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Myths About Childbirth


As young girls, we probably caught wisps of conversations about childbirth between our mums and other women, and since the sources were adults, the information must be facts! Not always. Some may have been true due to hospital practices at the time or lack of facilities, but others are simply myths. Unfortunately, there are some women who still believe in these myths.

Below are ten common misconceptions about childbirth

My water will break if I am truly in labour.

Amniotic fluid surrounds your baby during pregnancy. If you are in your last weeks of pregnancy you may be expecting a gush of water prior to the onset of labour. For most women, their water does not break before labour begins and often does not break until you are in active labour if it breaks on its own at all. In fact, quite often your doctor or midwife will rupture the membrane (AROM) at some point during labour.

You will know when you are in labour.

Early labour can last hours and even days. Braxton Hicks contractions can feel very real and be difficult to tell apart from true labour contractions. While most women will know once they have reached the active phase of labour, early labour can be subtler. It is not uncommon for women to be dilated four or even five centimetres and not know they are in labour. False labour contractions are irregular and usually do not increase in intensity, frequency, or duration. Moms who have given birth before may have a more difficult time distinguishing true labour contractions from false labour. The only way to be sure whether you are indeed in labour is to have a vaginal exam to check for cervical dilation.

Labour induction always works.

Labour induction does not always work. Your doctor will perform a vaginal exam to check for cervical dilation and effacement and position of your cervix. Labour induction works best when the cervix has already begun to soften and dilate. You may go in for your 39 or 40-week appointment hoping for an induction only to be told that your cervix is not favourable to be induced. It is also possible to have a failed induction. If baby is not in distress you may be sent home to try labour induction again in another day or two, otherwise, a caesarean section will be performed.

Contractions feel like menstrual cramps.

You may have heard that contractions feel like menstrual cramps. While for some women early labour contractions may feel like menstrual cramps, this is not a very realistic description of labour contractions. Natural childbirth is doable and many women give birth without medication. However, we feel describing contractions as menstrual cramps is a disservice to first time moms. There are more honest and accurate descriptions of labour contractions that will better prepare you for childbirth. Contractions do resemble menstrual cramps in their location and general achiness, but they also have a powerful tightening.

Un-medicated childbirth is always best.

Because labour is not one long sustained contraction but rather a series of contractions increasing in intensity, natural childbirth is quite possible. Natural childbirth, utilizing relaxation exercises, breathing, and resting between contractions, offers one option for pain management. Natural childbirth offers women the ability to be in complete control of their birth and there is a an empowered feeling after having a successful birth without pain relief.

Benefits of an un-medicated birth include faster recovery time and shorter labour for mom, a more alert and active baby (and mom too), and of course it’s cheaper. However, there are occasions, where an un-medicated birth would not be best and certainly many reasons why women would prefer a medicated birth over an un-medicated one. Conditions such as an abrupted placenta, a baby in a breach position, or signs of foetal distress are all very good reasons to need a caesarean section. An un-medicated birth is ideal, but a happy, healthy birth can be attained regardless of your childbirth choice.

If you are really in labour, you will not be sent home.

Women may assume if they are truly in labour that they will be admitted to the hospital. You can be in labour and still be sent home. If you are in the early phases of labour, you may be sent home until your contractions increase in frequency or your cervix is more dilated. Many hospitals will not admit you until you are at least four centimetres dilated. Do not get discouraged if the labour and delivery nurse tells you that you should go home.

Once a caesarean birth always a caesarean birth.

This may or may not be true depending on the type of caesarean section you had along with the reasons for having a caesarean birth to begin with. VBACs or vaginal birth after caesarean are becoming increasingly more common. You will need to discuss with your doctor whether a VBAC will be possible for you.

Each labour gets easier.

This may or may not be true for you. Consecutive labours are usually shorter in duration, but that is not always the case. Shorter does not always mean easier. Baby could be bigger than your first or positioned differently. Also, if you have a very rapid labour, you may not have as many choices for pain medication. There are any number of factors that could affect your birth.

You will feel an urge to push.

Feeling the urge to push is instinctive and natural, right? If baby is ready to come you will certainly feel an urge to push! Well, believe it or not this is not always true. Many women do feel an urge to push, but not always. Sometimes pushing is painful and women will avoid pushing at all costs. Other times medications such as an epidural will interfere with the sensation of needing to push. Your doctor or midwife will help you to understand what is happening and help you determine when you are ready to push.

Epidurals lead to caesarean sections.

This belief is still held by some, but recent studies have shown that epidurals may increase the risk of caesarean section but does not always lead to having the procedure.

To wrap up, whatever our beliefs are due to our upbringing, or what our doctors say, we should try to make the most sensible decision to ensure the delivery of a healthy baby and a happy mother.

Modified from http://EzineArticles.com/571511



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