things do not go as planned. This can cause a lot of sadness, worry, and anger that can be avoided if she accepts that things can go many different ways during labor and delivery.

4 Not Having Support In The Delivery Room

It is important for mama to figure out who she does (and does not) want in the delivery room. Every person reacts different with emotional stress, and physical pain-some people need to be calmed down and some want to be left alone. If dad isn’t in the picture, and family/friends are not an option, a midwife or doula are wonderful options because they provide tons of support, information, and care during pregnancy. It is best to do research on both of these options to see if they are right for you.

Of course, mama can have no one in the room- but having someone, or someone in the waiting room “just in case” can be very helpful when unexpected emotions come into play. Mama may think she has it all figured out, but no one knows what to expect physically and emotionally in each and every labor and delivery and having a support person can help the labor along.

3 Not Preparing For The Worst

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When going into labor we all have an idea of what we expect or assume will happen. In a perfect world, things would go as planned, but that is just not always the case. A mama may not want a C-section, but if it comes down to it, the most important thing is keeping mom and baby safe. So, when a mama refuses to even say the word C-section out loud or do any research on it, it is likely that she will go into panic mode if the time comes. It is always best to prepare for the unexpected. Many women do not want to be induced, but looking into the induction procedure and what to expect can help a mama mentally prepare for the unexpected. So much can change and/or go wrong during labor and delivery and it is best to come mentally prepared just in case.

2 Do You Know The Difference?

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Not all soon-to-be moms experience Braxton Hicks contractions, which are painless and sporadic contractions of the uterus. Some women begin to feel this tightening (and sometimes annoying) feeling halfway through their pregnancies. This is absolutely not the real deal, and when that time comes those contractions will turn intense and frequent. There is a huge difference between Braxton Hicks contractions and real contractions and that is that Braxton Hicks are not powerful enough to force out a baby.

Of course, this can all be super confusing to new parents, and contacting a hospital or the nurses line can help mom determine if she is in early labor. There is no need to be embarrassed about not understanding the difference, but it could be a huge waste of a trip to the hospital if mama goes in for Braxton Hicks. Likewise, if mom doesn't believe her contractions are real, she might postpone going to the hospital - which can be dangerous her mom and baby if the kitchen becomes the delivery room.

1 There's No Birth Plan

Creating a birth plan can help express the desires and requests of the expecting parents. The birth plan can cover things from pain relief desires to formula/breast feeding. There is no set-in stone way to make a birth plan and not every parent cares to specify on the same things. Of course, every mama has a somewhat idea of how she wants her birth experience to go, and although the birth plan will be looked over by the doc and nurses, that does not mean that all requests and wishes will be granted.  Things can go totally unexpected and that birth plan can fly out the window very quickly. It is important that parents’ wishes are taken into consideration, but safety and health always come first.

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