It is a well known fact that labor and delivery is a long and strenuous process – one that can be scary at times, even for the veteran mom. Women spend time and money preparing for this experience with birthing classes and even hiring doulas, trying to make it as painless and smooth as possible. We expect doctors to be on the ball and on board while acting in a professional manner – but sometimes this is not always the case.
In some circumstances, doctors can say some pretty unusual things and make pregnant women question their integrity or reliability as health care providers. Some sayings are funny in nature but others can be borderline offensive, leaving you dumbfounded that any medical professional could utter such a phrase. So here we are: 15 women confess the worst things their doctors have said to them during labor and delivery.
15 “Let’s Get This Going, I Don’t Have All Day!”
“This was said by the doctor on call who walked into my delivery room”, confessed one woman who gave birth to a baby boy after 18 hours of labor. “I was only a few centimeters dilated and he was getting very impatient”, she reports.
Not only would it be a difficult thing to hear - to be reminded of how long the process is taking, but if it were me, I would have been a little less than pleased that I wasn’t given the proper time and attention. Labor can be a long process (and is for most women), taking time and attention to deliver a little one. If there’s one thing pregnant women know, it’s that babies come on their own time. You would think this doctor would be a little more sensitive to this.
14 “Wow It’s Been A Long Time Since I’ve Been Called In Here…”
This was said to a woman who was waiting to be checked by an OB and she admitted being a little scared by his statement. When words like these are muttered, people lose faith in a doctor’s ability to handle any situation that could arise. Yes, doctors are human beings with faults like everyone else and we can expect some of them to have different areas of expertise than others. But does the doctor have to mention that out loud to the patient? Best he keeps this tidbit of information to himself.
"What do you mean you haven’t been around here lately? I’m in labor here!" If it were me I would be asking for another doctor if this was something I heard! Or at least looking for some sort of confirmation he does actually have a medical degree or and maybe some sort of experience delivering babies.
13 ‘‘I’m Sorry We Are Out Of Epidurals"
One woman confesses hearing this from her anesthesiologist, after asking if she could get some much needed pain management. A hospital “ran out” of epidurals? What is that!?
I think if I heard that being said to me in the middle of a massive contraction, I may have decked someone. A lot of women go into labor with a specific birth plan and a lot of times that birth plan includes an epidural. Hearing a hospital ‘ran out’ would make me livid – and to a pregnant woman in active labor with intense contractions, an hour is a very long time! A note to hospitals: overstock your epidurals. Because you never know when these babies will be coming and some moms need some assistance to make labor a bearable experience.
12 “[ Big Yawn] Do You Want Me To Come In And Do A C-section?"
The OB on call wasn’t in the hospital, so this woman talked to her on the phone. The doctor kept yawning as she gave her the choice of having her come in and do a C-section or wait for the next doctor in the morning. She sounded exhausted which made the woman very nervous! Yeah, she waited so the on-call doctor wouldn’t fall asleep in her nether regions.
If it were me, I would have done the same thing! A C-section is major surgery and having a doctor yawning before she even arrives at the hospital would me think twice about having the procedure then and there. Of course there are circumstances such as emergencies that would require the baby out of there ASAP. But if it’s possible to wait, why tempt fate with an exhausted OB?
11 “I Hadn’t Shaved My Legs, My Doctor Said ‘That’s Okay, We’ll Just Pretend We’re In France!’”
This woman confesses that she gave birth with a ton of hair down there… but in her defense, it wasn’t intended! She went into labor early, the day before an OB appointment, and she was intending to give herself a good ole’ shave the next morning.
Although it may be embarrassing for you in an incredible vulnerable position, with your legs spread apart, the reality of it is doctors and nurses have seen it all! There is also some controversy about whether shaving ‘down there’ right before delivery is okay or if it could potentially leave you open to infection. Bottom line is that nurses and doctors really aren’t going to blink if your private parts are a little furry. They are there to do a job, delivery your baby safely.
10 “Because You're A Heavy Smoker, The Baby Is Small"
When I first read this I was shocked! This was said by a doctor to a woman who had never smoked a day in her life. Her partner also didn’t smoke. So why did the doctor make such a grave accusation?
Her baby measured a week behind, according to him, and tried to come up with a reason why. It ended up that this baby was actually at normal size, just a week less far along than he thought. The woman knew this and tried to explain but he wouldn’t listen until it was confirmed by the ultrasound technician. He was so sure that he was correct about how far along she was, he wouldn’t entertain the fact that the baby wasn’t actually small at all, but right on schedule for a baby due a week later. I wouldn’t be having him delivery my next baby, that’s for sure.
9 “Hurry Up! I Want To Go Home.”
A woman confessed that she heard this from a doctor, and the kicker is her pregnancy was moving along at an average speed. Her labor only lasted 12 hours, which falls right into the normal range but it was in the wee hours of the morning that this baby was finally delivered.
All be it can be tough for doctors who are on call or pulling lots of hours at the hospital. But from where I am sitting, they also signed up for this when they became doctors. Yes, doctors are human beings too but telling a pregnant woman to hurry up during labor is a big no-no, no matter who you are! It is a delicate process that deserves time and attention. So, suck it up doc and grab a coffee.
