What They Donít Tell You about Labor & Delivery

10 Things Every Mom-to-Be Should Know.

You’ve read all the books, attended childbirth classes, subscribed to the magazines and talked to your friends and family about their experiences. The thing is, no one tells you what you really need to know. For instance, everyone’s experience is different! So don’t let that lady in the grocery store telling you her horror stories freak you out. In the same vein, you’ll be able to pull some useful information from the following list, but not everything will apply to your situation. Just take some of those deep, diaphragmatic breaths and read on!

1. It’s messy, messy, messy! Do you envision the birth of your child just like it happens on TV? Wearing full makeup, you’ll do a lot of huffing and puffing, maybe say something nasty to your husband, and out pops your baby. Guess again. I’ll spare you by not going into too much detail, but imagine fluids exploding from every orifice of your body at the same time!

2.  Don’t wear your own nightgown. How many articles advise you to wear your own nightshirt? Some childbirth instructors stress this as one of the most important aspects of the birthing experience: “You shouldn’t feel like property of the hospital,” they say. See #1 above! Hopefully the nurse on duty will persuade you to wear a hospital gown. Although not glamorous, at least it’s soft and practical.

3.  Consider having more than one support person. Some people won’t feel comfortable with this option, but it worked great for me. My husband, mother and sister were all there to help me through labor. It allowed my husband to take breaks and I needed all three when it came time to push. I had my husband holding one leg, my sister clamped onto the other, and my mom rooting me on over the doctor’s shoulder.

4.  You’ll know when it starts! Trying to figure out when labor actually started was the hardest thing about being a first-time mom. I had no idea how I was supposed to know if this was the “real” thing or only Braxton-Hicks contractions. Guess what? You’ll know! It will hurt more and the contractions will come at regular intervals for a longer period of time.

5.  Don’t bring flowers, bring food! After living on ice chips and slushies for almost 36 hours and feeling like I’d run a marathon, all I wanted was food. Hospital food didn’t cut it either! My menus somehow got switched with the mommy next door and her tastes were the polar-opposite of mine. In my foggy state, it took me two meals to figure this out and by then I was almost checked out of the hospital. My sister-in-law was a lifesaver when she thought to bring me a steaming-hot chicken pot pie, plate of mashed potatoes and berry cobbler from my favorite restaurant. My hero!

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