Congratulations you are pregnant, you have a little one growing inside of you! As the months go past the looming reality of labour dawns on you as you find yourself getting closer to your due date. Labour is often full of new and unexpected experiences for both new mum-to-be, and mums who already have a few kids under their belt. We sat down with an experienced mum of three Sharice and asked her what would be her top 10 nuggets of knowledge she would share with an expectant mother. This is what she had to say.
1. You may get diarrhea before
I personally did not know this during my first pregnancy but loose stool is a notable sign of upcoming labour. When I was pregnant with my other children, I was more aware and was able to keep myself hydrated, which really helped.
2. Prepare yourself and be aware of your mucus plug
Be prepared for your mucus plug to come out, you may be surprised at its consistency, I know I was. It is not the prettiest thing but it is a sure sign that labour is coming. Your mucus plug usually comes out 2-5 days before labour begins.
3. Keep track of your contractions!
Sis, you will be in pain! It will be difficult for you to keep track of your contraction and in between contraction times with your stop watch yourself. I did not realise just how difficult it would be to do so during my first labour. With my other labours I used the Elle TENS 2 which automatically measured by contraction and in-between contraction times. It is super important you measure this; which brings me on to my next point all pregnant mum’s planning to have a hospital birth should know.
4. You may get sent home
When you arrive at the hospital one of the first things, they will ask you is ‘how far apart are your contractions?’ If your contractions are not around 5 minutes apart lasting around 1 minute each it is likely that you will be sent away to labour at home. This was another reason why I bought the Elle TENS 2 so I could manage my pain at home as long as I could.
5. Bring warm clothes
If you choose to have a hospital birth, bring a set of warm clothes with you in your hospital bag. It gets a bit chilly in the ward, so it is likely that you will need a cardigan or a jumper, I know I did.
6. Your mouth will get dry
All the breathing techniques you have mastered for dealing with the pain results in a very dry mouth. Also, if you choose to have gas and air, that can also make your mouth very dry. Ensure you stay hydrated.
7. You likely will not eat much
When that active labour hits you, food will likely be the last thing on your mind. Try to eat a meal during the early stages of labour. Pre-prepare snacks like fruit or vegetables in bitesize pieces that you can quickly eat in between contractions in active labour to give you energy.
8. Don’t get too attached to your midwife
Having a lovely midwife is incredible, but be prepared, if you are having a hospital birth your midwife may change. When I was in the hospital, I had the most amazing midwife settle me in, we really hit it off! She then told me her shift was ending and said her goodbyes. I was not expecting this, nevertheless my new midwife was also great, but my heart broke a little.
9. If you can try to avoid screaming
I know this is a big ask, especially when you are in pain but screaming honestly takes up a lot of energy. Energy that is better conserved for pushing the baby out. I would say grunt, moan, breathe, squeeze someone’s hand but try not to scream.
10. Poop happens
It is very possible that you may poo yourself whilst pushing, I did not even notice that it happened. Your midwife quickly cleans it up, do not be too embarrassed it happens to a lot of women.
11. Listen to your midwife, especially when pushing
I know this sounds like a no brainer but it really isn’t. With all the distractions it can be hard to focus on your midwife but during the pushing stage it is crucial. If your midwife tells you to push, that’s when you need to push. If you midwife tells you to breathe, that’s when you need to breathe. Trust me, if you push when you need to breathe you may end up tearing down there.
I know this might sound like a lot and labour may seem daunting but honestly once you meet your little one, the joy is overwhelming. Labour was worth it; trust me I’ve been through it 3 times and would happily go through it again.