Squeezing a watermelon-sized baby out of your vagina aside, one of your biggest fears or worries about childbirth is something a whole lot more embarrassing. Am I right?
You have been inundated with stories about birth. From the books you have read to your cousin’s best friend sharing her sisters birth story with you over brunch. And there are some horror stories! To help you set your mind at ease, we’ve answered your biggest worries about those embarrassing things you’ve heard about labour.
What happens if I poo during childbirth?
Yes, poo during childbirth is a thing. If you aren’t already embarrassed enough with your legs spread wide for all to see, along comes a great stinky poo. Many women (probably more than you think) poo during labour so if this does happen to you, you are not alone. Midwives and doctors are used to it and will just wipe it away if it does happen. You will be so focused on pushing at the time that you may not even realised it has happened.
Do I need to wax my bikini area before the birth?
Do you want to wax your bikini area before birth? Yes? Then go for it! No? Then go au naturale! It is a good bet that the midwives and doctors supporting you through your labour have seen every pubic hair style imaginable and they probably don’t care what yours looks like. Waxing does hurt a little more while pregnant so keep that in mind if you are going down the Brazilian path, but otherwise, do what works for you.
Do I have to get naked when I’m in labour?
As long as the midwife/doctor has full access to your vagina for examinations and delivering the baby then you can wear whatever you like. If you are having an epidural, the anaesthetist will also need access to your spine. Labouring is hard work and you can build up a sweat so whatever you choose to wear during labour, make sure it is comfortable, light and easy to take on and off. When you are in the midst of contractions you probably won’t care what you are wearing or who sees you naked in any case!
What does a mucous plug look like and how will I know if I’ve lost mine?
The mucous plug sits at the opening to your uterus to protect it from bacteria and other nasties. When you lose your mucous plug it can either be in one go or in little pieces over a week or more. It can either be clear or tinged with pink (also known as a “bloody show”). You may notice the mucous when you wipe after going to the toilet or you may see it in the toilet bowl and sometimes you may not even notice it at all. Losing your mucous plus is a sign that your cervix is readying for labour but doesn’t necessarily mean it is imminent, so be alert but not alarmed.
What’s it like when your waters break?
You have a picture in your mind of your waters breaking being something like opening a dam with a flood of water flooding out from between your legs, don’t you? When your waters break, you may feel a “pop” and then a gush of water or more like a trickle of water, a little bit like a trickle of wee leaking out. If you aren’t able to stop it like you would when doing a wee on the toilet, then that is a good sign that your waters have broken. Baby is on the way!
At the end of the day, each of these concerns can be very real and frightening in the lead up to your labour. But remember that the medical professionals helping you to deliver your baby have seen it all and all they are concerned about is helping you to deliver your baby safely. Keep your eyes on the prize of getting your precious baby into your arms and try not to worry about the rest.