So you’re pregnant. Now it’s preparing for your new baby.
But now the time is upon you. Labour is coming!
We even went to birthing classes and there were still many things that were surprises to us. So we made this list of 10 things they don’t tell you about labour. We also have a bonus labour infographic for you too!
I’d love to hear what the most surprising part of your labour was for you!
And if you enjoy this post, don’t forget to check out 10 things they don’t tell you about after the baby is born in our post here. There’s an infographic there too!
1. Your water breaking isn’t a one-and-done episode
Surprisingly, this isn’t talked about more. Movies I suspect play a large role in it.
Your water may gush out as you see in the movies, it may also be a slow trickle and others may even need to have their water broken. No matter how it happens though it doesn’t stop happening until you have the baby. This came as quite a surprise for me as I thought once it was done, it was done.
2. You’re going to poop
It’s okay, we’ve all done it. I mean the way you know you’re pushing correctly is when you’re feeling like you’re pushing out the mother of all poops anyway so it really shouldn’t be much of a surprise. But for some reason my birthing class felt the need to leave this little nugget as a surprise for me in the room.
No worries though, the nurses see this all the time and you’ll hardly even realize it happens with all the events going on during the pushing anyway. They are extremely discrete about this unfortunate event and it’s nothing to worry about.
3. Birth plans are more like birth suggestions
The trendy thing now is to have a birthing plan. Birth plans are great and you should absolutely have one. But please for your nurse’s sake, keep in mind they are more of a wish list. Unexpected things will happen throughout the labour and even the best-laid plan will go awry at some point.
The best birth plan is a flexible birth plan. By our third, I walked in and told the nurse and doctor approximately what I wanted including if there was time I wanted to do an epidural after not wanting one with my first and not having time with my second. We did the epidural…. but the baby came before it was able to start working anyway. Things happen.
Check out the things they don’t tell you about in our labour infographic at the bottom of the page!
4. You may be on larger display than you thought
Things start great. You have your nurse there to take care of you and she’s talking you through it. Contractions are starting to ramp up but they are manageable. Then you’re laying there half naked bouncing around on a ball or jumping in a tub and things are still okay because it’s just you, your SO, your nurse and the doctor occasionally.
Then the pushing starts and it’s like somebody set off the smoke signals. During my last birth, I had a doctor, a student doctor, 4 nurses, and the anesthesiologist in the room with my husband. Nothing like opening your legs to the world for the most traumatic moments of your life. Although you don’t care who is there at that moment, you just want that baby out!
5. Epidurals take time to be effective
It would have been nice if somebody had warned me of this beforehand. Once you decide you want an epidural they need the anesthesiologist to come and get the epidural started. Then it takes another half hour or so for the epidural to actually start working.
We were in the hospital overnight so we had the unfortunate luck of only one anesthesiologist being on call and he was in a c-section at the time. He finally made it and we got the epidural started and just after it was started I made it to 10 cm and we were off to the races. They never even started the epidural because there was no time for it to become effective. All the pain, no gain…
6. You might tear
Tearing sucks and they don’t explain this well enough. You can tear or you can have an episiotomy if things are not progressing any further. Every person is different, you can even tear after having the episiotomy. It’s normal and very common but I feel women should be made more aware of this before childbirth.
By the way did I mention we have a great labour infographic at the end of the page?
7. You’ll give birth twice
Okay not exactly, and no I’m not talking about twins. You have to birth the placenta as well. This was an unexpected turn of events and while it’s not like birthing a child, it is pretty shocking.
I was also absolutely shocked at the size of it! They may even ask if you want to see it. I’m not sure why somebody would want to. From my husband’s description, it isn’t a sight you’d necessarily want to see.
Please also check out our child cost calculator to help budget the costs of your new addition.
8. You may not sleep for 24 hours or more!
With my first, I started at about 10:00 pm on September 14th. He wasn’t born until early in the morning on the 16th. During that time I didn’t sleep more than a half hour a couple of times from exhaustion.
We were sent home from the hospital at about midnight for not being far enough along the first time and told to try and sleep. The pain was so bad we were back up to the hospital for another round of medication a couple of hours later and then back home again. Back up to the hospital again in the morning when I was finally admitted and then we were sent for a nice long walk to try and help move things along.
He didn’t finally make his appearance until 2:00 AM on the 16th. It was a gruelling affair and while I had heard of the horror stories of how long labour can take, I never thought about how hard it is to get any sleep through all of that.
9. Pushing can take a long time!
What I left out of the story from #8 is that pushing along took 2 hours. Some can go extremely quickly like what happened with my second but it is all over the map.
I’d advise you to stay topped up on fluids as much as possible during the labour process. Eat whenever you can as well. You may need the energy as you go through a long pushing period sweating and putting everything you can into getting that baby out of you as fast as humanly possible.
10. Only about 4% of babies are born on their due date
Due dates are just a guess at the end of the day. 4% surprised me though and new moms are more likely to go over the due date.