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Everyone has their own labor story to tell. Yours will be unique too. Since every birth is different, how can you prepare?
The best place to start is with your doctor. Ask your OB-GYN what to expect during childbirth. Your doctor has seen you through your pregnancy and knows your individual situation.
You can also educate yourself through reading and attending childbirth classes. But there’s only so much you can read in a book or learn in a class.
Let’s get real. Let’s talk about what nobody tells you about giving birth.
First, will you know when labor begins? It may not be as easy to tell as you think. In your third trimester, you may experience a random squeezing of your abdomen, called Braxton-Hicks contractions. Usually, these are less regular and not as strong as true labor contractions.
True labor contractions come at regular intervals and begin to get closer together and more intense. These contractions continue, despite movement, and steadily increase in strength, usually starting in the back and moving to the front.
Also, you may go into labor without your water breaking. If it does break, you may only notice a small, constant trickle. Only 1 in 10 women experience a dramatic gush of amniotic fluid. Your doctor can break your water for you if it doesn’t happen on its own.
Let’s move on. You have arrived at the hospital and you know for sure you’re in labor. What now? Here’s what nobody tells you about giving birth:
It’s called labor for a reason. It’s hard work. But like most hard work, there is a reward. In this case, it’s the best reward of all.
Learn more about what to expect in labor and delivery at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
Find an OB-GYN or midwife.
What’s normal during pregnancy
8 options for a more comfortable labor
Demystifying c-sections: what every expectant mom should know
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