Guest Blogger: Stephanie Heintzeler
After 15 years in the “birthing world” and over 1,200 births attended, I notice that I get the same questions pretty much all of the time while attending a birth. This is funny since every birth is unique, and because every mom in labor behaves differently and every birth partner reacts differently. However, these questions always come up:
1.“Is this normal?”
When labor starts with contractions (vs. an induction or the water breaking) parents usually call and explain what they experience. It could be cramping every 10 minutes, pain, bleeding, nausea… the biggest concern is always if what is happening might not be normal. Rest assured, it usually it is. To feel more prepared for the big day, book a childbirth class.
2.“Will it hurt more?
This is a tricky question. Depending on where you are in labor it might hurt more at some point, but when the pain increases your body will also release more endorphins (nature’s narcotic) so that labor is more bearable as it progresses. Sometimes the pain gets better after a while because you get used to it, too. Often the sensation changes from pain to pressure, which makes it more bearable. Your doula will constantly be by your side to help you evaluate where you feel the contractions and which positions and breathing technique help the most.
3.“How much longer?”
Whether it’s in early labor, active or during pushing, moms and partners always ask several times how much longer I think it will take until the baby is born. Every birth is different, however usually doulas can give an idea about whether this is very early labor or active labor and are able to tell how much longer it might be. Keep in mind that some babies suddenly come faster and some births can slow down at some point. So in the end, answers to this question may not be enlightening.
4.“Do you think I can give birth?”
Yes, I do! I have seen so many moms in labor and I know every mother can do it as long as mother and baby are fine AND as long as the mom in labor wants to give birth! The question is: What does it mean to you to give birth? You will still be giving birth if you have an epidural or a csection. So what we want to look at is HOW you want to give birth and how can we make that happen together with your birth team. What does giving birth mean, for you?
5.“Did I just poop?”
Yep- when you push your baby out your little one can’t help it but push everything out of your bowels, too. This is normal- without pooping your OB nurse or OB would be showing you to push more effectively, i.e. by putting a mirror in front of you so you can see when your baby’s head is more visible.
Want to get more questions answered? Consider hiring a birth and/or postpartum doula for this exciting time! More information here: www.thenewyorkdoula.com