Making mistakes are totally normal, the important things it to learn for those mistakes. Everyone want childbirth to go smoothly but sometimes unexpected things can occur.
While there is not much a woman can do in certain situations, what she can do is prepare herself for every situation and outcome. It’s important to know some of the major pitfalls that women can experience during labor so that these mistakes are no longer repeated. From thinking that they are not allowed to eat or drink anything to trying not to go the bathroom to not having a birth plan or being unprepared for the massive amounts of sweat that are going to come, there are some pretty big and pretty important mistakes that women make during labor.
Nevertheless, while these mistakes may seem critical, the more preparation and research that is done, the better prepared women will be. So without further ado, here are the 20 biggest mistakes women make during labor. Just sit back, relax, and remember the breathing exercises.
20. GOING TO THE HOSPITAL TOO EARLY
To be quite honest, I don’t think people like showing up anywhere too early, whether it’s a party or an event. So you can only imagine how much of a pain it would be to show up at the hospital too early in the labor process. When the contractions start, it’s time to decide if you should go to the hospital or stay at home for the beginning stages of labor. If you are at least 37 weeks pregnant and show no indications of stress, it is time to make a choice. You can either induce labor or wait for the stronger contractions to begin.
19. TRYING NOT TO GO TO THE BATHROOM
I believe it was the great William Shakespeare who wrote, “to go number two or not to go number two, that is the question”. Look, I know nobody ever wants to go number two when they’re not in a bathroom, but this is just something that happens during labor. If your colon contains any fecal matter, then the pressure that is exerted during childbirth will cause that fecal matter to come out. And there is no sense trying to hide it. If you are trying not to go number two while pushing the baby out, you are going to have a hard time.
18. MISTAKING PRE-LABOR WITH ACTIVE LABOR
The problem with mistaking pre-labor with active labor is that not all women experience occasional, painless contractions, otherwise known as Braxton Hicks contractions. There are some women who will begin to feel those type of contractions midway through their pregnancy. Therefore, as women get closer to delivery, these contractions can get pretty intense which makes it even harder for women to distinguish between pre-labor contractions and active labor contractions. When a first-time mom starts experiencing contractions, they may get scared and start believing that they’re in preterm labor. But don’t fret; these lighter contractions aren’t anywhere near strong enough to force the baby out.
17. WAITING TOO LONG TO REQUEST THE EPIDURAL
For those of you reading this who may not be aware, an epidural is an injection into the area around the spinal cord, which is meant to provide temporary relief from pain. Women are given epidurals during labor to help with the pain. However, the mistake comes in waiting too long to request one. The key to epidurals is getting them as soon as possible. If you wait too long to request it and the labor process is moving too fast, you run the risk of there not being enough time for the epidural to work. And trust me, you’re going to want it to work.
16. NOT EXPECTING THE INTENSITY OF LABOR
As a first time soon to be mom, I’m sure that you have a certain expectation of what to expect during labor. You’re probably thinking that it is going to be somewhat intense. However, as intense as you think it may be, you can’t truly expect the level of intensity until you are actually going through it. And not being ready for this level of intensity is a big mistake that most women make. Most women are surprised at how painful and overwhelming the labor process truly can be. This surprise can lead to tension which can lead to more pain. That’s why it’s so important to prepare for it.
15. NOT GETTING ENOUGH REST
It’s just like that old Frankie Goes To Hollywood song goes, “Relax, don’t do it. When you want to go to it.” If you’re a soon to be first-time mom, there is no way to prepare yourself or to know what kind of pain is to come. Therefore, all of this stress and anxiety that can go into the labor process can make things much worse. Nevertheless, there are ways to help remedy this situation. If you sleep during the early labor process, you not only get some much-needed rest, but it also helps the baby to relax as contractions start. Sleeping during early labor can also help the cervix to dilate.
14. NOT REQUESTING A QUIET LABOR
In case you didn’t know, the birthing room can be a pretty busy place. Between the doctors, the nurses, the student doctors, and the family of the soon to be parents, the room can get pretty unruly. And you can imagine that with such a hectic and loud room, it can seem hard for a woman in labor to concentrate on simply giving birth. However, what most women don’t know is that you can request what is called a “quiet birth”. Ask the team of doctors to keep the chatter to a minimum and for the rest of the family to wait outside. You can even ask to keep the lights dim, as long as the doctors don’t object.
13. LYING DOWN
I’m sure that when you think about a woman giving birth, you probably picture her lying on her back. Well, as synonymous as the two may be with each other, lying down during labor is actually a bad thing. The reason for this is that lying down can restrict your mobility, which in turn can restrict the baby’s movement. The last thing you want is the baby to hit a roadblock on their way out. Therefore, the ideal labor position is one that takes gravity into account. A squatting or standing position can help the uterus to open up and give the baby more room.
12. EXERTING TOO MUCH ENERGY
I’m going to let you all on in a little secret. The reason that the childbirth process is referred to as labor, is because it is an expenditure of physical and mental effort. There is no way around it; labor is tough. And despite what you may see on television or in the movies, labor is a long and arduous process. And as arduous a process as it may be, you will find that all of the pushing will really take a toll on your body. And as your body gets more and more drained, you may find that you don’t have the energy to push the baby out. Therefore, it’s important to rest and relax as much as possible.
