10 Things People Don't Tell You About Labour

mum holding baby after giving birth

Despite us not even realising it, we all have a picture in our minds of what labour and birth look like. We have all heard our friends’ stories of how their little one made it into the world, but what didn't they tell you?

Here is our Official Midwife’s breakdown of 10 things no one tells you about labour and birth.

1. It rarely happens like it does on the TV. Sometimes you may not even know if your waters have broken. You may just get a trickle rather than a soap opera style gush!

2. Your mucus plug! - It's not pretty and can look a bit like Shrek has got a cold and sneezed into a hanky. It sometimes comes out in one big blob (about the volume of a raw egg), or it may come out bit by bit over the space of a few days.

3. Eating spicy foods is not a good way to evict your baby! All this does is aggravate your tummy and may tip you into labour BUT who wants to be in labour with an upset tummy, especially with all that pushing! Just wait and let nature take its course.

4. Giving birth by caesarean is still giving birth - don't ever let anyone make you feel bad for having one - even if it was an emergency decision. You're still a mum and a warrior that will look after her baby, even after having major surgery!

5. Bleeding in labour is not normal. If you experience any bleeding, you should call the midwife or nurse to get things checked out.

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6. Once you get to the pushing stage, it is rarely over in 10 minutes with your first baby. The pushing stage can take up to 2 hours - sorry.

7. When women say they don’t know how to push, their midwife will probably tell them to imagine they are trying to have a big poo! The muscles we engage to birth our babies are the same as the ones engaged to open our bowels! - Who knew!

8. As well as pushing your baby into the world, you may well open your bowels too. Don’t be embarrassed though, it means you’re pushing right, and midwives are good at clearing things away before you even know it's happened.

9. Labouring and pushing your baby into the world are just the first and second stages of labour. There is a third stage when you must deliver your placenta. This can take up to an hour if you decide to have a physiological (drug free) third stage. If you opt for an assisted 3rd stage (injection to help things along), this is usually done and dusted within 20 minutes.

10. No matter how much you say that all you want is to go to sleep whilst you are in labour, you will never feel more awake or more in love than when your baby is put in your arms. Making points 1-9 more worthwhile, plus the tea and toast you'll get on the ward will be the best you've ever tasted!

Bonus Insight:

Epidurals are not like they were in days of old when your legs were like cement. You will still be able to change position and may also be able to use a birthing ball whilst leaning on the bed - if your partner is there to make sure you don't topple off!

Navigating some of these things can seem scary. Why not head over and read all about birth plans with The Honest Midwife so you can be fully prepared.

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