Friday, May 1, 2009

Birthing Q&A

Six months ago today, I gave birth to my first child. She is a delight and I often revisit that beautiful day in my mind. I used hypnobirthing as my birthing method and had an all natural-no drugs-minimal medical monitering-water birth. I was able to catch my own baby and bring her up to me, sharing her first moments in this world by kissing her and singing to her of how much I loved her.

Since bearing a child, I have been asked a lot of questions by people. Both men and women have asked questions, a lot of them repeats. In an attempt to educate the public, I am sharing the most popular ones and my responses with you. This may be TMI for some people, so be forewarned.


  • What did it feel like? As though my body was trying to turn itself inside out.

  • Did it hurt, for real? Yes. I was able to sleep through the first part, and then relax myself through the second part when things started getting intense. During "transition," though, things were crazy. It wasn't the most painful thing I've ever felt, but it was the most intense thing I've ever felt. It just takes over your whole body. The most painful part was actually tearing, but the worst pain was the pressure in my legs during the whole thing because it was the most annoying of all the "pain". I recommend practicing deep relaxation before childbirth. I didn't scream, but I did groan loudly while pushing and I did have tremors from the pain during contractions.

  • Would you do it without drugs again? Absolutely. I still wouldn't dream of using drugs during natural childbirth.

  • What about tearing? The water helps a lot, and pushing slowly. I only tore a little bit, first degree. It stung, though!

  • What does it feel like afterwards? First off, you still look 5 months pregnant after the kid comes out. It feels like all of your guts have no pressure on them and are just bumping around so you have a stomach ache and feel like throwing up. Putting pressure around your mid section helps. Also, the unterine cramping afterwards sucks, especially while nursing. I took Tylonal and Advil for this.

  • Bleeding? This was an FYI for me: you bleed for up to 6 weeks after childbirth. After researching, I found out that this is from the area where the placenta was attached. Nursing and not doing strenuous activities helps speed up the healing process.

  • Does it hurt to pee afterwards? It didn't for me, but I'm told that it does if you tear in the perinial area (between the vagina and anus) (which I didn't).

  • How is sex afterwards? Let's just say that being "too loose" after childbirth is a MYTH. If anything, it's at least as small as ever. Some internal muscle tone is gone so I guess that's looser but that can be "fixed" by kegal exercises. I was woried about this though, so I did some Internet research prior to any attempts at sex and found that some women really have a terrible time with this including internal things becoming external . Yikes. Be encouraged that not all women have problems--don't be worried like I was.

  • What about pregnancy side effects afterwards? Well, I haven't thrown up, had heartburn, had leg cramps, or been nearly as tired since giving birth.

  • Getting back into shape: I feel like the unlucky one among women with this. I look at other new moms and they looks awesome. Me? I lost about 26 lbs. during the first 3 weeks and have struggled ever since. That whole "you burn 500 extra calories a day by nursing" doesn't help me any. I'm six months post partum and still have 12 pounds to go. *sigh*

Childbirth is something that one would think is a horrendous, abnormal and scary situation that women unfortunately find themselves in--if you watch mainstream television! Let me correct your thinking and assure you that the media is wrong. Childbirth is natural and amazing. Intense, yes. Impossible? No. Be unafraid and instead, embrace the most incredible experience that you will ever have.

What are some other questions that you have about labor, deliver, or post-partum?

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incredibly interesting comments!