As you get closer to your due date, you may start to think more about what giving birth will actually be like. After all, you've spent the last nine months waiting for this moment to come. And although you've probably heard some stories (scary, or otherwise) from friends, there are some things your OB-GYN desperately wants you to know about labor and delivery that you should take to hear. Yes, your friends' experieince are valid, but only an OB-GYN knows what should really matter when you're bringing a new life into the world.
Though your well-intentioned grandmother swears by some the old wives' tales about labor and delivery, she's probably not a scientifically sound source. You might be better off taking the advice of medical professionals whose entire job revolves around ensuring you and your baby make it through childbirth safely.
Your OB-GYN's experience can actually be reassuring if you take a minute to breathe. I know I was hesitant to trust my OB-GYN at first, but by the end of my pregnancy, I valued his input. So whether or not this is your first time at the rodeo (or delivery room), check out these things your OB-GYN desperately wants you to know about delivery and labor.
1. You're Unique
"How other family members gave birth has nothing to do with what your experience will be like," OB-GYN and author Dr. Allison Hill tells Romper. "Just because your mother needed a cesarean, or your sister's birth was very long, doesn't mean that yours will follow suit." Basically, don't compare your labor or your delivery to anyone else's.
2. Time It
"Timing your contractions helps you differentiate between false and early labor," OB-GYN Dr. Sherry Ross tells Romper. "Uterine contractions that have a pattern of every three to five minutes for two hours help you become more aware labor is starting." This way, you'll know the difference between false and real labor, saving yourself time and effort.
3. Be Firm
At the end of the day, this is all about you and your baby. "Know who you want to be there at the final push," reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Jaime Knopman says. "Don’t be bullied by parents, your in-laws, or your friends — only people you want in the room should be there."
4. Communicate With Your Medical Team
"Talk with your doctor about what to expect in labor and delivery, and if you have questions, please ask them," OB-GYN Dr. Brooke Schexnaildre tells Romper. "Don't like how something is going in the moment? Stop us and tell us." You should feel comfortable enough to voice your concerns, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant they are.
5. Move Around
"Many of the common medical interventions that are done in the hospital may not be necessary for women with low risk pregnancies," Hill says. "You may be able to labor while walking around or being in a shower or tub." If you've gotten the green light from your doctor, there's no reason you can't move around while laboring.
6. Do Your Homework
"Pregnant women tend to be afraid of the unexpected, especially if it’s your first pregnancy" Ross says. "Knowing as much as possible before the big day, the better you can feel emotionally and physically." Ross suggests that you take a tour of the facility where you'll be delivering, go over your birth plan (if you have one), and make sure you and your OB-GYN are on the same page about how the big day is going to go.
7. C-Sections Aren't Easy
"We aren't recommending a C-section to you just so we can get along with our day," Schexnaildre says. "When a vaginal delivery no longer seems like the safest route, that's when we start talking about delivery via C-section." In short, if your doctor is urging you to get a C-section, it's for the health and safety of you and your baby — not their convenience.