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Pregnancy

10 Not-true Things People Believe About Giving Birth

Jennifer Lincoln, MD, IBCLC, Board Certified OB/GYN
January 3, 2019 . 19 min read

1. Your doctor will be there to deliver your baby

Not all cases are the same and you may not give birth with the doctor you know and love assisting you. Depending on how your obstetrician’s practice runs and how many doctors are in the practice, you may have one of the doctors you are less familiar with there during your delivery. With just one doctor in the practice, they you will most likely know who is going to help deliver your baby. If who is there with you on your big day worries you, make sure to ask when choosing an OB/GYN.

2. Your doctor will stay in your room

Depending on your doctor’s popularity, you may be spending most of your time at the hospital with your labor nurse. While your doctor will check in frequently and will be there for the big push, they won’t normally spend too much time in the room with you otherwise. In some cases, your doctor may have multiple women in labor at one time, patients at the hospital for another reason, and/or be receiving numerous phone calls from patients.

3. Giving birth is quick!

“Labor” would probably have another name if giving birth was as quick as Hollywood portrayed it to be. The truth is, labor is named such because it’s sometimes just that. It’s normal for labor to take hours and in some cases, days. For a first-time mom, you can labor up to 20 hours or longer before pushing. The good news is that after the first child, you can expect a shorter labor.

4. Epidurals make labor painless

We’ve all heard how horrible labor is before the big epidural, and then it’s smooth sailing from there. But epidurals don’t always make everything painless. You can expect to feel some pain and pressure during labor and delivery. Due to different nerves in your vagina and uterus, you may feel burning during birth. If the pain is really intense, you can ask your doctor or nurse to check on your epidural for an adjustment or try other options.

5. After the baby arrives, you will be able to sleep

Don’t expect to get shut eye immediately after giving birth. You will probably experience a spark of adrenaline that can keep you wide-eyed, as well as a slew of visitors that want to check on you and your little one. Nurses and doctors will want to make sure you’re OK, and you may even have to change rooms after giving birth, further delaying a nap. In addition, babies are very alert in the hours following birth, which is important for bonding and feeding.

6. The pain will stop after the baby is delivered

While it’s known that labor is painful, it may not end as soon as the baby arrives. After delivery, you may have a few more bumps in the road before you’re pain-free. Delivering your placenta, experiencing afterbirth pains, having vaginal tears or episiotomies repaired, going to the bathroom, and sitting up are all things that may cause you some pain. Luckily, if you let your nurse or doctor know you’re in pain, they can help.

7. You\’ll know when you are in labor

Sometimes it can be hard to tell false labor from true, and you may end up in the hospital thinking the big day has come only to be sent home. It’s common, especially if it’s your first pregnancy, to think you are in labor when you’re not. Fortunately your time will come soon enough.

8. Your water always breaks on its own

Most of the time you can expect your water to break on its own, and when you least expect it. In some cases, your doctor or midwife will have to intervene and break your bag of waters to help move the process along.

9. Your baby will be here in just a few pushes!

Giving birth isn’t exactly how Hollywood portrays it to be. The baby probably won’t arrive after a few pushes, unless you’re very lucky. Giving birth may take even longer than expected, and the long process may have you feeling like waving the white flag and opting for a C-section after pushing for some time. Rest assured that for most women, this part takes time and the baby will come when he or she is ready.

10. Picture time!

We’ve all seen newborns making their debut looking adorable on TV but in real life, newborns aren’t exactly camera-ready. Their appearance may have some changes from coming through the birth canal. Their faces may be swollen and have some bruises. Their heads may be shaped like a cone and also have swelling. And their body is covered in a cheesy substance called vernix.

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