Preparing to have a baby is an exciting experience. You’ve been waiting for this sweet little one to join your family, and you couldn’t be more thrilled. Even though you are excited, you probably have some questions and concerns in the back of your mind about the whole birthing process.
Here are 10 things you should know before your little one makes his or her debut:
1. Your water can break more than once
Water breaking is a different experience for everyone, but many women either experience a huge gush of water, a pop or a slow trickle. One mom said, “It felt like a 5-gallon bucket of water had spilled out. With the next five contractions, more water came gushing out.”
Another mom said, “I seriously thought I had wet my pants. I went to the bathroom three times and changed my clothes before realizing that I wasn’t suffering from pregnancy incontinence.”
Sometimes you can even go into labor before your water breaks, and the doctor breaks it for you.
2. You probably won’t deliver on your due date
According to Parents, only a mere five percent of babies are delivered on their actual due date. Your due date is really just an estimate. No matter how precise you or your doctor calculates the due date, no one really knows exactly when their baby will show up.
Be patient while you wait. Although the anticipation nearly kills you, your little bundle of joy will come when the time is right, and they’ll definitely be worth the wait.
3. Your baby’s head might look a little strange at first
Don’t freak out if the doctors give you your baby and he or she has a cone-shaped head. This is totally normal! Dr. Steven P. Shelov explains that the bones in the baby’s skull are meant to shift a little so it can fit through the birth canal.
He says, “It is the pressure on the head coming through the canal that gives the baby the cone head shape which will resolve in a few days.”
4. The bleeding doesn’t stop right after birth
According to Baby Center, “For a few days after you give birth, you’ll seem to have a very heavy period. Because the amount of blood in your body rises by about 50 percent during pregnancy, your body is well prepared for this normal blood loss.”
After this initial bleeding, you might continue to experience spotting and light bleeding, and it should get better every day. Some women experience this for as little as a week or two, but it lasts up to six weeks for some.
5. Make a birth plan, but be flexible
There are a lot of things to consider when you’re having a baby. Do you want an epidural or do you want to go without? Are you going to let anyone in the room while you’re giving birth? Include important details like these in your birth plan, but make sure you’re flexible.
You might want nothing more than a natural birth, but your doctor might decide a C-section would be necessary for you and your baby’s safety. Actual births almost never go completely as planned, so be willing to switch things up a bit.
6. You might throw up and you’ll probably go to the bathroom during labor
It’s extremely common for women to throw up when they’re in labor, and it’s also very common for women to go to the bathroom while they’re pushing. It might be embarrassing to think about now, but your doctors and nurses have seen it all. OB/GYN Shieva Ghofrany said, “The only time I bring up pooping, ever, is when women start to push … I tell them, ‘if you poop, you’re doing the right thing!'”
7. Eating isn’t usually allowed
Everywhere is different, but a lot of the time, women aren’t supposed to eat while they’re in labor. The biggest reason for this is explained by Shieva Ghofrany to Huffington Post. She says, “That policy usually exists because of the possibility of a cesarean section: If you’re under general anesthesia, doctor’s don’t want you to aspirate, or get food in your airways.”
Plus, food will probably be the last thing on your mind when you’re about to birth the newest addition to your family.
8. Giving birth makes you tired
Birth is obviously tiring. But if you factor in the sleepless final nights of pregnancy, the physical toll of birthing a child and caring for the child 24/7 when you take him or her home, it’s exhausting to even think about.
Be prepared for this, and take any sleep you can get while you’re still pregnant. After your little one comes, you won’t be getting much of it. But, you wouldn’t trade those sleepless nights for the world.
9. Breastfeeding can be a challenge
Many women think that if you choose to breastfeed, it should come easily and naturally. While this is true for some women, others experience pain and discomfort when they’re trying to figure it out. Be patient, and don’t think there’s something wrong with you if you don’t get it right away.
10. No two births are the same
The most important thing to remember is that no two births are ever the exact same. Each one comes with its own set of challenges, and each one is beautiful in unique ways.
While you can use this article as a guideline, make sure you contact your midwife, doctor or nurses with any questions or concerns you have about your pregnancy.
What are some things you wish you had known during your pregnancy? Let us know in the comments!