Towards the end of the third trimester, pregnant women who have not decided on a birth plan need to do so as a matter of urgency. A birth plan is a write up of the care moms-to-be expect to get during labor, delivery, and after birth. Once a mom has made a decision on her birth plan, she should discuss it with her doctor, midwife, or doula, for them to act accordingly when the time comes.
One of the most important things that should be noted in a birth plan is the method mom intends on giving birth. Moms can have their babies naturally or have a C-section birth. Those who settle for natural births can have med-infused births or non-med-infused births. Water births are also common among women who want to ease labor pain but have little to no medical intervention. Moms can also decide to have home births or hospital births. Hospital births are typically recommended by those in the hospital because doctors can attend to any complications that might occur.
Most moms have the free will to choose the type of birth they want but some can be restricted due to medical reasons. Women who have had C-sections or whose babies are in breech positions have no option but to agree to a C-section birth. For women with the desire to have natural births for the first time, this is what they should expect as they plan to welcome their little one.
20 The Term 'Natural Birth' Has Different Meanings
Most people do not know that the words natural birth mean different things to different people. To some soon-to-be moms, a natural birth means giving birth through the birth canal without any intervention. To others, getting minimal intervention is still natural and to the last group, giving birth naturally means delivering a baby through the birth canal with as much intervention as possible.
Huffpost.com points out that it is very important for moms to inform their doctors exactly what they expect when they settle for natural births and possibly include it in their birth plans. Having a doctor or a doula present while giving birth to assist the mother in labor and delivery is also a natural birth. Water births are also natural births; moms say the water helps with easing pain.
19 Contractions Continue Even After Birth
Another thing that most people do not know about natural births is that contractions continue even after giving birth. Once the baby gets out, mama has to deliver the placenta as well and this is the third stage of labor. During this process, whattoexpect.com says moms usually experience mild contractions that last about a minute long but because of all the pain experienced during labor, they usually do not notice them.
The contractions are supposed to help the placenta separate from the uterine wall and push it out through the birthing canal where the mother can push it out. At times doctors need to intervene by either injecting meds or pressing on the mom’s tummy.
18 Women Can Opt For Different Delivery Positions
A majority are not aware that during natural births women can opt for other delivery positions instead of the commonly used lying back semi-reclined position. This, of course, will depend on where the mom has chosen to give birth, as whattoexpect.com further explains.
Birth centers and home births, allow women the option of choosing alternative delivery positions they find comfortable like squatting, being on all fours, lying on the side, semi-sitting, kneeling down or leaning on something. However, most hospitals prefer the lying back position because it gives the doctor ease of access when attending to the mother and it helps the baby move under the pubic bone effortlessly.
17 Contrary To Popular Belief, Women Feel More Than You'd Think
A mom-to-be usually feels every movement and contraction during natural birth, especially if, they do not get medical intervention. According to girlboss.com, labor pain is a strong period cramp in the abdomen, groin, and back areas but it is different for every woman. Pain is relative and therefore women have different levels of pain tolerance.
During delivery, moms will feel the baby getting closer to the birthing canal as well as their head popping out. When the baby is making its way out, it normally pushes the mother’s bowel and this feels exactly like she is going for number two. The majority also say that pushing a baby out is not as painful as labor contractions.
16 Mom Will Probably Not Be Allowed To Eat
Most people do not know this, but when women choose to have natural births, they do not have permission to eat during labor. Majority of hospitals do not allow women in the active stages of labor or delivery to take any solid food, regardless of how long they have to wait until delivery. The patients are usually limited to clear liquids or ice chips.
This rule applies because of the possibility of having a C-section, however small. Complications can sometimes arise forcing the doctor to perform an emergency C-section. If the mother had eaten just before getting under the general anesthesia, she is at a greater risk of aspirating her own vomit, as stated by parents.com. However, this is soon changing because hospitals are moving from general anesthesia to epidurals and spinal blocks.
15 The Labor Period Might Be Shorter Or Longer Than Expected
A number of people may think that the labor period is standard for all women but this is not the case. First-time mothers are more likely to labor for a longer period than women who have given birth before are. Some women can labor for a few hours while others can take even two days, as revealed by huffpost.com.
