Birthing the next generation is arguably one of the most important roles every generation has because this is the only way to ensure continuity. If something happened in any society that made it impossible for the women to give birth, things would go downhill very quickly.
Therefore, giving birth is an honorable task that each woman should receive a great reward for, but sadly we all consider it a normal task that most women will perform at some point in their lives.
However, giving birth is not a walk in the park for anyone involved, especially the mom. A mom has to go through so many uncomfortable experiences that most people don't even talk about in private, let alone in public forums. Doctors are some of those professionals that have received the relevant training to handle all the matters surrounding the birth of a baby, and they have the responsibility to guide the moms-to-be through every step.
As much as the doctors, and more specifically the gynecologists, take the time to give as much information as they can to their patients, some of them leave out some very important information. It's not that these professionals don't know everything that the mother will go through, it's just that they choose to share the information they feel is relevant and forget to mention all else.
Here are 20 things doctors don’t tell soon-to-be moms about labor, and when we think about it, they probably do it for the good of the moms.
20 Your Stomach Won't Go Back To Normal Immediately
Doctors often forget to share any information concerning how fast the soon-to-be mother will be back to her previous body, especially with regard to the size of their bellies.
Many new mothers expect their bellies will return to normal size almost immediately after birth, but this has never been the case.
Often moms leave the hospital looking like they are five months pregnant. This is because during pregnancy not only their bellies grow, even the uterus expands to make room for the baby. The uterus begins to shrink back 4 to 6 weeks after the mother's body gets used to not being pregnant. The shrinking process might be slightly painful.
19 Your Labor Can Be Quick Or Can Last For Days
Soon-to-be moms should know that there is no guaranteed time frame for how long labor should last. Some women labor for a few hours while others have prolonged labor that can last for days. Prolonged labor is quite normal and doctors often monitor the mother and the baby closely to make sure everything is okay and in case of complications, they have to look for other delivery options.
Quick labor occurs when a woman dilates to 10cm within five hours or less, and then takes an hour or so to push the baby out. Mothers who have had other babies before will probably have a quick labor, which is not always the case with first-time moms.
18 Your Plan Might Not Go As You Would Expect
More often than not, soon-to-be moms usually make plans for everything, including their delivery days. However, doctors forget to tell them that their plans might not always play out as they expect. For example, a mom can make plans thinking her baby will come on a particular week but then the baby comes weeks earlier or later.
They may also plan that they will go through labor without meds but when they get there, they end up requesting for an epidural.
In addition, moms can plan for natural or water births but unfortunately develop complications like a breached or distressed baby, which requires an emergency C-section. While birth plans might not go as planned, it is important for moms to plan financially in case of such emergencies.
17 Not Everyone's Water Breaks Like In The Movies
Movies have always created the notion that a pregnant woman's water breaks unceremoniously with a large gush of water. While this can certainly happen, it is not always the case.
For some women, water breaking is a gradual process, which occurs over a long period and trickles out slowly.
The water, which is the amniotic fluid that protects the baby during pregnancy, flows out depending on how the sac breaks. Some moms even go into active labor before their water breaks and their doctors have to break the water physically. After the water breaks, moms begin contractions over the next 12 to 24 hours.
16 You Will Probably Go #2
Doctors often forget to tell moms who give birth naturally that there is a great chance that they will have a bowel movement during labor. This is because of the pushing process during delivery. The very same muscles that you engage when having a bowel movement are the same ones used when pushing a baby out.
It takes a lot of physical force to push a baby out and mothers barely notice when they have a bowel movement during active labor. In addition, bowel movement during labor is a good sign, it shows that a woman is pushing correctly and using the right muscles.
15 There's A Way To Numb The Discomfort, But It's Not Guaranteed
During labor, some women might request their doctors to perform an epidural so they don't feel too much pain. Epidural is the process of injecting anesthesia around the spinal cord blocking any sensation around a mother's tummy. Most of the women who have injected the epidural are pleased with how well it works but what doctors fail to disclose is that for some, it does not always work.
