Tips for Pregnancy Week 36Brought to you by
As Seen on TV: You know your make-up won't look that good after delivering another human being. What else are they not telling you?
We've all seen it on television. The pregnant woman suddenly grabs her stomach and informs the stunned onlookers, “I think my water just broke!” People rush around, she is whisked to the hospital, and in the next scene we see her handsome doctor enter and ask, “Are you ready to start pushing?” Everyone joins in encouraging her through two or three pushes, then she screams in a primal way and the doctor lifts a (large and surprisingly clean) baby for all to admire. Is this really how it works?
First, start with the water breaking. While it is possible that your first sign of labor will be a sudden rush of fluid, it is much more likely that you will show other signs first, such as cramping, contractions, back pain, and tightness in your abdomen – all of these are more likely to appear prior to your water breaking. In fact, for many women, the water will be broken by the doctor, well into labor, in order to facilitate the laboring process.
The next element in scripted labor is the fantastic sense of urgency. While some women do progress through labor quickly, you can assume with a first pregnancy that things will take several hours, at least. Once you are in the hospital, you will be monitored by the nurses; but it will still take your body time to travel through the first stage of labor, in order to ready itself for the pushing stage.
Depending on many factors, you may be able to push just a few times with success, or you may have to push for hours. An epidural helps to eliminate the pain, but it can also make pushing more challenging because of the loss of sensation. There is even the possibility that your labor will stall out at some point, none of these things happen as planned, and your delivery becomes a cesarean section.
Finally, there is the big arrival. Prepare yourself for a newborn that won't be nearly as clean and round, or ready for close-ups, as those television babes. Newborns are coated in blood and vernix, wrinkly from floating in amniotic fluid, and often with a molded head or other affects of the trip through the birth canal. In short, you'll be looking at the most beautiful thing you've ever seen, and it will be better than any television birth could possibly be. It doesn't get more real than that.