Prolonged labor is normal. Doctors will continuously monitor the mother and baby until the woman gives birth. The same case applies to pushing. A woman can push for an hour while the next one will push for three, depending on factors like whether the pregnancy is a first or not.
14 Pain Relief Doesn't Always Work
Many women who choose a natural birth often go for pain relief meds to ease labor pain. What most people do not know is that pain meds might not always work. The most commonly used pain med is an epidural, which the doctor administers by injecting it in the spine at the lower back.
According to ncbi.com, epidurals might not work if the catheter supposed to drain body fluids sits incorrectly or if the woman’s anatomy is problematic. Sometimes the woman’s labor can progress faster than anticipated thus giving the epidural block little time to set up. Epidurals have a failure rate of 9 to 12 percent.
13 There Is A High Chance Of Going Number Two In The Process
Natural birth is a strenuous activity that requires a lot of physical force and people do not know that that laboring moms can have a number two in the process. As the baby makes its way out, it normally pushes on mom’s bowels forcing her to go number two.
This is usually a good thing. When the body expels everything out to make way for the baby this shows that the woman is actually using the right muscles to push, as stated in the site girlboss.com. Doctors and nurses know that this is normal in the process of giving birth, so it does not gross them out at all.
12 The Birth Plan May Not Go As Expected
A birth plan communicates a woman’s preferences during labor and delivery. People and especially pregnant women need to realize that sometimes birth plans may not roll out as expected, which bellybelly.com also agrees with. Once a woman who had planned to go through labor without pain meds realizes that she has a low tolerance for pain, she can opt for an epidural.
Some women can plan for a natural birth but if the doctor discovers that the baby is breech, chances that the mom will have to undergo a C-section are very high, so it is always important for moms to understand that birth plans are not cast on stone. Moms should focus on having a safe birth and a healthy baby instead.
11 Things Can Fall Out Of Place After Delivery
Surprisingly, sometimes some organs move out of place after delivery. According to epainassist.com, during natural birth, certain conditions like pelvic organ prolapse or uterine inversion can occur. Pelvic organ prolapse arises when the muscles supporting the pelvic organs like the uterus become loose and allow pelvic organs to fall out of place. There are varieties of treatments doctors can use to rectify this.
Uterine inversion, on the other hand, comes about when the uterus turns inside out after delivery. It is very rare but can occur after a natural birth. Successful treatment using IV fluids is possible after a quick diagnosis.
10 Mom Might Be Stitched Up Afterward
Many people may think that stitches are only required after a C-section but they should know that women who have natural births sometimes need stitching up too. The movement of the fetus through the birth canal can exert pressure on it causing it to overstretch and tear.
This tear will require stitching which according to whattoexpect.com, can take several weeks to heal with proper care. Initially, doctors would perform episiotomies. They would surgically make the cut before the tearing occurs on its own. This cut can heal better than a natural tear but research has shown that episiotomies do not prevent the problem and therefore, doctors no longer recommend them.
9 The Baby May Have To Be Assisted Out
When a mom needs help to deliver her baby during the last stages of labor, she requires an assisted birth. Most people do not know that this can happen during natural birth. As stated by bellybelly.com, doctors can carry out assisted births using forceps or vacuum extractors.
Assisted births are usually done when babies get distressed close enough to birth or when a mother has had prolonged labor and has no energy to push. However, these assisted births come with several risks which range from scalp traumas, bumps on the head of the baby to more serious problems like hemorrhaging under the skull or on the covering of the skull.
8 The Mom-To-Be Will Be Left On Her Own A lot
When women are in the hospital ready to give birth, the doctors will usually leave them to labor on their own even for as long as it takes. Most people do not know this happens during natural births. As long as things are progressing normally, doctors will leave laboring women on their own with the nurses, they can check on them occasionally before reaching full dilation.
According to girlboss.com, this is why most people enlist doulas. Doulas have the relevant training to provide emotional and physical support to laboring women. Other women can request their partners to fill in by giving them back massages or holding their hands during contractions.
