What they Won’t tell you about Labor and Childbirth

Bookstores, websites, family and friends are full of advice about what to expect during labor and delivery. Most of the information they provide is valid and useful, but no one knows what it will really be like until they experience it for themselves and every delivery is unique. There are, however, some aspects of labor and delivery that somehow slip through the information cracks, leaving you to feel vulnerable, confused or even afraid. Knowing what to expect can help reduce those concerns, allowing you to enjoy this most amazing experience.

Fairy tales about labor and delivery

There’s no denying that the rose-colored glasses effect is in full swing once you learn that you are expecting. All the fairy tales you grew up with will take center stage as you prepare for this life-changing experience. What commonly occurs, instead, is tiredness, worry and a parade of complete strangers touching your belly. This can be a major letdown from idealistic expectations. The roller-coaster ride of emotions, physical changes and concerns is perfectly normal. Roll with it, if you can.

The law of averages

Statistics and averages are great for GPAs, but they don’t tell the whole story when it comes to labor and delivery. Most statistics state that first deliveries take longer and are more difficult than subsequent deliveries. This isn’t always the case. Some first deliveries can go as quickly as a couple of hours, where later deliveries can take up to 36 hours. The trick here is simply to relax and try to enjoy the ride. By breathing properly and letting the labor progress as it will, as it must, you will reduce your concerns and the pain.

The doctor’s convenience

Nearly every aspect of a hospital birth is geared toward your doctor’s comfort and convenience. For example, the very worst position to be in for childbirth is lying flat on your back. What position do most hospitals put laboring women is? You guessed it, flat on your back. This makes the doctor’s job easier, but you do not have to follow their lead. This is your body and your baby’s birth. You can decide for yourself what position works best for you. Throughout human history, squatting has been the position of choice for many valid reasons, such as easing the birthing process.

Powerful hormones

Many women are shocked by the effect of hormones just following delivery. Trembling of the entire body can occur for a few minutes and it is rarely mentioned in the literature. While the sensation itself is not uncomfortable, not knowing what is going on can be frightening. The drastic changes in hormone levels can also cause depression or apathy toward the newborn. These feelings are common. Of course, if the depression or apathy do not pass, it is a good idea to seek help.

You won’t care

After all the preparations, most new mothers cannot help but worry about feeling embarrassed and the pain involved with labor and delivery. While labor is a painful process, the truth is, you won’t care. Once everything starts happening, the only thing that will be on your mind is the birth of your baby. Nothing else will matter. All your worry will have been for nothing or worse. Worrying interferes with your ability to relax and enjoy the experience, creating tension that increases pain.

No one can tell you exactly how your labor and delivery should or will progress. The experience is uniquely your own. Trusting your body and staying healthy will help you to enjoy this profound experience positively.