Pop culture has taught some dads-to-be some pretty erroneous ideas about the whole process of labor and delivery. In fiction, most women who are giving birth look absolutely immaculate on the big or small screen and have their hair perfectly coiffed with their makeup never even getting just a little bit smudged.
When it comes time to push, in television and movies, pregnant characters simply breathe differently for a few minutes, give a few grunts, and then miraculously, their son or daughter is born.
Any good doctor worth his or her salt knows that the pretty, sanitized versions of labor and delivery are completely different, and this could throw fathers for a loop when they see the reality of it.
For example, Baby Centre writes that one thing that most movies and television shows leave out of the birthing process is that moms tend to start shivering because the whole ordeal is pretty difficult on their body and they start to feel really, really cold—to the point that dad needs to wrap them up in several blankets.
Parents adds that unlike the no muss, no fuss version of delivery shown in pop culture, the real process of giving birth is pretty intense and could make dads feel faint.
Forewarned is forearmed, so dads, make sure to read about how labor really is instead of how it is portrayed in pop culture.
According to Clark’s Condensed, active labor isn’t like what is shown in either movies or television shows: over in an hour or so. Active labor, and heck, the entire process from labor to delivery to recovery often takes quite a while.
Since dads should be prepared to be spending a lot of time at the hospital, one essential item they’ll need to pack in their “baby delivery bag” is a book or two because they’ll be waiting a while. It is a good idea to pack a portable charger for smartphones and a spare cord for the phone in the bag too.
Live About adds that also unlike how delivery and birth is portrayed in both movies and television shows, moms-to-be don’t get a break from the intense contractions that are turning her body into knots during the transition phase of labor.
Once moms hit that stage of the game in delivery, contractions occur anywhere from two to three minutes apart and can last about 90 seconds each. Ouch! Plan on mom being super grumpy at this point because she isn’t getting a rest from the contractions and this phase can be as short as 15 minutes or as long as an hour.
In pretty much every movie or television show that features a birth scene, it always seems as if the pregnant character simply has to give a few pushes during the delivery and then voila! The baby is born and there is no further issue.
Live About points out that this is so not true in real life, since the pushing stage of birth and delivery can take as long as an hour from start to finish. Mom also doesn’t need that much encouragement to push because this stage is fairly natural for women and their bodies naturally go into autopilot.
Many dads assume that their partner will know immediately when they are going into labor and are ready, willing and able to hop into the car and drive to the hospital at a moment’s notice.
Cleveland Clinic writes that sometimes, even moms make mistakes. False labor—known as Braxton-Hicks contractions—can occur near the big day and it is best to time them so that the parents don’t make a trip to the hospital on a false alarm. With Braxton-Hicks contractions, they are usually irregular and stop if mom changes position or walks around. True labor contractions come in intervals and start getting closer and closer together as time goes on.
Some fathers think that once mom starts feeling labor contractions, it is time to go to the hospital and help her get settled into the room so that they can wait for their little one to arrive.
Pregnancy and Newborns points out that most hospitals will not admit a pregnant woman if she’s only been dilated a few centimeters and they will tell her to go home and wait until her contractions are anywhere from five to seven seconds apart, since that usually means that her body has dilated a bit more in preparation for the little one to make his or her grand arrival out into the world.
Pop culture nowadays delivers a sanitized version of what labor and delivery is truly like for both mothers and fathers alike. It’s easy, clean and there isn’t too much of a muss and a fuss on mom’s part.
S. Mommy writes that in real life, giving birth is pretty intense for moms and dads get an eyeful of some pretty unsightly images that can make even the most iron-stomached man feel queasy. It is normal for labor and delivery to be pretty darn messy and squicky, but if you feel faint, just concentrate on your breathing—lest you miss the moment when your little one is born.
Many fathers-to-be erroneously believe that all babies are very cute and cuddly-looking the minute after they are born, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
S. Mommy notes that in no way, shape or form will a dad’s new baby boy or girl look like an adorable chubby infant that are often seen in commercials, television shows or movies. It just doesn’t happen, especially since birth is a pretty unsightly process for both mom and her newborn. If mom doesn’t look like a model, then you shouldn’t expect your newborn baby to look like one right after they came into the world either.
Some fathers go overboard in wanting to reassure and support their partner by staying by their side each and every second during labor, but this is not always possible.
According to Parents, many doctors do not like it when dad is hovering nervously around mom when he or she is trying to give the poor woman an epidural. Do not take this personally, as it is typically a common procedure that doctors have to follow when they work at a hospital. Once the epidural has been given, dad can go right back to sticking by his significant other’s side.
Parents writes that there is one way that dads-to-be can help their partner out during labor if they feel useless just giving her ice cubes to eat or letting her squeeze his hand really hard when the contractions wrack the lower half of her body.
Hospitals usually have a device that monitors the woman’s contractions, but most moms usually can’t see it since they are sitting down on the bed. Keep an eye on the monitor and give mom a head’s up when another contraction is about to start. That way, you can talk her through it and help reassure her that it’s almost time.