For some women, the medicine does not spread well, leading to partial pain relief. Moms should also know that epidural only works when injected at a certain period during labor, once that period passes, the injection might not be of any use.
14 You Probably Won't Be Allowed To Eat
During the early stages of labor, moms are usually allowed to eat but when active labor checks in, they may not be allowed to. While this might be the general rule, some doctors are usually of a contrary opinion. Some doctors allow their patients to eat because they say mothers need all the energy they can get to push.
Other doctors do not encourage it because if a mother ends up requiring a C-section, they do not want them aspirating or getting food in their airways. Others advise if a mother must eat, they should have light snacks, which prevent nausea and vomiting. However, in most cases, women in labor are in so much pain they never want to eat.
13 Things Never Look Exactly The Same
Most women often dream of having a baby but when that time comes, not many are fully aware the changes their bodies go through after having one. Often, women think that everything will go back to normal post birth, which is far from the truth as some changes may last a lifetime.
Once a woman gives birth naturally, the structure of her downstairs area will change. It normally never goes back to the exact size it was before. On the other hand, the girls will stretch to accommodate the milk required for the baby and then shrink after breastfeeding and appear as if the pair is deflated.
12 Giving Birth Is The Easy Part
Before birth, most moms-to-be are always anxious about labor pains and the process of giving birth, doctors forget to remind them that giving birth is easier than raising and taking care of the baby. Not to say that childbirth is easy, some moms experience difficult and complicated births but the real work usually begins when they first set eyes on their babies.
Immediately after birth, moms begin nursing, changing diapers, grooming and soothing the baby, thereafter they start waiting for major milestones. Before they know it, they start attending parents meetings in school and then onwards spend a lifetime raising and constantly worrying about their children.
11 Your Doctor Might Not Be The One Delivering Your Baby
In most cases, labor never goes as planned, mothers are always given estimate dates on when they are expected to deliver. What they need to expect is that their doctors may not always be the ones to deliver their babies. This is because most doctors split hospital rounds and might not be on call that particular day they start labor. However, there is always another doctor who is qualified to do the job.
Also in some cases, they might get to the hospital minutes before giving birth and a nurse ends up delivering the baby. What moms should know is that when they are in labor it does not matter who is delivering the baby, often they just want the baby out.
10 It Will Take A While To Heal Fully
Depending on the birth method used, the healing period varies among mothers. For mothers who give birth naturally, mom's downstairs usually swells and stretches, and it takes about 4 to 6 weeks for the swelling to go down and for its elasticity to return. Mothers are encouraged to do Kegel exercises to improve elasticity.
If a mother gives birth through C-section, the skin heals in 5 to 10 days. The muscle layers on the abdomen heal in about 6 weeks but the deep layers can take up to 6 months to heal completely. Moms should also know that waiting to heal before resuming normal activities is important.
9 It Is Good To Take Birth Classes
Sometimes, mothers-to-be ignore attending the various birth classes recommended for them and doctors should always remind them of the importance of attending such classes. Childbirth classes help mothers to be confident in their ability to give birth and they help them to manage their expectations.
A good enrolling class teaches them about things like the various birth methods, what to expect during labor, how to relieve pain during labor, and even how to handle the newborn babies. These classes provide them with a forum to correct any misinformation they might have. Another important reason for attending these classes is that moms get to connect with other moms and share experiences.
8 Giving Birth Is Not A Private Matter
Because babies are born the way they are, giving birth cannot be a private affair. Some doctors often forget to tell the soon-to-be mothers this simple fact. During labor, the doctor and probably a nurse will always come every hour or so to check how far the mother has dilated and how close the contractions are getting.
The amount of privacy will depend on the environment you give birth in. In a small hospital or for home deliveries, you will likely have one or two people attending to you, but in bigger hospitals, you might be seen by several nurses, physicians, and doctors depending on how many staff shifts will change before you give birth. However, all hospitals are different.
