Having a baby is one of life’s miracles. Once the baby is born, you can reflect back on your pregnancy and gaze upon your beautiful child that you just brought into the world. But you know what’s not beautiful? Labor. Sure, there are people who will gush over the glory of hard work and blood, sweat and tears. But let’s be real and say a lot of stuff goes down, down there and you need to be prepared. Here’s a quick list of gross things you need to know about labor that can happen in the delivery room.
1. Mucus Plug
A mucus plug (also called a bloody show) is normally covering your cervix during pregnancy to protect your growing baby from bacteria. You can lose your mucus plug anywhere from several weeks before going in to labor, or in the delivery room if you are getting induced. It’s basically a clear or light pink, stringy glob of mucus and its pretty disgusting. Don’t even THINK about googling it, because you’re going to get a ton of amateur pictures guaranteed to give you nightmares. Many women don’t ever see their mucus plug discharge because theres so much going on down there. Just remember you heard about it here, and move on.
2. Poop (yours)
Yes, it’s true. Women in labor poop on the delivery table. There’s so much pushing going on that you are bound to push whatever’s in your intestines out. The good part? Doctors and nurses are so used to it, and professionals to say the least, they just scoop it away and usually don’t even say anything to you. Ignorance is bliss, ladies!
Contractions are hard. They are literally squeezing every part of your innards, and that includes your stomach. If you couple that with the intense pain, you will see why many women end up vomiting during labor and why you aren’t allowed to eat (less to throw up!). Just make sure your spouse is ready with the barf bowl by your side.
4. Loss Of Bodily Control
You may thing, isn’t that what the last three items we just talked about are? Well, if you get an epidural, you will experience a loss of bodily control that transcends ALL of these things. Epidurals do their job of reducing contraction pains by usually numbing you from the waist down. People are affected differently by epidurals and they can seem stronger than others, or take to one leg more than the other (like my case, where I had a dead, right leg). Not only are you physically reliant on someone else to help you turn over, you also can’t feel when you may need to go to the bathroom or pass gas. Just accept that everyone’s focusing on the baby, and not your breaking wind.
Just when you thought your contractions and pushing are done, there’s the placenta. Once your baby is safely in the world, the doctors and nurses will make sure your placenta is delivered by any means necessary. This may include pushing and shoving on your belly until it comes out, or even going in by hand to remove a retained placenta. Once it does exit, do you self a favor and don’t look at it. It’s not pretty.
6. Uterine Massage
Ahh, a massage sounds pretty good right now, after carrying all that extra weight around and the perils of labor. Well, keep thinking mamas because a uterine massage is not what it seems. After delivery, it’s important that your uterus start returning to it’s normal size quickly and to contract so the bleeding stops. While in the hospital, a nurse will come in and
push forcibly on massage your abdomen to get this process going. Not only does it not feel good, but the pressure causes fluids to, shall we say, quickly exit the body. It’s not pretty, so just plan for a trip to the bathroom after.
7. Toilet Time
Going to the bathroom has never been more disgusting or labor intensive as it will be the few week after delivering a baby. Not only will you be having the period of a lifetimes, you will be very sore and things won’t look like they used to. Toilet paper is absolutely out of the question if you’ve had a vaginal birth, so a peri bottle will be your best friend. You’ll be spending extra time waiting for all the fluids to run their course, then giving yourself a mini bidet session, then applying witch hazel pads to your mesh underwear. Enjoy!