You’re about to give birth, and no one, not a single person in your life, has ever talked to you about it — except for me, of course! Sure, most people know what to expect, but not from experience.
Many women fear childbirth and make up stories to comfort themselves. Whether you’re a first-time mom or are already a mother, several things you thought were true but aren’t true. Check out this list of 10 facts no one ever tells you about pregnancy and birth.
Contractions are painful
Contractions can be uncomfortable, but they’re not always painful. In fact, you may find that some contractions become more bearable as your body prepares for labor. That’s because the process of giving birth often involves intense contractions that last for hours on end. But don’t worry: It’s not so bad.
During labor, contractions come in waves. The first contraction is usually the worst. It almost feels like you’re in a boxing match with someone who has already knocked you down once and is trying to knock you down again. The pain should lessen as the contractions get closer together and then start again if they are interrupted by a break or shift in position. The whole process can last anywhere from 12 hours to 36 hours.
It is tiring
You may have heard the saying pregnancy is a full-time job. And it’s true. You will be tired. But not from your baby’s actual labor and delivery — that happens when you’re pushing. You know you’re pregnant when you can’t even get out of bed in the morning.
You’ll be exhausted by all of the emotions you’re going through and the decisions you’re making about your body and your health. But this is normal. It will all pass in nine short months.
You’ll pee a lot while pregnant
You will have to pee more than you ever have in your life, and quite possibly out of habit, you may not even realize it. You may also need to go to the bathroom more often during the day. This is because your uterus is now pressing against your bladder and pressing on nerves in your bladder that control urination.
However, if you’re having trouble peeing after becoming pregnant, contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible. You may have a urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney infection, or other medical problem.
You are more likely to fall ill
You are more likely to fall ill due to pregnancy, and there is no doubt that the body undergoes many changes. You may be carrying extra weight, which can pressure your back, joints, and muscles. It can also cause gestational diabetes and high blood pressure.
During pregnancy, the bones get softer as hormones like estrogen make them more elastic. This means that they become more prone to fractures than usual. Your heels will have to take the back seat at least until you’re stronger.
Hormones change after pregnancy
You may be more sensitive to smells, tastes, and sounds. You may also crave certain foods more than others. On the downside, your favorite foods may ick you to the point of puking.
Some women will become short-tempered. This means you’ll feel more vulnerable than usual and can find it harder to cope with everyday situations such as visitors or going out in public.
Make sure your partner knows how this affects you, and be prepared for some mood swings at times when other people might not notice them.
You might poop while giving birth
It sounds gross, but it’s pretty common. You’ll probably be in a lot of discomfort and pain, which means you’re using your muscles in new ways. In addition to the contractions, you’ll also have to use your abdominal muscles to push out the baby. That means they need to be strong and flexible, which can make them more prone to injury.
It’s not uncommon for women who’ve already given birth vaginally to experience some muscle soreness afterward.
Don’t worry; this is normal. In addition to feeling constantly nauseous and exhausted, you might also have difficulty remembering what you did yesterday. You’ll get better, but it’s going to take some time.
You’re not alone. It happens to everyone, even the most well-prepared moms-to-be. You’ll get better over time because there are many things you can do to help yourself remember what you need to do or where items are located in your home or office when you’re pregnant, but it will take time for your brain to form again fully.
You’ll not bond with your baby immediately
A lot of people think that the instant they meet their baby, they’ll fall in love and be inseparable. The first few days after birth are a bit of a blur, and it can be hard to remember exactly what happened during those moments of pain.
You don’t need to be disappointed as you two are meeting for the first time, and you’ll get to know each other along the way. That’s how relationships are formed. For some moms, this can lead to frustration and disappointment but don’t despair; there are ways you can get help from family and friends, as well as experts.
You’ll doubt yourself
No matter how excited you are about becoming a mother, there will come times when you doubt yourself and wonder if this was really what you wanted or whether it would be better to go back on the pill or delay having children altogether.
This is perfectly normal and does not mean that you want to give up on motherhood. It just means that you need time before making any major life decisions like buying a house or getting married.
You’ll indeed feel better after delivery, but it doesn’t mean your recovery will be instant. Your body needs time to heal after giving birth, and it doesn’t just mean the area around your vagina. Your whole body needs rest and recovery, so don’t think that just because you had a baby, you can return to work immediately or even within a few weeks.
Most women feel better within two months of giving birth, while others feel better after two weeks. There’s no one-size-fits-all timeline for how long it will take to recover from childbirth or how quickly you can return to normal activities.
Everyone is different, so extend yourself some grace. Remember to appreciate the journey and love yourself at every stage. After all, another human came from you!
While all of this information may be new and overwhelming, there are some things that you can do to help things go as smoothly as possible. Having a midwife during pregnancy will help you feel at ease and confident in your body’s ability to deliver.
Also, taking childbirth education courses early on in your expecting process will help you know what to expect. Pregnancy and your child’s birth is a journeys, not a destination. There are no guarantees about your birth, but you can at least come prepared.