Nine Things About Labor and Birth That Come as a Surprise To Many Women

  1. The Long Process of Being Admitted to the Hospital

If you are having your baby in a hospital, there is a lengthy admission process before you can carry on with your birth plan. It involves monitoring the baby for his or her health status, a blood draw, a vaginal check, and an endless amount of questions. Typically these steps can take between 45 minutes and a couple of hours to complete. If your baby is exiting your body during this time, you may skip the entire admission process, though you will still have to answer all of the same questions after your baby is born.


Whether you are planning a medicated or unmedicated birth, the default position for admission time is spent with you in the bed with a monitor strapped on to you. A great strategy to get through this time is to ask if you can stand beside the bed or sit on a birth ball while wearing the monitor. By being in any position other than on your back, you may find this time more tolerable.


If you are planning to use pain relief, do know that the admission process has to be completed before you can receive anything.


Once your admission process is complete, you can move forward with walking and following what your body tells you to do to continue moving your baby down and eventually out. If pain medication is a part of your plan, you can choose to have it administered at any time after being admitted.


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  1. Fluids

So much will come out of your body during labor! As you move around, prepare to wear a substantial pad to absorb what is flowing from you. The nurse may suggest an elaborate absorption set-up that seems absurd to you. Go ahead and take it. The nurse knows how much can come out of you. This applies whether your water has broken or not, but if your water has broken, you will leave a trail on the floor without the massive pad system in place.


  1. The No Food Rule at the Hospital Still Includes Some Options

The rules from anesthesia are starting to change about women not being able to eat during labor. However, not all of the hospitals have changed their local rules just yet. If your hospital says you cannot eat food and you are a strict rule-follower, do know that in most cases, the nurses are happy to provide you with endless water, juice, ginger ale, jello, broth, and popsicles.


  1. Foley Catheter

Even the 100% unmedicated birth might require a couple of uses of the foley catheter. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you cannot release your urine. A full bladder can block a baby from being pushed out, so the foley catheter can be used to help you if you can’t make yourself pee as needed.


If you decide to have an epidural, know that you will have no idea if you need to pee or not. You also won’t really be able to make yourself pee even if you are told your bladder is full. A foley catheter will be used from time to time to keep your bladder empty while you labor with an epidural.


  1. Epidural Does Not Usually Equal Relaxing Until Baby Arrives

There are occasions when a mother receives an epidural and relaxes until her baby arrives. These occasions are rare. Some epidurals do not affect the body evenly, and some just don’t quite remove pain from every place where it is occurring. Prepare those who will be supporting you during labor to possibly be providing comfort measures even while you have an epidural.


In other cases, though the epidural is relieving any pain, your baby’s heartrate may drop in certain position. If this happens, your nurse and support partners will be rolling your from side to side until baby looks better on the monitor.


If you do get an epidural that relieves all pain, and your baby tolerates it well, it is still a good idea to change positions every 30 minutes. Every time you change position, it gives your baby a chance to move down. When you are only on your back, your baby has to travel uphill.


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  1. Shaking

Even women who have taken birth education classes sometimes are surprised by how their bodies shake as labor progresses. It happens to most people. Know that it is normal and a positive sign that you are getting closer to meeting your baby. Most women will state that they aren’t cold, but they just can’t stop shaking. Sometimes a warm blanket or someone’s hands pushing your shoulders together can help you feel better if the shaking bothers you.


  1. It Really Feels Like You are Pooping Out Your Baby

It can be alarming when you are pushing and suddenly fear that your body is doing the birth process completely wrong. It will feel exactly like the baby is coming out of your butt. The baby is not coming out of your butt, though.


  1. Placenta – Labor Isn’t Quite Over After Pushing Out Your Baby

You’ve just pushed out your baby, and you’re snuggling him or her on your chest. Yay – all done! Well, wait, there will be more contractions and another little birth. Some women don’t even notice they are delivering their placenta while others need to turn their attention from their baby to an effort to push. It is still a part of the birth, though, even though you’ve already met your baby.


  1. Fundal Massage

You might be completely in love with your nurse after all the intense time you have spent together, but after you birth your baby, you might feel a little betrayed. She still has all the warm, fuzzy feelings, but she really does have to push very firmly on your belly to make sure your uterus is contracting to a smaller size and that you don’t have an excessive blood clot situation going on. Also, she will have to repeat this “massage” every 15 minutes for the first hour. Fundal massage does happen after the first hour, but it’s not as aggressive as your first few experiences.

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