11. NOT HAVING ANY BIRTH SUPPORT
Like most things in life, it’s always great to have a support team behind you. And when it comes to labor, a big mistake that people make is not having any birth support. When you are under the intense physical and emotional stress of labor, it’s totally expected that tensions are going to start running high. And when tensions are running high, you are going to need someone to help calm you down and keep you relaxed. This extra help can come in the form of a midwife, a family member, or even a friend. Birth support is definitely the way to go.
10. BEING UNPREPARED FOR THE SWEAT
If you have ever been in a sauna before, multiply that experience by 10 and you will have a vague conception about how much sweat you are in store for during labor. As the cervix begins to dilate, the soon-to-be-mother will start experiencing a painful sensation. This is about the time that the somewhat painful contractions will start. As the time between contractions become less and less, the pain will get more intense. And some women react in different ways. One way that women’s bodies respond is by sweating profusely. As such, it’s important to keep plenty of towels and cold washcloths nearby.
9. FORGETTING THE BREATHING TECHNIQUES
Everyone, try this with me. Breathe in through your nose and then out through your mouth. Very good… When it comes to being in labor, your breathing plays a pretty big role. Therefore, it’s important not to forget your breathing techniques. Proper breathing techniques not only help women keep calm and relaxed, but they also help move forward the baby’s decent in the birth canal. As stressful as labor may be, breathing techniques can absolutely help. Not only will the baby’s heart rate help to relax, but so will the moms. Just remember: deep breaths. In through the nose and out the mouth.
8. BEING WITHOUT A BIRTH PLAN
I don’t know about you, but I like to have a plan for everything. From building a shelf to your retirement funds, it’s important to have a plan. And one of the biggest mistakes women make during labor is not having a plan. And this birth plan should include everything that you wish to happen for when you finally deliver the baby. This plan should include topics such as who gets to be in the delivery room, your preferences for pain relief, whether you want to bottle feed or breastfeed, and how soon you wish to leave the hospital. While there are no guarantees for anything, it’s nice to have everything spelled out on paper.
7. NOT RELAXING
Mediation isn’t just for non-pregnant women. In fact, meditation is a practice where an individual is able to achieve awareness and become emotionally and mentally clear. And when it comes to labor, it can be extremely beneficial when you learn to relax. I can’t stress enough how when you relax and help to ease any anxiety you may have, this will in turn help with the delivery of your little one. If the mommy is not relaxed, then I can assure that the baby isn’t going to be relaxed either. If you allow your body to relax, this will help provide the mindset that is needed to help push the baby out in a more tolerable way.
6. CHANGING POSITIONS TOO MUCH
It’s the classic question: do I sit or stand? Some soon to be moms like to sit, others like to stand. However, it doesn’t end there. Some moms in labor like to walk around and others like to stay in bed. It really depends on the individual. However, the big mistake that women make during labor is when they end up changing positions too much. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you have to change positions to help with aches and what not, but where the problems start is trying to move when you’re hooked up to different machines. Also, be sure to keep a couple of hospital gowns nearby if you have to end up moving.
5. NOT PREPARING FOR MULTIPLE BIRTH SCENARIOS
A general rule when it comes to childbirth is to always be prepared. It’s impossible to control the entire labor process and have everything go the way that you intended it to. That’s just not realistic. While you cannot control it, you can certainly have an influence on it. And that’s where preparing for multiple birth scenarios comes in. Even if you planned on having an all-natural birth, or not having a C-section, it’s still important to make sure you explore all the options for childbirth. You have to think in terms of, if “blank” were to happen, what are my options? Plans can always change.
4. NOT EATING OR DRINKING
Ice chips anyone? I have to say, of all my favorite foods, ice chips would have to be at the top of the list. And by top of the list, I mean the very bottom of the list. While many women believe that you should neither eat nor drink while in labor, the truth is that eating is perfectly fine, once the contractions have begun. If you are looking at a long intensive labor, food can provide some much-needed energy. Not to mention that an empty stomach can actually prolong a woman’s labor. Having said that, if you are not hungry, please don’t force yourself.
3. EATING TOO MUCH
Remember earlier when I said that you can eat during childbirth? Of course you do, that was just a minute ago. Well, there’s actually more to it than meets that eye. While eating can give you the necessary energy for an intense labor, that doesn’t mean that you should take part in an all you can eat buffet. Eating too much can cause some women to feel sick and nauseous. And that’s the last thing that a woman in labor wants to feel. Also, if you’re so full from eating, how can you possibly expect to muster the strength to push out a baby?
2. BEING AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS
If you are a soon to be first-time mom, you undoubtedly have questions upon questions upon questions going through your head. And that’s only natural. This is a brand-new experience for you. How could you not have questions? From what are contractions like to what are the birth scenarios to when do I get the epidural, to what happens if you experience complications, everything can seem overwhelming. And one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to not ask questions. Trust me when I say that doctors have heard it all, so you should not be afraid to ask them anything. Remember, knowledge is power.
1. NOT BEING WELL VERSED ON MEDICATIONS
When you are in labor and in immense amounts of pain, you won’t care what medications are what. All you’ll know is that you’ll want some. As solid as that thinking may seem at that time, it’s still important to know what you are and are not taking. Of course, the doctors aren’t going to give you anything that will harm either you or the baby, but that doesn’t mean that you should be ignorant on the subject. You might want to learn about how certain medications will affect your system before taking it. The more you know about them, the better you’ll feel.