Misconceptions About Labor and Delivery

There are many misconceptions about labor and delivery floating around that are scaring women about to deliver for the first time, and I want to dispel some of them for you. Please don't think that your options are limited when you are ready to give birth. You don't have to deliver in the hospital, you don't have to worry about medications, needles, strangers, epidurals, episiotomies, or even c-sections if you don't want to.
I’m definitely a poster child for this problem. My mom told me my entire life that pregnancy was terrible, and labor was worse. She described this awful experience of going to the hospital and being in so much pain she needed an epidural. There were cuts and procedures and when I was born they took me away to the nursery and she wasn’t really aware of me for awhile.
She told me how I ruined her body and how having a baby at 30, she was way too old. When I was born in the 80’s all of this was common practice. Going to the hospital and succumbing to procedures and drugs and surgeries without any say in what happened to you was just what you did. Unfortunately many of those trends have been carried on 30 years later.
So fast forward to just four years ago or so. My husband and I finally get pregnant with our first and we start discussing our labor and delivery options. I was terrified with what lay ahead. My mom had given me this horrible picture of my future having kids. I was scared of needles and hospitals and strange men being all up in my business, and unfortunately I was told by everyone that this was just the way it was and I was going to have to prepare myself.
Thankfully my husband was more optimistic and had a whole different picture of childbearing given to him. Truth be told, pregnancy was great and my son’s birth was even better. I even looked forward to doing it again with another child. We currently have two little ones and I still look forward to bringing two more into the world and I didn’t have my first until after 30. What did we do, you ask. Some misconceptions about labor and delivery first….
I do realize and encourage you to make the best decisions for your family, but don’t you want to know what’s really happening?
There are many misconceptions about labor and delivery floating around that are scaring women about to deliver for the first time, and I want to dispel some of them for you. Please don't think that your options are limited when you are ready to give birth. You don't have to deliver in the hospital, you don't have to worry about medications, needles, strangers, epidurals, episiotomies, or even c-sections if you don't want to. You have the right and the power to make every decision about what happens during your delivery your own. Do some reasearch before its time.
Presidencia de la Republic CC BY 2.0

You’ll Have to Be in the Hospital

This is what you’re supposed to do right? It’s what everyone does. Its just not safe to give birth anywhere else. The only place I can think of where this horrible misconception developed is our parents. It literally wasn’t but a couple generations ago when they would have cringed at the thought of giving birth at the hospital.
I don’t want to be the other side of the argument and scare you about the hospital, but there are many other safer options to give birth these days, and every single one of them will allow you to labor the way you choose. Consider, birth centers with midwifes alongside the hospital, independent birth centers that will mimic your home environment, or even home births. Its worth doing some research now that you know you have options, and don’t forget to ask for references and testimonials.

You’ll Have to Be Induced

Birth induction is something that was created to make the birth of your baby meet someone’s schedule, whether yours or the doctor’s. Your body will begin labor when it’s the right time. And medical induction actually causes all sorts of issues in your body as your body is not ready to give birth yet, and yet it’s being forced. First and foremost, the doctor manually ruptures your membranes trying to get the process started without medications. But then you run the risk of infection, so if you don’t go into labor soon, they have to induce you to protect you.

Then the medications used to induce labor cause your body to contract to force your baby out. They tell you that you will need an epidural because the pitocin used to induce you will make labor much more painful. However, pitocin can diminish your baby’s oxygen supply and lower your baby’s heart rate (mayoclinic), which you can guess, will then make you a candidate for c-section because now your baby is in distress. Let me repeat, your body will go into labor naturally in it’s own time without the excessive pain, need for medications or trauma to your baby.

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It’s Going to Be the Worst Pain Ever

You know, I had more than a dozen people tell me this as I approached the end of my first pregnancy. How heartless can people be? Why would you say something like that to a woman about to give birth? Labor doesn’t have to be extremely painful, pretty uncomfortable maybe, but nothing you can’t handle for a minute at a time.
What makes it painful is the way it’s handled. If you are induced, it’s the pitocin that makes it painful. Even if you go into labor naturally, those at the hospital usually have you lay on your back when you come in so that they can hook you up to monitors and give you fluids. If you’ve ever tried to lay on your back while heavily pregnant, you know it’s painful. Your baby is laying on your lifeline cutting off blood flow to your body. Can you imagine what it’s doing to your baby’s blood flow? And it doesn’t support the downward movement of the baby, which moves us into the next point.
There are many misconceptions about labor and delivery floating around that are scaring women about to deliver for the first time, and I want to dispel some of them for you. Please don't think that your options are limited when you are ready to give birth. You don't have to deliver in the hospital, you don't have to worry about medications, needles, strangers, epidurals, episiotomies, or even c-sections if you don't want to. You have the right and the power to make every decision about what happens during your delivery your own. Do some reasearch before its time.
Nate Grigg CC BY 2.0

