Labor and Birthing Myths

Oftentimes, what you don’t know is what scares you the most, especially when it comes to pregnancy and labor. You’ve heard all of the horror stories; the labor that lasted three days, the tearing, the recovery. It always seems like when you tell family and friends that you are pregnant, sure they are excited and congratulate you, but then inevitably comes the horror stories. Let’s take a look at those horror stories, those fears of the unknown, and lay it out there. The reality might not be as scary as others make it out to be.

Labor Horror Stories vs Reality

Why is it that whenever you talk about labor, everyone and their mom feels the need to tell you the worst parts about it? And, since you’ve never gone through it before, it’s easy to get sucked into that fear of the unknown.

Myth #1 – Complications that aren’t really complications are always an issue. What I mean by that is often times people will find something wrong with the situation and claim that it will lead to complications. For example, if you’re over 35 and considered AMA (advanced maternal age) there will be complications. This simply isn’t true anymore.  Another quite common one is that if you have a prolonged pregnancy (past 40 weeks) there will be complications. In fact, times have changed greatly and it is still considered ‘normal’ for a pregnancy to last between 37 and 42 weeks from ‘last menstrual period.’

Myth #2 – Moms love to talk about how scary it was when their labor failed to progress, which led to a C-section. While failure to progress is a clinical reason for C-section, only 8 percent of all labor complications are due to failure to progress. If this is something that you’re genuinely concerned about, there are things that you can do to lower your risk, exercise, gaining no more weight than is recommended, and remaining at home in a relaxing environment until your contractions are five minutes apart (with physician approval).

Myth #3 – Moms also love to tell the ‘heroic’ tale of how they fought through the pain to have an ‘all natural childbirth.’ They’ll tell you that it’s the only way to go, no drugs and no risk for having a groggy feeling or putting the baby at risk. Everyone experiences childbirth differently, and each situation is different. Having an epidural or natural birth can be a tough decision for many mommies to be. Speak to your physician to find out the best birthing option for you. Read the studies, do your homework, and make an informed decision for yourself.

Myth #4 – Lacerations and tearing is a topic that really no one wants to hear about, but somehow it makes its way into birthing conversations all of the time. This is one of a new mom’s greatest fears during labor, but we’re here to say that it doesn’t happen as often as you’d think. Even the most minor lacerations only occur in roughly 16 percent of all labors. Second-degree tears, which require stitches, only occur in 17 percent of all labors.

Myth #5 – Everyone has a natural fear of complications such as umbilical cord issues or heart rate issues, so let’s take a look at these. Out of all labors across the U.S, only 23 percent have umbilical cord issues. This can be where the cord is wrapped around the neck or entangled around the baby in some way making labor and birth a bit more complicated. As trained labor and delivery physicians and nurses, this is something that we are well versed at. With simple maneuvering and/or manipulating, most of these situations can be remedied quickly. As for heart rate issues, this only occurs in 15 percent of all labors.

If you have questions or concerns about any of these issues, or need some clarification on other topics, don’t hesitate to contact us immediately or visit our Facebook Page to ask the community of moms.

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