10 Labor & Delivery Problems No One Warns You About
by Judy Dutton
A few weeks before my due date, a well-meaning mom pulled me aside and said, "I'm not sure if anyone told you this, but in case not, you should know: you might poop." While I was grateful to have some forewarning on that front, the fact is that no matter how many birthing classes you take, moms you poll, or questions you ask your OB/GYN, there is absolutely no way to prepare for the day you give birth.
Certain vital bits of information that should be passed on fall through the cracks, leaving moms blindsided on their big day. In an effort to curb these curve balls, we polled moms on labor and delivery problems that no one told them about so at least some of you can be a bit more prepared. You're welcome!
1. There's no eating in the delivery room. One mom spent 18-plus hours in the hospital before she even began pushing. She confesses to using some, ahem, colorful language when they denied her both lunch and dinner during that time!
2. Throwing up happens -- a lot. You haven't had morning sickness in months? Well, one mom told us she vomited with every third contraction for 13 1/2 hours straight! And that's not uncommon.
3. Your epidural may run dry. Epidurals don't last forever, so don't assume smooth sailing until the end. One mom recounted how pushing became very painful, only doctors kept telling her she'd had the epidural and assumed she was being a giant wimp. The mood of the whole room changed when the doctor did her episiotomy and she screamed. "You felt that?" the nurse asked; she said, "YES!!!" All the more reason to push harder, faster!
4. You'll have all kinds of stuff strapped to you. From baby heart monitors to your heart monitor, needles to IVs, you may feel like the bionic woman. One mom found all the beeping so aggravating, she made sure to have a midwife -- who typically don't require all these bells and whistles -- the next time around.
5. The staff won't (necessarily) read your chart. Instead, they'll ask you the same questions over and over while you're pushing and not in the mood to chat. One mom swears that even though her chart showed a complication-free pregnancy, the staff asked her five times if there were any complications while she was contracting in active labor. Hel-lo, couldn't they see she was busy? Designate your spouse or someone else (a doula?) to do the talking.
6. The onset of labor may feel like you have to poop, BAD. Not all moms feel contractions in their tummies. Some feel it in their back, others their backsides. After one mom was puzzled by the pain she felt pushing on her rear end, she headed to the hospital, where she was told she was dilated 7 to 8 centimeters already. When she responded with "What? I'm that far? I only feel rear end pain," the nurse explained, "That's a special labor pain called anal labor pains." Um, that sure is special!
7. You may tear down below. Unfortunate, but true. Many moms we asked said they'd heard of tearing but assumed it wouldn't happen to them ... until it did.
8. The clock may be ticking down to your C-section. Moms may also be floored to know that in certain states, there are protocols about how long a woman is allowed to push before she gets a C-section. So in case you have a long labor, you might want to know the deal so you can have more control over the situation to ensure a regular birth unless medically necessary.
9. Epidurals do come with risks. All that pain-free labor does have some serious side effects sometimes. For instance, one mother we spoke to ended up with an incurable spinal disease called adhesive arachnoiditis because of an epidural gone wrong. It has been almost two years since her son's birth, and she still lives with chronic pain, numbness, and neuropathy in all four limbs. She could barely walk for months and now depends on strong medications to make it through each day. Keep her story in mind before you decide whether or not to get an epidural!
10. Modesty goes out the window. Some women see this as a problem, but it's really good news! While many pregnant women may worry that they'll poop, or cry, or act like a wimp during their delivery, these are needless anxieties. Once you're in the thick of things, you really. Won't. Care. You'll have more important things on your mind, like hey ... a baby!
Did you encounter a delivery day problem no one warned you about?