It’s Going to Last Forever

True your first baby typically takes around 12 hours on average if coming naturally, but that’s not true for everyone. Most of the moms that I’ve spoken to giving birth at home or in an independent birthing center without birth interventions averaged closer to 6 hours.  But I promise you that it only feels like a couple hours. There are so many factors that will make it take longer.
When researching birth in nature I’ve learned that birth is relatively easy if a mother is relaxed and focused on a safe, warm, comfortable environment. If exposed to stress, distractions, or lots of activity that take away from her relaxed, focused comfortable peace, her body will purposely delay labor until the right conditions are reached. Every hospital labor I’ve ever heard about averages closer to 30 hours of labor.
But the hospital doesn’t take no for an answer. They will make sure to use the appropriate medical interventions, including surgery, to make sure that baby comes, all in the name of your safety. And epidural are one of the biggest reasons for both the extra pain and the extreme length of labors nowadays.
There are many misconceptions about labor and delivery floating around that are scaring women about to deliver for the first time, and I want to dispel some of them for you. Please don't think that your options are limited when you are ready to give birth. You don't have to deliver in the hospital, you don't have to worry about medications, needles, strangers, epidurals, episiotomies, or even c-sections if you don't want to. You have the right and the power to make every decision about what happens during your delivery your own. Do some reasearch before its time.

You’ll Need Pain Meds

The epidural had gained this popular reputation over the years, as this necessity that laboring women need in order to handle the extreme amount of pain. But let me lay it out for you…. So the doctor induces you for one reason or another to force your body into labor, causing really painful labor, and so for the pain they give you an epidural which numbs the lower part of your body preventing you from participating in getting the baby out.
Epidural are extremely harmful to mom and baby. For one, they stop the creation of the hormones you need in birth to have normal contractions, naturally turn your baby around to deliver head first, and to block the pain of childbirth. The baby is also drugged, so he or she cannot participate in being born or in even breathing normally. In addition to the pitocin putting the baby in danger, this creates a situation where even more intervention like forceps or c-section are necessary.
There are many misconceptions about labor and delivery floating around that are scaring women about to deliver for the first time, and I want to dispel some of them for you. Please don't think that your options are limited when you are ready to give birth. You don't have to deliver in the hospital, you don't have to worry about medications, needles, strangers, epidurals, episiotomies, or even c-sections if you don't want to. You have the right and the power to make every decision about what happens during your delivery your own. Do some reasearch before its time.
Irene G. Ruiz CC BY 2.0

You’ll Probably Need an Episiotomy

An episiotomy is when the doctor cuts you from the front to the back between your legs in an effort to give the baby more room to come out during birth. This is an extremely outdated practice that is currently being banned in a number of areas because of the trauma and future complications for the mother.
Episiotomies, like inducing and epidurals actually cause more problems during and after labor. They actually increase the chance of tearing, take longer to heal, and have been known to cause other issues like urinary inconvenience, problems with going number 2, and serious infections from cross contamination from your back area into your front, along with problems in future births (givingbirthnaturally).

You Might Need a C-Section

The United States of America has one of the highest c-section rates in the entire world and its one of the most common surgeries done. 1 in every 3 babies is born via c-section nowadays, and the rate is even higher in some states. Also known as a cesarean section, this is a major abdominal surgery that has high risks associated with it. Some of the biggest risk factors include infection, blood loss, and blood clots. However, there are great many others such as damage to another organ and death (WebMD). Unfortunately I have had several friends die in childbirth during a c-section.
The risks are not just to the mom, but also the baby. The most common one is immature lungs and breathing problems, as a mother’s body stimulates them and gets them working properly due to natural contractions while going through the birth canal, that doesn’t happen in a c-section. And if combined with an induction and an epidural, the likelihood of you needing a c-section is pretty high.

