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10 things nobody tells you about giving birth

Warning: anyone with a vagina might want to look away now.

babby Source: Flickr

HAVING A BABY is a beautiful, wonderful, magical thing.

But giving birth? That’s an entirely different kettle of fish.

First things first, it usually isn’t that dramatic when your waters break

Water Animated GIF Source: diluecente/Tumblr

Here’s what usually happens in films: a woman is standing in the middle of the street or somewhere equally inopportune when – surprise! – a massive puddle of water falls to the ground. “I think my waters just broke,” she says.

In real life, however, it usually doesn’t go like that.

While some women do experience the massive gush you see in films, others liken the experience to weeing yourself or starting your period. (Fun fact: you lose up to 800ml of fluid.)

Women we spoke to reported experiencing a sort of “pop” sensation.

It’s a weird sensation like a pop and suddenly you feel a lot lighter. I was fairly soaked.

As for where it happens? A lot of women will have their waters broken in the hospital or while already in labour, so it won’t be that big a surprise. For others, it will happen before labour starts.

And is it actually water?

No Animated GIF Source: Giphy

No, it’s amniotic fluid. They can be completely clear (like water), pale pink or straw-coloured (think very pale pee). If it’s a bit green or brown, it might mean the baby has had a bowel movement, in which case you should call the doctor.

Oh, the joys.

Just how painful is labour?

giphy (6) Source: reactiongifs

Here are some choice quotes from a Mumsnet discussion on the subject.

Like someone was hitting my back with a metal pole. 
Like the lower half of your abdomen being simultaneously torn apart and set on fire.
For me it was like being ripped apart in hell by demons. I truely wanted to die. If a gun had been available I would have shot myself. Honestly.

CHRIST.

As with everything, though, it differs from person to person. For others, it’s intense, but manageable.

Intense, and overwhelming. Your body takes over and does its thing! When I said “I need to push” I surprised myself, because I was sort of being led by my body.
Last few hours were like really bad period pains, but no worse, crowning you think you must be ripping in two for a second, but of course you’re not.
I feel like exhausting is the best description for it. When in labour (and speaking to my friends afterwards) the most used descriptions were tiring and exhausted and relentless. Labour- meaning flippin hard work rather than really sore.

Is it true you might poo during labour?

Television Animated GIF Source: Giphy

Yes.

But honestly, you won’t even care when it happens. The medical staff have seen it all before and you’re so caught up in the moment and the job at hand that it won’t even really register on your radar.

As Tracy Moore wrote for Jezebel in an article entitled How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Pooping During Childbirth:

I asked my OTHER nurse friend, so you could fart, bark and take a big dump while you were in labor and it’d be no bigs? “That’s routine,” she said. Then I was like, would anything shock these people? And she was like, maybe explosive diarrhea? And even then, no.

So now.

Oh, and there’s so much blood.

blood Source: Express

A clean and mess-free process, it ain’t.

On average, women will lose between 500ml and 1 litre of blood, although some women will lose between 1 litres and 2 litres. (This is classified as ‘major postpartum haemorrhage‘.)

*weeps*

What about… tearing?

Screaming Animated GIF Source: Giphy

According to Baby Centre, 90% of women tear when giving birth vaginally. Anyone with a vagina will probably shriek at that statistic, but we’re assured that most tears are minor.

You’ll need stitches if you experience a second degree tear, a third degree tear or a fourth degree tear. (More horrifying details on what these entail here.)

You’ll also need stitches if you have an episiotomy – this is when your doctor makes a cut in the ‘perineum’ (the space between your vagina and back passage.)

*winces*

And how do the stitches work?

We asked one Mam about the experience…

When you’re getting the stitches, it’s grand because even if you didn’t have an epidural they’ll give you a local anaesthetic.

Phew.

But afterwards they do hurt. They really pinch or something. It’s hard to describe. But they’re dissolvable ones so you don’t have to get them taken out. And the midwives are always checking them to make sure you’re healing nicely.

Will you be sore afterwards?

Let’s just say you’ll feel a bit tender and a bit nervous about your first post-baby poo.

There may also be stinging.

What about delivering the placenta?

Yep, just when you think the whole thing is done, you have to go and deliver the placenta.

And it’s no picnic.

Yippee.

Oh, also there’ll be a lot of smells.

Any other changes I should know about?

  • Your nipples might get darker during pregnancy.
  • You’ll bleed for a few weeks after giving birth. (Think of it as a really long period.)
  • You’ll be advised to wait at least six weeks before having sex again. (And you might wait longer.)

In short?

There’ll be pain and embarrassing things will happen and your vagina will have the biggest audience it will ever have… but you won’t really care.

When you’re giving birth you don’t really care who’s looking at your downstairs. I think 4 or 5 different people saw me and I stopped caring.

And hey, you’ll get a little baby at the end.

America's Funniest Home Videos Source: Giphy

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About the author:

Amy O'Connor

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