Sealed section: 9 things no one tells you about giving birth
Welcoming a new human into the world is beautiful, sure, but there’s also a less pretty side. So while we’re all for celebrating childbirth and marvelling at the miracle (because it really is one!), we can’t help but mention some of the downsides. Learning’s learning, right?
Apologies in advance.
#1 Your undercarriage might need stitches
Nine of out ten women have some degree of vaginal tearing after birth, with the worst cases tearing from the vagina all the way to the anus (yikes!). But don’t despair: studies have shown that perineal massage can reduce the chances of tearing during birth. So stock up on sunflower, olive, vitamin E or coconut oil, ladies, and give yourself some love!
bh recommends: Weleda Perineum Massage Oil
#2 It’s not over once the baby comes
You’d think that after a long or gruelling labour, someone would cut you some slack - but no. You then have to deliver the placenta. Sometimes it’s easy, and separates from the uterus on its own, and other times, it needs a helping hand. A retained placenta that clings to the uterine wall and refuses to come out is pretty common, so just brace yourself for the moment someone goes in to retrieve it. Hello there!
#3 You might vomit
Childbirth brings all types of bodily functions to the fore, including vomiting (in some cases). Epidurals can cause hypotension, a sudden drop in blood pressure, and an early sign of this is nausea and vomiting. But here’s the good news: throwing up can occur even if you haven’t been given an epidural, thanks to pain or the fact you still have food sitting in your stomach. Ain’t childbirth grand!
#4 You’ll make nasty noises
Be prepared to pass gas - and a lot of it. As the baby descends through the birth canal, air gets forced out. This is more likely to happen if you’ve had an epidural, which relaxes the muscles and paralyses your anal sphincter. So what? Farting is inevitable - let’s just accept it and move on.
#5 You may poop on delivery
Our number one fear often involves the “number 2”. It’s true, most women poop in the delivery room. This is because the muscles required to get the baby out are the same ones we use to go to the bathroom. Charming, isn’t it? The good news is by this stage you’ll be so far beyond caring, you won’t even notice. The nurses and doctors have done this a hundred times before and will clean up any mess before you can say, “It’s a boy!”
#6 No wiping allowed
First-time mothers may not know this, but using toilet paper after a natural birth is a big no-no. The trauma to your nether regions (think soreness or swelling) means friction of any kind has to be avoided. Wiping your still-recovering lady parts could lead to further damage. You’ll have to squirt yourself clean using warm water from a peri bottle.
#7 Nappies aren’t just for the baby
After your bub comes into the world, you can expect to expel a fair bit of postpartum bleeding and gunk. Get ready to sport XL maxi pads and nappies packed with ice for relief to your hoo-har. The silver lining? Your regular periods from that point on will seem like a breeze!
#8 You need to pass gass before getting the all-clear
Yep, more farting. You’re going to have to pass wind and the nurses are going to want to hear about it. Expect to be asked on more than one occasion whether or not you’ve managed to toot yet. Don’t be coy. This is to make sure your bowel movements are back on track. And while we’re at it, now seems like as good a time as any to mention your first ‘number two’ post-bub won’t be a highlight of your life. Just remember: you’re not alone in feeling worried.
The best advice is to listen to your body. Don’t fight the urge. Drink plenty of water and prune juice and avoid hard-to-digest, starchy foods. Once you’re on the loo, place your feet on top of a stool, and make your knees slightly higher than your hips. Apply counter pressure to your perineal region, be patient and wait for mother nature to do her thing.
#9 It may not be love at first sight
Don’t feel awful if your first reaction to holding your newborn isn’t overwhelming joy. You’ve just been through an exhausting experience and need time to recover. Try to breastfeed and then let a nurse take your new bub so you can rest. If these feelings continue well past the buffering ‘baby blues’ period, it might be worth talking to a professional about PND.
Did you know about these birthing truths? If you’re a mother, what was your childbirth experience like?