Childbirth. The most beautiful, glorious, time in a new mother’s life… Or is it? Many women, especially first-time mothers, are surprised to learn that they don’t know as much about birth as they may have thought. We’re here to tell some little, possibly shocking, details that your health class (or even your own mom) didn’t tell you!
There’s A Chance You Don’t Know You’re In Labor.
It seems obvious, right? Your water breaks sending a flood down to the floor, you rush to the hospital and your baby is in your arms by dinner time. Turns out, not so much. It’s normal for many mothers to go into labor long before your water breaks. Labor that is not necessarily painful, or concerning. The result could be water breaking much later, or your care provider breaking your water to induce, or speed up the labor process. As many as 19% of women also experience a slow leak of amniotic fluid, which is sometimes not felt as your “water breaking,” but more of a small leakage or discharge. (Also, did you know your water could break twice?)
Your Vagina Needs More Work Than Just Kegels
If you’ve ever been to a birthing class, or have a close friend that recently had a baby, you’re probably sick of hearing the word kegel. But, don’t tune out just yet. While kegel exercises are an excellent way to keep your vaginal wall toned for birth and postpartum, there are other ways to keep you fit… down there.
- Squats: Not only do squats keep your legs toned and shapely, it builds your glute muscles, which is SO important during labor. Squats also work to keep your pelvis aligned, offsetting the weight distributed by your growing baby bump.
- Sit on a Birthing Ball: All the time, as often as you can. With good posture, you will actively build your core muscles and open your hips at the same time. Postpartum, those toned abdomen muscles will help you to regain your pre-baby belly quicker.
- STAY HYDRATED: Yes, you are working out your muscles, and those muscles need water too. Staying hydrated keeps the elasticity of your muscular structure, meaning fewer chances of tearing.
The chances of you pooping while giving birth are more lately than not. So, just don’t worry about it. Really. Your care providers have seen it more times than they will mention, and they won’t tell you when it’s happening. For your own sake, take the “out of sight, out of mind” approach.
But Wait, There’s More
Did you know the work isn’t over when the baby is out? Yep, after the most impossible thing you’ve ever done happens, you still have one more (usually little) push to deliver the placenta. In rare cases, the placenta may still be attached to the uterus requiring surgical intervention, but mostly, it’s a tiny little push to expel the blob-like substance that kept you baby healthy and nourished all throughout your pregnancy. If you have intentions of keeping your placenta for encapsulation or any other needs, inform your care provider months in advance. By the time you deliver, it will be too late to preserve it safely.
It OKAY If You Don’t Feel “The Rush”
It’s no secret that the first time you hold your new bundle, it’s a special experience. It’s also no secret that your hormones and emotions are about as off the charts as they can be. Many women report a maternal “rush” of love and/or protective instinct, but for some, that doesn’t come till later. Guess what? That’s OKAY! If you find yourself too overcome that you’re not sure you’ve felt that rush, chances are it’ll come soon. The best thing to remember is that every birth experience is different and special. It’s also common to have a small case of the “baby blues.” Bottom line, don’t let any other person tell you how you are supposed to be feeling. This is your experience and your time. (Note: After giving birth, if you feel deep depression, or thoughts of hurting yourself or others, seek medical attention immediately.)
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