What You Can Expect During Labor and Childbirth
No matter how many times you’ve discussed your birth plan with your doctor, it’s very likely that you’re going to encounter a few unexpected things on your actual delivery date. When the going gets tough, the best thing an expecting mom can do is to not panic and manage her expectations. Here’s a list of unexpected things you should brace yourself for:
You will feel labor pains that do not necessarily mean you’re about to give birth.
There are contractions that may come and go in short bursts, which are called false labor pains or Braxton Hicks. They are described as a tightening in the abdomen, minus the regular intervals.
True labor happens when your contractions come at regular intervals for 30 to 70 seconds. Gradually, the contractions come closer and stronger together. You will most likely feel the pain coming from the lower back, all the way to the front abdomen.
You may feel your child shift position a few hours before actual labor.
This is called “lightening”—it’s when your child positions himself down into your pelvic area. Your baby will descend from under your ribcage, which can put pressure on your rectum. However, not all moms experience lightening pre-labor, so unless you actually feel it during your delivery day, there’s no need to panic.
You may not feel your water break.
Not all pregnant women will feel the water gush down when their water breaks. In fact, it only happens to one out of four pregnant women. The risk of infection to your baby increases when the amniotic sac breaks, so get in touch with your doctor as soon as it happens.
Upon admission, the doctor will conduct a vaginal examination. The frequency of the examination depends on the rate of progress during labor. If the water bag already broke, fewer examinations will be performed to prevent infections that can affect the baby.
Since your little one will be squeezed, compressed, and pushed during labor, fetal monitoring is required in order to gauge the response of the baby’s heartbeat to the contractions of the uterus.
Lastly, if you’re in active labor and your cervix is around five to six centimeters, an epidural anesthesia will be given.
It’s not something to be embarrassed about! Do what comes naturally—push when you feel the urge unless your doctor tells you otherwise. And since all of your energy is on the perineal area, it’s not uncommon for your body to push out anything in your rectum.
Don’t feel bad about it—nurses with sterile pads will be there to clean up after you during the whole process.
Your baby will be given an “oil bath” once he’s out of the womb.
After doctors and nurses suction out excess mucus and any secretions from your baby’s mouth and nose, he will be cleaned using a gauze with baby oil. This will eventually be followed by a warm bath, using a gentle soap.
Once you bring your baby home from the hospital, you will need to give him a bath at least twice a week with warm water and a mild soap like Baby Dove.
It all sounds nerve-wracking, but it’s all part of the delivery. Once you’ve done your research and oriented yourself with the things that can happen, the worrying can stop and the actual preparations can start.
It would be wise to prepare for all of baby’s firsts at home way before your delivery date. Research on trusted brands like Baby Dove—not only are its products mild, but it also helps moisturize baby’s skin making it less prone to rashes and allergies. From a mild hair-to-toe wash to a soothing lotion, you are sure to keep your baby’s skin smooth and moisturized.
And when things don’t go the way you want them to, be flexible and have an open communication with your doctor. Don’t worry and remember that there are no perfect moms, just real ones. #RealMoms