7 Pushing During Labor Is Not Necessary
Most people do not know that during natural birth, a mom does not have to push at the second stage of labor. Bellybelly.com agrees that pushing is not necessary because women are born with the ability to give birth even while unconscious because of fetal ejection reflex (FER).
FER allows them to push out the baby with no effort and usually does not hurt. When women push, they hold their breaths in, which temporarily decrease the fetal heart rate. Pushing also increases the risk of perineal trauma, though doctors will still recommend it to encourage a quick and safe delivery. FER birthing takes longer.
6 The Doctor Might Have To Break Mom’s Water
Ideally, women are supposed to break their water before they start laboring but this is not always the case. Some can start labor without their water breaking and what most people don't know is that doctors may have to break the water physically during a procedure known as amniotomy.
The process involves inserting a device into the birth canal and carefully breaking the amniotic sac, as revealed by medicalnewstoday.com. However, if labor is progressing well, an amniotomy is not necessary. Other doctors can opt to induce labor in an effort to speed up breaking of the water but doing this has its own risks, labor might not progress as required.
5 Moms Can Experience Intense Shivering After Birth
After a woman delivers her baby naturally, she may experience intense shivering within two hours of giving birth. This is a normal occurrence and although most people don't know about this, it experienced by many women after birth.
The shivering is the result of hormonal changes, fluid shifts, the adrenaline mom will produce for pushing and the strenuous work of labor. Moms need to keep warm during this period even if the room they placed in is warm. As revealed by parents, the shivering should not go on for more than two hours, as prolonged shivers could be a sign of infection.
4 Prolonged Labor Can Harm The Baby
Prolonged labor occurs when labor stalls and progresses much slower, usually more than 20 hours for a first-time mom and 14 hours for a mother who has given birth before. As revealed by epainassist.com, prolonged labor can result in hurting the baby. Most people don't know this about natural births. During that time, the doctors will need to monitor the mother and baby on a regular basis.
Slow labor can cause abnormal heart rhythm, uterine infections, and low oxygen supply to the baby. In worse cases, the baby can get distressed and need emergency delivery. However, there are women who experience prolonged labor and end up giving birth to healthy babies naturally.
3 Mom Might Get Puffy All Over
A good number of people do not know that women experience swelling after birth. Excess fluids in the body and changes in estrogen and progesterone levels cause this. During labor, most hospitals give laboring moms IV fluids to prevent dehydration but they also cause postpartum swelling.
According to aeroflawinc.com, the swelling is normal and usually goes away if mom maintains a healthy meal plan and stays hydrated. Moms will find themselves sweating and urinating a lot to reduce the excess body fluids. The swelling should subside after the first week of giving birth.
2 Get Comfy Because Many People Will Have A Look Downstairs
Giving birth in a hospital is not a private issue and people should know that many people will view a mother-to-be’s lady bits. This, however, greatly depends on where she chooses to give birth. According to huffpost.com, big hospitals normally have more people attending to mothers than birth centers. At home, only specified people surround mom.
Many people will enter the delivery rooms when a mother is in labor. For starters, depending on how long she labors, several nurses, a midwife, medical residents, the doctor on call, and a physician might see her. Heck, even the cleaners can have a view but most mothers are usually in excruciating pain to barely notice.
1 Healing Takes Time
Most people don't know this about natural births but it takes time for a mom to heal down there. After pushing an eight-pound baby, the birth canal is usually sore, swollen, and stretched out. It usually takes around four to six weeks for the swelling and soreness to go down and the elasticity to return, as stated by whattoexpect.com.
If there is, a perineal tear or an episiotomy healing might take a little longer keeping in mind that recovery is different for every woman. Things also hardly ever return to exactly how they were; moms have to adjust to their new normal. In any case, it is important for moms to wait until they recover before they can get back to their normal routines.
Sources: huffpost.com, whattoexpect.com, girlboss.com, parents.com, bellybelly.com.au, epainassist.com, ncbi.gov, medicalnewstoday.com,todaysparent.com, aeroflowinc.com