7 You Might Lose Hair After Delivery
Sometimes doctors fail to tell moms-to-be about the hair loss they might experience after delivery. When a woman is pregnant, hormones usually boost the growth of hair making it even thicker than usual. However, once a woman gives birth, the hormone levels drop and the hair falls out in big clumps. Women who are not prepared for this usually get incredibly nervous.
This process is normal because while pregnant, women have high levels of estrogen hormones, which boost hair growth, but after birth, the body returns to normal and hair begins to fall off. Some women lose a lot while others lose just a little, but after postpartum hair loss, their hair continues to grow at a normal rate.
6 The Baby's Heart Rate Might Drop
Doctors should tell patients in advance that when in labor it is common for the umbilical cord to be compressed, leading to a drop in the baby's heart rate. Most hospitals hook the mothers to an electric monitor so that they can closely monitor the baby's heart rate.
Having a high or a low heart rate is a sign that the baby is having issues with labor. The baby might be in distress, therefore, receiving low levels of oxygen. Some women might experience high blood pressure a condition called preeclampsia causing the baby's heart rate to fluctuate. Depending on what is causing the fluctuations, doctors always prepare for such situations.
5 You Will Be So Tired After
Doctors often do not prepare mothers about the fatigue they will experience after pushing out the baby. In their final weeks of pregnancy, women often feel uncomfortable because of the big bellies and occasionally do not get enough sleep because they barely find comfortable sleeping positions.
During labor, women use up a lot of physical energy to push the baby out and those who have prolonged labor rarely sleep. Furthermore, even after giving birth, these women feel very tired and in most cases end up sleeping for hours. This is because their bodies are recuperating from the incredible physical challenge of pregnancy and childbirth.
4 Discomfort In An Annoying Area Might Happen During Or After Labor
During pregnancy, hemorrhoids occur because of stress on the downstairs area. The veins are usually painful and because new moms are prone to constipation, bowel movements become a nightmare.
Mothers can treat their hemorrhoids by sitting on a small pack of ice or soak themselves in warm water several times in a day. For mothers who do not get hemorrhoids during birth, precautions like using stool softener to avoid straining the muscles, drinking lots of fluids, and eating fruits and green vegetables are essential. If the pain is persistent, such mothers should always visit a doctor.
3 There Are Pros And Cons Of Induction
More often than not, doctors can fail to inform their patients about the challenges that come with induced labor. While some women prefer being induced so that they can plan for their childbirth, others do not go into labor at term and have to be medically induced to start the labor process. Some moms also get induced when they face risks for continuing their pregnancy.
Some of the risks associated with induction include getting a premature baby, stressing the baby during delivery, and in many cases, mothers still end up doing a C-section or vacuum deliveries. Some pros include planned deliveries, end of pregnancy discomfort, and having the intended doctor do the delivery.
2 Things Might Get Dicey In Certain Areas
Sometimes, doctors might conveniently forget to inform mothers-to-be that their business down there might meet the scissors during delivery. This tearing occurs because a baby has to come out through a small hole that needs considerable expansion. For years, doctors have performed episiotomy, a medical procedure where they make an incision in the final stages of labor to prevent unmanageable tearing.
However, this procedure is no longer done unless if it's the only option the doctors have, because of the risks and pain the mother goes through after delivery. The good news is not every mom gets the tear; some give birth without going through it. What all moms need to know is that their bodies have been created to carry and birth a baby.
1 Aunt Flo Might Come For Weeks
After nine months of not getting their periods, mothers are not always prepared for the long period that comes once they give birth. No matter which birth method is used, moms will always experience postpartum bleeding for weeks. This is known as lochia and can last between two to six weeks postpartum.
This is the body's way of getting rid of extra tissue in the uterus, which was used to help the baby grow. New mothers are given special pads for this, as the normally used ones cannot contain the heavy flow. In most cases, the red stuff on the toilet paper is perfectly normal.