Hollywood's Biggest Myths About Labor and Delivery
Relax. Odds are good that your childbirth will be a lot different than the ones on the screen. Here are six things about labor and delivery that Hollywood just can't get right.
First contraction, mad dash to the hospital, and -boom- baby's here. Yeah, not so much. Labor and delivery can take a really long time, from several hours to several days. Movies make everything look like an emergency, and most births simply don't involve that level of panic.
- Your partner will freak out
Give him some credit! Most partners are fully capable of driving, handholding, coaching, and doing whatever they have to do to see you through labor and delivery.
- You'll be screaming in pain
Every birth is different. Some women report that their labor pains felt more like pressure or simply discomfort, not pain. Epidurals dull the contractions considerably. Don't be surprised if you never feel the urge to stab your partner or scream at a nurse. Studies show that the women most likely to have tortured, wailing births are women who expected to have tortured, wailing births in the first place.
- Pushing is the worst part
Most moms report that the most difficult part of labor was the transition phase, during the final dilation and strongest contractions. After this painful part of labor and delivery, pushing is sometimes a welcome relief.
- Labor and delivery is done when the baby is out
Not so fast - there's still the placenta to think about, and it could take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour to emerge. Your doctor may give you pitocin or massage your uterus to help it along, though.
- Newborns are beautiful
After nine months in a cramped uterus, not to mention labor and delivery, newborns look a little worse for wear. Their limbs are bent from so much time curled up, their skin may be purplish, blotchy, rashy, or covered with strange hair and waxy vernix. Plus there's the dreaded "conehead." It's okay —these things will go away, revealing your baby's real beauty.
- You'll be breastfeeding in no time
Movie moms never seem to have trouble with latching, milk flow, or blocked milk ducts. In real life, breastfeeding is hard at first, and your milk won't fully come in for a few days after the birth. Immediately after labor and delivery, it's far from the serene experience you see on film.