I think all expecting mothers think to themselves about how they would like their labor and delivery to go. Whether you write it down, have a birth plan you hope to follow to the letter, or in your head you thought and know how you would like your labor and delivery to go.
Things don’t always go to plan or happen how we would expect, or how we would like. Labor and delivery is different for ever mama, I rounded up 8 mommy bloggers to tell us a little about their labor and delivery journeys and share any tips they had for expectant mothers.
Educate Yourself And Keep An Open Mind
Christi from Her Daily Fiat had to say:
I am so passionate about women getting the birthing experience they want (if possible), and could talk about labor all day! With my first child I had an induction, epidural, and many medical interventions. My second child I delivered medication and intervention free – within less than hour arriving at the hospital! The most important advice I can give is this: you can do everything “right”, educate yourself, create a birth plan, and still have your labor go differently than expected. Keep an open mind and don’t set your expectations too high. The most important part of your labor is a healthy mom and a healthy baby. Still, if you would like an intervention free and medication free birth you will most likely be able to with a team that is supportive of that. Interview your physician or midwife about their philosophies and histories. Ask around about their reputation at the hospital or birthing center. That way during labor and delivery you have peace of mind knowing you are on the same page.
No Birth Plan Needed
Ashleigh from Ashleighs Moments had to say:
Surprisingly, I am very happy with the way my labor went. It was not seen as a ‘perfect’ birth but in my eyes, it was more than perfect. I was able to birth a happy, healthy, and beautiful little girl. I may have been induced and my labor may have been pretty long but it wasn’t awful. Due to not progressing I ended up having an emergency c section but I’m ok with that. Many women see this as being stripped from having the natural birth they desired, but I don’t feel that way. The best tip I ever received during pregnancy was not to create a birth plan. Don’t get me wrong, I knew who I wanted there and what outfit I wanted to bring my daughter home in. But I did not plan how I was going to birth her or how I wanted it all to plan out. I hear so many stories of mums being disheartened because it didn’t go to ‘plan’ but the way I see it is how on earth can you plan something that’s natural. Not a single person knows how it’s going to go and you’re only going to get more stressed if it doesn’t work out.
Things Don't Always Go To Plan
Julie from Fab Working Mom Life had to say:
Planning out and preparing for a baby is exciting for all moms-to-be. Something important for pregnant moms to consider is, things do not always go as planned.
I had my birth plan written out and ready to discuss with my doctor at one appointment late in my third trimester when he surprised me with the news that I would be induced due to my gestational diabetes and the baby measuring large. That came as a shock to me because induction was not on my birth plan! At my 38-week appointment, on a Friday, I was given the order to report to the hospital Sunday evening. This was unexpected, and I quickly had to contact work and let them know I would not be returning.
As far as being induced, they started me on “ripening” medication overnight since my cervix was not ready. Then in the morning, they started me on Pitocin, and I finally had the baby after shift change in the evening. So, the entire process took over 24 hours if you start the clock when the first medicine began. At that point, most of my original birth plan was not applicable.
I’m sharing this story because I was so naïve, thinking I was in control of how things were going to go. First-time moms like me, you really may have no idea how quickly things can change at the end of your pregnancy. It is important to have a plan and make your birthing wishes known. But also, be flexible and understand that things may not go as you expected, and even if you didn’t get the birth experience you expected, it is still a wonderful and special day.
Be Your Own Advocate
Alicia from Sunshine and Grey Skies had to say:
One thing I wished I would have done a better job at while in labor was to, advocate for myself! Yes, they are the professionals and yes, they know what they’re doing BUT do not let that intimidate you out of speaking up and stating your thoughts and opinions!
I am a registered nurse and you would’ve thought this would’ve helped me in my birthing experience. When in reality I feel like it hindered me, I was so worried about not stepping on their toes because I wanted to give them professional courtesy (Yes you read that right). I shake my head at myself now, because I was more worried about them then me and my baby?! (assbackwards thinking, I know)
After 43 hours of what I call “labor from hell”, I ended up with an emergency c-section. Now my end result could’ve and most likely would’ve have been the same whether I would’ve spoken up or not BUT not speaking up led me to so much more distress and unhappy tears during what was supposed to be a somewhat happy memory (I mean let’s be honest, contractions just suck all the happiness out of you so its not all chocolate and rainbows lol).
Birth plans rarely happen as you plan but your providers should look at them as a very
important guideline, and there should be open and honest communication between you and your providers. Even if things start to get a little scary, say that out loud, let them know! Make them slow down and explain everything to you, the more you understand the less afraid you will be and in turn your stress level will be more manageable. They are the experts, but you are the mother, both are vital pieces to the birthing process!
Tips For Drug Free Birth
Audrey from Two Pink Peonies had to say:
I want to share my best tips for giving birth without an epidural. I’m
a mom of two and I’ve given birth both with an epidural and without.
Maybe it sounds crazy to you, but after doing both I would totally
give birth without an epidural again. Yes, that’s right without one!
It wasn’t as bad as the movies make it out to be and I had a much
faster recovery. These are the three best tips I have for all the
mommas out there who want to have a natural birth.
I know it sounds cliché but you can’t forget to breathe! Know that
this is going to be a painful experience but concentrate on breathing
instead of the pain. If you only concentrate on the pain it makes the
pain that much worse and you can end up hyperventilating which isn’t
I ended up ordering one of these on Amazon so I could be sure to have
it. There are so many great benefits to using a peanut ball. They are
supposed to shorten labors and help your baby get in position. I found
using a peanut ball to be very effective when delivering. It’s
definitely worth asking your doctor or midwife about.
