When I initially thought of writing this post, I wasn’t sure how much I should say. Should I talk about the not so good and painful parts? Or should I just focus on the beauty of giving birth which is akin to a miracle? That’s the one time you feel like a superwoman.
I finally thought that it would be a good idea to share the whole of my experience.What helped me and what guided my soul and how I prepared for what was going to be the most important journey of my life.
15 Startling Truths No One Tells You About Giving Birth
#1 While giving birth is a miracle, the pain is real. Be ready for the pain. The good news is that it doesn’t pain all the time, but when it does, it hurts really bad. You will crave sedation and loads of painkillers. Unfortunately, all of that is not good for the baby. So, there will be some pain before, during or after.This is what you need to know about giving birth for the first time.
Be ready for the immense warm, fuzzy love spreading through your body and numbing the pain. The love you will feel for your child can compare to nothing. It’s when you become a mother that you know how fiercely protective you can be.
#2 Being a mommy is the most significant adventure and the hardest challenge. All of you who are mothers know that the best way to get ready for normal delivery is to attend antenatal birthing classes. Learning this with your partner is going to be the best experience. If not spouse at least a friend who can be with you during these classes helps to a great deal. Making a baby and giving birth-both need help.
Unfortunately, you will find few places in India focusing on this aspect of maternity care. But this goes a long way in making your body ready for giving birth. So, the effort of looking up and attending these classes is totally worth it.
Antenatal classes and guidance is something Sitaram Bhartia Hospital in New Delhi is trying to stress on. Ethical practices, the disclosure of normal delivery and cesarean rates, transparency in patient feedback policies are their USP. As a doctor, I know that fetal monitoring during delivery is one of the parameters by which the decision for the type of birth is arrived at. Their exceptional normal delivery rate of 88% (2016) shows the expertise and dedication of their doctors to the cause.
While exploring the services they offered, I saw that their cesarean rates for moms with a prior normal delivery, with a single baby in the head-down position who cross 37 weeks is < 2%. Now this one sounds complicated but is again proof of the ability of their doctors to choose the right case for each type of delivery. Knowing when to choose which procedure on a case to case basis makes pregnancy and childbirth a miracle and a challenge. The right doctor to patient ratio, transparent costs, and ethical practices is how this hospital set the right example of how maternal and child care facilities should operate.
#3 Your spouse will be a new parent too. Don’t expect him to know everything. Just like you, he is learning. Grow a few patient bones because you will need all of them.
#4 When I was planning a baby, I was working in Delhi. I was a typical ‘doctor going to be the mommy’- incessantly worrying about everything under the sun. While finding the best gynecologist in Delhi was easy, what wasn’t easy is finding a good nanny to train.
If you are a working mom, please accept that you will need help. Talk to friends, neighbors about good nanny centers and daycare. Even better try to start a daycare facility at your workplace, with support from management Nowadays corporates want to help retain sincere and intelligent woman in their workforce, so this may work out. If not try to leverage work at home options with few office visits.
All this sounds premature when the baby is inside. But believe me, this is what will steal your sleep for the next several years.
#5 Plan a well-balanced and nutritious diet. If you are already overweight, you may need to put on lesser weight than someone who has a normal pre-conception weight. Talk to your doctor about exactly how much you should gain. Excessive weight gain is associated with an abnormal increase in blood pressure, gestational diabetes, thyroid dysfunctions all of which needs to be avoided as far as possible.
#6 Walk and do what you love to keep fit. Yoga and exercise need to be discussed with your doctor. While pregnancy and childbirth are a natural process, every mother-to-be needs individual care. See what works for you and do exactly that. A little exercise goes a long way in making your mood better and keeping you fit. It will keep those happy hormones flowing.
Embrace your body’s transformation but try to keep fit as much as you can.
7 Read positive, inspiring stories and self-help books. Watch the positive news and overall keep your happiness quotient high. Your child feels every mood swing and hormone change. Pre-birth stress affecting the fetus is a reality, and you should keep that in mind before you decide to binge watch horrors. Avoid negativity at all costs.
#8 Don’t try to google your way through medical jargons.Unfortunately, there are no quality checks for whats available online. If you want to know the truth about something about your health be aware but talk to your doctor before making any changes to your routine. A good and experienced doctor talks with years of experience and knowledge behind her/his words.
#9 Listen to music because your unborn baby can hear pretty early on. They can even recognize angry voices. Talk to the little one, tell her/him about your dreams and aspirations. Sing to them, tell them a story. They will be listening.
#10 Have a group of family members who are a phone call away. In the mad rush of balancing life and a career, we forget the human connection. Believe me when I say that you will want all your cousins and friends around you to help at the weirdest of moments. A dear friend’s wife helped me out when my mom was unable to babysit. Her kindness left a mar. I realized that it really takes a village to raise a child. Unfortunately, we seem to be growing further and further away from our own tribe. So, keep your tribe close. Be there for them, and you will have angels reaching out. Remember- God always helps, you just need to ask for it.
#11 Talk to your health insurance provider/agent and get paperwork in order. Talk to the hospital’s insurance person. Insurance needs calm discussion, and in the excitement of giving birth, you can’t have financial loopholes.
#12 Keep some cash handy. With all the digitalization you never know when cash is needed.During stressful times we often forget password and pins.
#13 Keep a hospital bag ready with all essentials. I had my Kindle and charger stashed in it from the last 21 days. I also kept my lip balm and my favorite lipstick. It does help with the impromptu photoshoots when you can put on lipstick before you leave the hospital.
#14 Take your supplements. They are very important to keep you and the baby healthy.
#15 Know your blood group, your husband’s blood group. Also, keep a few friends ready and primed if you need help with blood transfusion at any time. It sounds weird but hear me out. I talk from experience.
I am Rh negative, and no immediate relative or friend had the same blood group. While hospitals I know have stocks, I slept more peacefully knowing a friend of a friend was a ready and fit donor.
Above all pray hard. Yes, prayers always help. You may be non-religious or an atheist. It doesn’t matter. You can always talk to the universe and send your gratitude out there. They will come raining down as blessings for your child.
Disclaimer: This post is meant to share my experience and knowledge.All medical procedures should be done after a professional consultation with your doctor.Kindly read my full disclaimer
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