Childbirth in movies goes one of two ways. Either the woman is sweat-free and wearing lipstick as her clean newborn slides out of the womb. Or, she’s screaming bloody murder when her husband passes out beside the bed.
Neither of these is true. Or false.
We grow up thinking many life events are like how they are in movies. But, it’s important to remember that movies and even other mothers’ experiences won’t be like your own. Each pregnancy and childbirth are unique.
It’s up to you to learn what’s true and have realistic expectations for your labor. Keep reading to find out the eight most common misconceptions about giving birth to a baby.
1. Laying Down is the Only Way
If you’ve done any reading on birthing positions, you might know that laying down isn’t optimal. Gravity can be of great help during childbirth and laying down doesn’t use it.
Some women have found labor to be easier in a squatting position. Others stand or even hover in a tub of bathwater.
Believing you must lay down during childbirth is a misconception. You could have a smoother, faster birth if you’re in a comfortable position for your body.
2. Newborns Are Always Cute
You know the phrase, “don’t judge a book by its cover”? Well, the same goes for newborns.
Every mother will think her newborn is magical, but it’s okay to also think they’re gross. When the baby comes out, they’re going to have a slimy coat of vermix. This will absorb into the baby’s skin over time.
Your baby might also look squished or misshapen at first. Some baby’s heads get elongated from the birth canal. This is all normal, so don’t feel shocked if you don’t give birth to a Gerber baby right away.
3. Epidurals Are Magic
If you’ve decided you’re open to getting an epidural, you need to know that it isn’t magic. It doesn’t always make childbirth painless or easy.
For some women, the epidural doesn’t work at all. Other women say that it only numbed half of their lower body. It’s also possible for it to work well and numb the entire pelvis.
It’s important for you not to go into labor relying on the epidural. You could feel pain; you could feel a lot of pain. Prepare for that, and if the epidural works, that’s only a bonus.
4. A Lost Mucus Plug Means Labor Time
Your mucus plug is a glob of discharge that gathers at the opening of your cervix. It’s meant to prevent bacteria from entering the uterus during pregnancy.
A common misconception is that when the mucus plug comes out, it’s time to give birth. This isn’t always the case.
Some women never notice their mucus plug come out. And when they do, it doesn’t signify labor. It lets doctors know that the cervix has opened enough for the mucus plug to fall off.
In the weeks up until your due date, you’re likely seeing your doctor once a week. They’re able to check the status of your cervical opening without needing the absence of a mucus plug.
5. The Baby Blues Aren’t Real
What happens after you have the baby? You go home with your beautiful little infant and bask in the bliss that is motherhood. Right?
It’s completely normal for new mothers to feel a mix of emotions. Moodiness is common, as is tiredness and irritation. Of course, you love your little one, but the experience of pregnancy and labor was a lot!
Postpartum depression is a real concern, but it’s nothing to feel ashamed of. More women than the media let us believe have felt depressed after giving birth. What’s important is you have a strong support system and someone you can talk to about it.
6. You Can Kickstart Labor
There are plenty of myths about how you can kickstart your labor. For women that are still pregnant past their due date, the pressure to give birth is on.
Some women believe eating spicy food will induce labor. Others eat caster oil, drive on bumpy streets, or get acupuncture.
There is no scientific proof that any of these methods will induce labor. There is proof that they might make you feel nauseous, relaxed, or tired.
7. The Hospital Is Your Only Option
Many women prefer to skip the hospital for their labor. Hospitals can feel very clinical, sterile, and lacking in warmth.
Instead, birthing centers and at-home births are considered to be nicer environments.
Birthing centers are great because you have privacy, comfortable furniture, and more options. There’re often bathtubs and space to walk around. Plus, more room for your family.
Giving birth at home is another option that’s more comfortable than the hospital. But, it’s important to have an experienced midwife to deliver the baby. They should know when to call for medical intervention.
8. Once the Baby’s Out, You’re Done
Once you’ve pushed the baby out of your body, you may feel relief that it’s over. Unfortunately, childbirth has a few more steps after the baby’s out.
It usually takes about 30 minutes after birth for the placenta to come out. You may need to push it out like you were giving birth again.
Then, after you’re cleaned up, you may need stitches. All that pushing can cause small tears inside the vagina. Your body will likely feel exhausted and sore after giving birth.
Want to Know More About Giving Birth to a Baby?
It can be fun to listen to other mother’s tell their birthing story. But, remember that each birth is unique, as is the mother’s body. What went awful for some could go great for others, and vice versa.
Learning the common myths about giving birth to a baby can help you prepare for reality.
For more labor myths, pregnancy guides, and birthing tips, check out the blog.