Pain is temporary
Remember that the pain is temporary. In the moment, the pain is
excruciating but something that got me through it was knowing that the
pain is only temporary and this too shall pass!
All in all, we have to trust our doctors, nurses, and midwives and do
everything we can do to get baby here safely. Our birth plan doesn’t always go the way we want it to, but in the end birth is such a wonderful life experience. Whether you give birth by c-section, with or without an epidural what matters in the end is your beautiful new bundle of joy. You got this, mama!
Keep Your Options Open
Lexy from TakesAGingerVillage had to say:
When I got pregnant with my first I knew I wanted to labor and birth med free. It seemed like a challenge to me, and I love challenges.
Luckily for me, with all 3 kids, my labors are extremely quick and easy. My first I did use the gas for a little bit, but 2 & 3 were completely med free. My second was a water birth (a great option for pain management) and my newest was a super quick shower birth. 9 minutes from the first strong contraction that broke my water to when he was born, there wasn’t enough time to fill the birthing tub.
But my biggest tip for new moms considering a med free birth, keep your options open! If i had ended up laboring for 24+ hours like some moms I definitely would have tapped out and gotten the epidural. It isn’t a contest to see who can have the most “natural” birth. Some women have a low pain tolerance and that’s fine. No reason at all to stress yourself out even more. If you need those meds get them!
Tearing Happens and Tips To Help
Candice from Keeping up with the Patricks had to say:
Giving birth is such an amazing experience; nothing else compares to the emotions, pain, and meeting the new love of your life for the first time that comes with giving birth. With that being said, giving birth is not for the weak! With my first pregnancy I wish I had known about vaginal tearing. Not one person ever mentioned tearing to me, it was not even a though in my mind throughout my whole pregnancy. This is most likely due to the fact that roughly only two percent of women experience severe vaginal tearing. I happened to be part of that two percent. I had to have so many stitches that the doctor actually had to send one of the nurses to go get a second kit to finish stitching me up.
As painful as that sounds it was the aftermath and healing that was the worst part. I could not sit down without wanting to cry, even with my medical donut. It took the full six weeks to be able to sit without my medical donut and even then it was still very uncomfortable. The swelling and itching from the stitches was the most irritating part. Thankfully, this is very rare but I wish I someone had told me about tearing so I could be mentally prepared for the possibility.
If you happen to have tearing during birth then here are some tips for you. Invest in a medical donut for comfort when you sit down. Witch hazel pads will be your new best friends! I used witch hazel pads to cleanse with but also I would take two witch hazel pads and put them on top of my pad to create a cooling and soft barrier. This trick worked wonders for the itching and swelling. Using and ice pack, taking a pain relievers, and Epifoam (prescription prescribed by my doctor) also helped with the swelling, pain, and itching. As horrible as the tearing was I wouldn’t have changed a thing about my labour. It is amazing what our bodies can do and our children are worth it all.
What To Expect During and After Labor
Rachel from Mommy Did You Know had to say:
Labour – leading up to, during, and after. Example, Uterine massage after delivery comes as a shock to some
As a nurse, I find that a lot of people are surprised about a lot of things when they come to the hospital. For example, a lot of people are shocked when they find out we give Pitocin to most women, even if they started labor themselves. Of course moms have a choice, and they can always prefer to go without it. We just like to give the Pitocin to keep the contractions progressing as much as possible.
Another part of labor that most women do not expect is what happens when you get an epidural. First they give you a “bolus” of fluid. This basically is a liter of normal saline to keep your blood pressure stable. Epidurals can drastically drop your blood pressure, so we like to start you off with a little cushion. Then they insert a urinary catheter called a “foley”. They do this because you obviously will not be able to walk to the bathroom, and you need to keep your bladder empty to progress through your labor.
To administer the epidural, you will be sitting on the side of the bed supported by your support person or nurse. Try not to move much and bend down and “open” your back. They will first clean the area with a cold scrub, then insert the needle. The anesthesiologist will then thread the catheter through the needle. They retract the needle out of you and then use the catheter to give your medication. You will be surprised how many people think the needle is still inside them! After delivery, they will take the catheter out and you might have some back soreness.
Most people really study about what to expect during pregnancy and labor, but have no idea what to expect after. Of course, this is because we are moms! All the emphasis is on the baby, but its so important for mom to be aware too. After delivery, your nurse and doctor will do a “fundal massage” this is to make sure the uterus is firm and midline. A soft boggy uterus can lead to postpartum hemorrhage, and a uterus that is pushed to the side can mean that the bladder is full. The fundal massage can be uncomfortable, but it is one of the best assessment tools we have to make sure you are okay. Massage not only tells us that the uterus is firm, but it also keeps the uterus firm. When we massage, it also tells us if there are any clots. If clots keep coming out it can mean there are placental fragments and we might need to get them out.
After delivery, most women find themselves shaking, and the majority of women who have cesarean births experience nausea and itching. You will have contractions after delivery, that actually get more intense with each baby that you have. Having a baby is such a magical moment, but it is also hard work. Your body spent months preparing for this delivery, and it will take some time for it to recover. Just listen to your body and be aware.
P.S. i have more information in my article what to expect in vaginal delivery: https://mommydidyouknow.com/labor-and-vaginal-delivery-what-to-expect/
Even though all these moms have been through labor and delivery each mamas story is so different and unique to them. Like yours will have been or will be to you.
Hopefully if you are an expectant mother these posts will have helped you learn more about labor and deliver and what you can expect.
Make sure to check out their blogs to read more about how they survive the challenges of motherhood!