I’m a midwife and here are 9 shocking truths about childbirth every parent needs to know

BIRTH is the best and most shocking experience in many parents’ lives.

For new mothers and fathers, there is nothing that can prepare them for the rollercoaster ride of childbirth.

Giving birth is not an easy task


Giving birth is not an easy taskCredit: Alamy

And even for experienced parents, every birth is unpredictable.

Piroska Cavell has worked as an agency midwife for NHS trusts across the UK and in the private sector, delivering hundreds of babies over her 10-year career.

The 55-year-old, who now runs a wellness clinic, Clinic Sese, in Whitstable, Kent, has some house truths for parents.

1. Every mother has a bowel movement

Piroska said the number one question people ask is whether they would open their bowels during childbirth.

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She said everyone has a bowel movement – and those who claim they didn’t simply didn’t know the doctors were quick to sort it out.

Piroska said: “If you imagine you have to push someone out there, if there’s something behind it, so to speak, behind you, where is that supposed to go?

“We are content with this. We expect that to happen.”

2. It will hurt – sorry

Some holistic birth approaches or strategies, such as meditation or music, claim that birth doesn’t have to be painful.

But Piroska warns, “It’s really important that your expectations are real. It will hurt, but it’s okay because you were made to deal with it and we can help you with that. So, no fear.

“The problem is when women are told it’s not going to hurt. I’ve seen women coming and because it hurts they think something is terribly wrong.”

3. Dads might slow labor

While fathers would love to watch their child being born, it can actually hinder the process.

Piroska explains: “When we give birth, we produce a really important hormone called oxytocin. That’s the fuzzy feeling you get when you’re in love or when you’re surrounded by family.

“Oxytocin is super important during childbirth. But it’s a very shy hormone, so it doesn’t take much to turn it off.

“When that’s off, work can slow down and stop.

“Very often when women have their partners there, there are very few things going on in their heads.

“They worry that their partner will see them in a different light, that they will make silly noises, that they will defecate, throw up and do all the things that you don’t normally do in front of your partner.

“All of those feelings can actually stunt your labor.”

According to Piroska, for a smooth birth, women need to feel as comfortable and self-conscious as possible.

4. Don’t wonder about the gender of the baby

Have you decided to be “surprised” that day instead of having your baby’s sex revealed during an ultrasound?

Old wives’ tales claim, among other things, that a woman’s sex position, the timing of her menstrual cycle, and her diet can determine a baby’s sex.

Piroska says, “People will do all sorts of interesting positions, like leaving their legs up in the air for an hour after sex.

“But really, you’ll get what you’ll get.”

Piroska says she’s seen parents so confident they did everything right to conceive a boy that they panicked that something was “missing” when they saw their baby’s genitals.

5. Your son might have swollen testicles

“Men tend to get a little excited when their little cubs are born,” says Piroska.

“Boys very often have very swollen testicles. It is only [a] hormonal thing.

“But men will very often say, ‘Wow, really? look at him Oh my God!'”

Newborn boys may have extra fluid in their scrotum, which they flush out with their urine after a few days.

But if the swelling persists, the baby may have developed a hydrocele.

This is when fluid from the abdomen builds up in a testicle.

It doesn’t hurt, but may need surgery if it doesn’t get better on its own.

6. Birth is unpredictable

You’ve got a birth plan and packed your overnight bag, what could go wrong?

The birth is not an easy task, it is “100 percent unpredictable,” said Piroska.

“The contractions can be wonderful, nice and calm, and then it can change in a second,” she said. “That’s nature

“Our job as midwives is to keep things as calm as possible, and most of the time it’s really calm, but people tend to get a little limp towards the end.”

7. Your baby might look weird – but you’ll still want to hold her

Babies are adorable. But they don’t always come out that way.

Their heads can be wrinkled or even oblong, and their skin is bright red or purple — and covered with discharge.

Piroska says: “That’s the best way to describe it [the head] looks like a giant walnut because all the skin is wrinkled.

“The baby’s head is very, very soft because it’s designed to take some bruising as it comes through the birth canal. After that they get back in shape.

“We’ve had a couple of occasions where dads in particular have been horrified by the shape of their baby’s head.”

No matter what your baby looks like, your instinct will be to hold him, says Piroska.

“All of a sudden your instinct kicks in from your primitive part of your brain and you want to see your baby right away to make sure he’s okay.”

8th. Your water doesn’t break like a tsunami

In every movie, soap, and drama, the moment a woman’s water ruptures is a big deal.

There is always a gushing flow of liquid and a sudden rush to the hospital.

But on the contrary, it could be very uneventful.

Piroska says: “Sometimes it’s like a little trickle or you feel like something is a bit weird.

“We’d like you to come in so we can see if everything’s okay. It doesn’t mean you’re going to have a baby right away, especially the first baby; sometimes for second and subsequent babies.”

The NHS says it is common to go into labor within 24 hours of rupture, but sometimes labor will start first and a doctor or midwife will offer to break a woman’s waters.

Other signs of labor include contractions, back pain, and the urge to go to the bathroom (caused by the baby’s head pressing on the bowel).

9. Fathers are in for a shock

Piroska says she only met a “handful of couples” who should have been in the delivery room together.

“I would say 90 percent of the men don’t want to be there. I’ve heard men describe it as watching their favorite house burn down.

“They watch her [the mum] When you have this absolutely phenomenal experience, you’ll feel a bit like a fish out of water.

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“I’ve seen men faint on reception – because it’s a bit like walking into a war zone – when they’re looking at injections or because they’re trying so hard to support them that they don’t realize it that they have not eaten or hardly slept for 12 hours.

“Very often they get to the point of delivery and they’re just overwhelmed and they just pass out and miss the whole thing. That is quite common.” I’m a midwife and here are 9 shocking truths about childbirth every parent needs to know

Tom Vazquez

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