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5 Things Moms need to know about Labor and Delivery

We all know the storybook tales of the perfect labor and delivery… you feel a few contractions, call your doctor, head to the hospital, baby pops out and into your arms and a few days later you all go home.  Each mom-to-be always envisions that for herself.  Pregnancy is a magical process for sure with hormonal changes and body changes we are not only creating a life but undergoing life changes ourselves and the final act of delivering baby is definitely unique for every woman.

It is so common for friends and family and sometimes even strangers to approach a pregnant woman with tons of advice on the dos and don’ts of pregnancy.  Many times you hear only the good things because others do not want to scare you with negative stories.  However, it is important for every pregnant mom to know the truth so that she is prepared for her baby’s arrival.  After several long winded conversations with friends and new moms I have put together a few things that we all shared as important for all new moms to know.

What happens during the pushing stage?

While we all expect the answer to this to be very simple, my experience was that while I pushed so hard I did not realize that the intense contractions caused my intestines to push out the meal I had the night before.  Stinky for sure, unpleasant and now that I look back on it a bit funny.  Luckily the labor and delivery nurses were considerate and just quietly cleaned it up while I had no idea.

Is there a lot of blood?

The nine months of not having any periods is definitely made up for after the birth of your baby.  Postpartum bleeding known as Lochia is the discharge of blood and bits of fetal membranes, meconium and cervical discharge.  This is heaviest and bright red and lasts 3-4 days after delivery.  After that It starts to change to a pinkish brown color which lasts about 4-10 days.  This blood has less red blood cells and more white blood cells, some placental wound discharge and mucus from the cervix.  The final stage is a whitish yellow discharge which lasts from 10-28 days.

How long does it take to resume normal sex life with my spouse?

While doctors recommend holding off on tussles among the bed sheets for at least 6 weeks postpartum and sometimes longer for C-section, it may take longer for you based on your body’s recovery and mental state after delivery.  Not to mention lack of sleep and energy as you tend to your new baby, along with perinatal mood disorders.  Also, breastfeeding can make you dry and intercourse uncomfortable.  This may be difficult for your partner to understand, leading to added frustration.  It’s good to have an open conversation at that point so that you can ease your way back to routine.

Is the mother baby bond immediate?

Many times the process of birthing can be so overwhelming that it takes time for mom and baby to get the bliss of motherhood.  That does not make you a bad mother in any way.  It is just that your body and mind need time to get back to normal.  The best way to manage your anxiety and or depression is to talk to someone you trust so that you can be rest assured you will be all right and you will love your baby.

Will I get to follow my birthing plan?

Having a birthing plan is a good idea as it allows you to visualize and contextualize your wants and desires in the delivery process.  It is important to know that sometimes things don’t go the way you planned whether that be getting induced when you wanted a natural childbirth or the baby is breech requiring a C-section.  Your health care providers can be very helpful in directing you through the process and any unplanned changes to your baby’s birth.  If things don’t go as planned remember as long as you and baby are healthy in the end, there is no need to stress about following the “plan”.

Of course there are many other things that go into your birthing experience but, these were some of the ones that we felt were important to us.  Do not forget that there is no shame if you have a good experience.  That is of course what we would all hope for!  In the end everyone will have their own wonderful experience to share and celebrate the birth of your little one.

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