Many fathers-to-be like to boast before the big day that there is no way that they would ever feel woozy and goodness forbid, even faint when they see some of the intense stuff that goes on when mom is giving birth.
Pregnancy and Newborn points out that this hubris can often come back to haunt them when they wind up feeling faint at some of the sights they see during labor. There is no problem with needing to step outside of the room to get some air and re-orient yourself so that you can return and help support your significant other.
Most parents sign up for childbirth education classes so that they can be prepared for when the big day arrives. One part of these classes is usually dedicated to teaching moms-to-be different breathing techniques in order to help them keep their mind off of the contractions.
Parents writes that it is perfectly normal for moms to forget or ignore pretty much every piece of advice about controlling their breathing when it comes time to give birth. Don’t count for her or try to rub her back without asking first—some moms don’t like being touched when they are in the middle of labor and would rather be left alone.
According to Parents, there is a good chance that moms will start to have a nervy spazz when they are giving birth, which can disrupt their attempts to regulate their breath during contractions and cause their circulation to start racing around like a NASCAR race.
Dads-to-be need to be prepared for this bout of flailing and nervous tension because it will be up to them to help their significant other get their breathing regulated and reassure them that they are doing great, everything is going well, and they will be able to greet their little one sooner rather than later.
As mentioned in previous entries, giving birth gets really messy—especially in the later phases. It is not a pretty process and dads need to be prepared for the fact that they are going to see some gnarly sights that they can never, ever unsee.
Parents points out that one of these stomach-churning and completely embarrassing sights is that more often than not, moms tend to go to the bathroom when they are giving birth. To add insult to injury, moms tend to go number two instead of number one as they labor to bring their baby into the world.
Birth is not an easy process, and one of the quirks of bringing a child into the world is that moms have to deliver the placenta too, since this item doesn’t magically disappear during labor or dissolve inside of a woman’s body. It would probably be a lot easier for moms if the placenta took care of itself, but alas, that is not their fate.
Parents warns dads-to-be that if they have weak stomachs, they might not want to watch when mom delivers the placenta because it is a weird-looking item that looks more like an alien liver prop from a bizarre sci-fi movie or even a slasher flick like the classic Friday The 13th.
Dads, get it through your heads now: labor and delivery is not a pretty process and it makes your partners feel as if their insides are being twisted into something resembling one of those weird designs that Night King likes to create in Game of Thrones.
S. Mommy reassures fathers-to-be that it is perfectly normal for moms in active labor to start cussing their partners out and blaming them for all of the aches and contractions that they are in. Don’t take it too personally—they are just feeling poorly and need an outlet to take their mind off of the entire process.
Giving birth is not a fun process, and many women prefer it when the dads stand by their side so that they can hold their hand for comfort when the contractions start becoming closer together and more intense.
According to Parents, it is fairly common for moms to grip their significant other’s hand so hard that it becomes black-and-blue or gets sore because she’s acting like a vice on their limb. Tough it out and make sure that the hand that was squeezed gets iced later on because now’s not the time to complain: dads have to be strong and focus on encouraging moms.
Giving birth sounds like it should be a straightforward process—mom goes into labor, gets admitted into the hospital, goes through the entire process, pushes a bit and voila! A baby is born and both parents are ecstatic at the new arrival.
Pregnancy and Newborn adds that fathers need to be prepared for the fact that giving birth hardly ever goes as planned and that’s why if both parents have a birth plan, it is a good idea to have substitutes and other options in writing so that if things go haywire, you can go to option B, option C, etc.
Many dads-to-be will get hungry because of the fact that labor can take what feels like forever, but it’s a good idea to avoid bringing any kind of meals that are reek of spices and things like that into the delivery room.
Pregnancy and Newborn notes that most mothers-to-be have a very sensitive stomach and a keen sense of smell, which means that any kind of scent from a meal could make them feel ill or queasy. If you need to bring back something to eat, make sure it is something that doesn’t smell and is pretty bland so that mom’s stomach won’t revolt.
In many movies and television shows that feature a pregnant character giving birth, the happy new mother easily bounces back from the long process of labor and delivery while looking like a model to boot.
Livestrong notes that many mothers develop what is known as “postpartum chills” right after they deliver their new baby boy or girl, which can wig some unsuspecting fathers out. The reason why some moms shiver like they live in Winterfell is due to the fact that giving birth is a difficult process that throws their internal thermometer out of whack and needs some time to go back to normal.
Some dads have no idea that babies can come out looking as if their head is in the shape of a cone, especially if mom decided to have an all-natural birth instead of going for the surgical route.
Baby Centre writes that there’s no need for dads to fret, the cone shape is pretty normal for babies to have. The reason this bizarre birth phenomenon occurs is due to the fact that newborns have two soft spots on their head that allows them to easily leave their mother’s womb without accidentally hurting themselves or their mom during the delivery process.