8 “Wait…Are You In Labor, Or Are You Here To Be Induced?”
“Uh how about you tell me!” Confesses one mom who was asked this by a doctor as he entered the room. It was her first baby and she was brand new at this and was in complete shock by the doctor’s question.
Pregnancy is scary enough as it is without having to worry about whether or not the doctor knows what’s up. And isn’t that what charts are for? I’m sure there was a file folder lying around there somewhere that this doctor could have potentially looked at first without alarming the patient. I know doctors are often tired and work long hours but maybe this doctor should have thought twice before opening his mouth and gone a different route to get the information he needed about the patient.
7 “All The Other Moms Have Delivered. You’re The LAST One!”
This was said to one mom-to-be after she had been laboring for 20+ hours by doctor eager to get the show on the road. There were several other women brought in to the labor and delivery wing at around the same time she came in. Apparently their labors had progressed at a faster rate and this doctor felt the need to share this information to his last patient of the day.
No one likes to feel like they are in last place in any circumstance, let alone labor and delivery. Not to mention hearing these words come out of a doctor’s mouth could make any woman feel like there is something wrong or abnormal with their labor, when there could be nothing wrong at all. As mentioned before, babies come when they want to!
6 “You Look Exhausted.”
“Thank you captain obvious”, was one woman’s reply to a doctor who uttered these words as he entered her birthing suite. Under no circumstance should this be said to a woman in labor by anyone… especially if you are a male husband/boyfriend/baby-daddy but an even bigger no-no if you are the physician.
Women laboring know that they look like crap but they don’t want to hear it. They need positive support and encouragement from everyone present at the birth, including the OB. Women in labor want to assume they look like the women who give birth in soap operas. You know, the ones wearing a clean and dry hospital gown with full make-up on and hair done to perfection under soft lighting. Three quick pushes and its out! Please let women in labor live in this fantasy as long as possible!
5 “Shhh! You’re Being A Bit Loud!”
Said one doctor to a woman in labor, who wanted to deck him one. When you’re pushing a human being out of you, you have every right to be loud! Vocalization during a painful contraction can help women feel strong!
Don’t believe me? Look to sporting events that require great physical strength to complete. Why do you think the Williams sisters cause such a racket (pun intended) during their tennis matches when they whip that ball across the court? They release energy from a place of strength! Same rules apply to pushing a baby out! Women need to use all the tools they have to muster up every ounce of strength during child birth. As Helen Reddy sang: “I am strong, I am invisible, I am woman!”
4 “You Must Have A Low Tolerance To Pain.”
One anesthesiologist said this to a woman who felt sharp pains when she shouldn’t AFTER she got an epidural. It turns out the epidural wasn’t in the right place. It was removed and re-positioned properly.
This woman went on to have a great labor and gave birth to a healthy girl after 12 hours. Hearing this is a big reminder to advocate for ourselves. Yes, doctors and nurses may know more than us but a woman in labor is the only one who can feel what’s going on in her own body. Speaking up when something feels off could be the difference between a bad experience and an (almost) decent experience giving birth. Advocate for yourselves, ladies! It’s important to take control of your labor and delivery experience as much as possible.
3 “Are You Glad You Didn’t Get An Epidural?”
Said to a woman who was in the middle of a contraction by a cheeky doctor who was trying to pressure her to take pain medication, when she REALLY wanted a natural and medication-free birthing experience.
This woman went on to deliver medication-free and although she claimed she did feel a lot of pain, she was ultimately happy with her choice. As much as doctors think they know best (and yes sometimes they really do), they need to also respect the wishes of the patient, if it is not jeopardizing her health or the health of the little one. Statistically about 70% of women in the United States get an epidural. Even though that is the majority, that doesn’t mean everyone has to. Stay true to what feels right for you, deep down.
2 “Now When You Push, Your Bird Will Be Numb.”
This, interestingly enough, was said to a woman by her anesthesiologist right before she was about to get an epidural. A tad unprofessional, you think? Although this is hilarious and would have probably made me laugh in the moment, it seems like a rather inappropriate phrase to be said by a doctor, after the fact.
I think it’s safe to say that women in labor (or all patients for that matter) expect medical professionals not to refer to their lady parts in slang terms that reference feathered creatures of any kind. Or really any sort of creature, am I right? Although the word for the female sexual anatomy may be taboo in certain circumstances, I think doctors should just call it what it is. We’ve heard the word before!
1 “Looks Like You’re Doing This The Old Fashion Way.”
This was said to a woman who desperately wanted an epidural for pain management but there wasn’t enough time to administer one. She begged and pleaded but the doctor wouldn’t agree. Her baby was well on its way and she was 10 centimeter dilated and it was time to push!
For some women, hearing these words being uttered could be their worst nightmare. The majority of North American women have epidurals during labor and the ones that do hope for a less painful birth. But sometimes, nature has other ideas and babies come when they want to and there is often nothing we can do about it. In this case, the doctor likely made the best call, even though it may not have been exactly what she wanted to hear!
Sources: AwesomeJelly, BabyCenter, WebMD