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You Won’t Have Any Choices

I’m sorry to tell you that this is what they want you to believe at many hospitals and would prefer if you would just listen to their suggestions because they feel like they know best. However, you have all the rights in the world. If you are going to the hospital, bring in a birth plan, a stubborn husband and a doula that will stand up in your behalf.
Choose any other option for your birthing location and this is definitely not true. Independent birthing centers and home births are all about your choices. You can decide where and how you labor and every decision in between, like clothing, medications, and all interventions.

It Will Take Forever to Recover

Medical advice suggests staying in the hospital for 3-4 days after your surgery and then up to 6 weeks if not more to recover from a cesarean section at home, but it’s only about 2 weeks for a vaginal delivery, 4-6 weeks if you can do it.
Regardless of your delivery method, recovering is pretty hairy at first but the time will go by quickly. You need to be resting and caring for your brand-new baby anyway. However, with a c-section, there will be a lot of pain and it will take some time to heal. As for all of the other post-pregnancy symptoms and what to expect, check out my article on Postpartum Symptoms and How to Handle Them. Giving birth takes it toll on your body. Generally you should be healed and back to normal in 3-6 months, though it varies for each woman. But the recommendation is to give your body a full year to recover.
There are many misconceptions about labor and delivery floating around that are scaring women about to deliver for the first time, and I want to dispel some of them for you. Please don't think that your options are limited when you are ready to give birth. You don't have to deliver in the hospital, you don't have to worry about medications, needles, strangers, epidurals, episiotomies, or even c-sections if you don't want to. You have the right and the power to make every decision about what happens during your delivery your own. Do some reasearch before its time.So I left you hanging at the beginning on how and where I gave birth to my two boys. I had them both at home in our bathtub. The first time the midwife was present, the second time she showed up a while after our son came. No, it wasn’t scary, nor was it risky or dangerous in any way, and not once did I ever feel like I needed pain medications. In fact, I remember being right in the middle of it all and telling my husband that there was no way that was the worst pain I’d ever felt. Do some research on the experiences of women who have had home births. Our bodies know what they are doing. Medical intervention for the vast major of us just causes issues.
You’ve read how inductions force your body into something it’s not ready for and put the baby in jeopardy, and you’ve read how c-sections work against the induction and your labor by halting all progress and turning off all of the hormones controlling contractions, bonding, and labor pain, and then neither you nor your baby can be awake or aware to get to know one another or nurse. Also episiotomies are more likely to cause issues rather than help. And every single one of these interventions has serious risk factors with it.
Something you may not know though, is that I’ve also given birth in the hospital. I went into labor at home after being in the emergency room for bleeding, and went back to experience all of this stuff I’ve just described. Only my organs began shutting down due to certain drugs they gave me, and we lost our baby boy. I’ve heard so many nightmare hospital stories from numerous mothers in a variety of states, but haven’t heard a single nightmare story about giving birth in a birthing center or a home birth, and my two experiences were amazing.
My advice, do some research before making any final decisions. And ultimately make the choice that’s right for you no matter what anyone says. To help you out, and give you the opportunity to receive more great articles about this your pregnancy and fertility, I’m going to give you a bonus. Check out the box below for more information!

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There are many misconceptions about labor and delivery floating around that are scaring women about to deliver for the first time, and I want to dispel some of them for you. Please don't think that your options are limited when you are ready to give birth. You don't have to deliver in the hospital, you don't have to worry about medications, needles, strangers, epidurals, episiotomies, or even c-sections if you don't want to.
 


2 thoughts on “Misconceptions About Labor and Delivery”

  • Great read, with some interesting information, however, it did not make me feel as peaceful as I would like. You mention blocking out negativity and then you yourself mention friends dying in the hospitals from c-sections…some may have to deliver in a hospital for other health reasons…and your comments about delivering in hospitals and all the risk they pose are rather callous for moms who may not have another option. I will need to deliver in a hospital for health reasons and risk factors, and I am now MORE scared than I was before.

    • I think women are trained to believe that a hospital is their only option when it comes to birth, and that is far from the truth. Just as so many women are told by their doctors that they have to have a c-section for one reason or another, and for 99% of those cases, that is also unnecessary. However, if it is your decision in the end to go to a hospital, the trick is to have a plan, and have an advocate there to stand behind you and your already agreed upon decisions to keep the hospital from taking advantage of you. Birth at hospitals is scary, but if you have the right people in your corner to fight for you while you are there, it doesn’t have to be as bad.

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