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If you could give one piece of advice

(100 Posts)
Themilkyboobsareonme Sun 28-Oct-12 19:01:09

Anyone who has done this before, if you could give one piece of advice or if there is one thing you would tell yourself now that you wish you had known when you went into labour.

What's the best piece of advice you got?

iliketea Sun 28-Oct-12 19:03:35

My advice: ignore most of the well meaning advice your given. Find what works for you and your baby and ignore what everyone else is doing.

carocaro Sun 28-Oct-12 19:06:00

Your lips get really dry in labour, so lip balm a must!

FrightRunScream Sun 28-Oct-12 19:12:56

It's not the end of the world if you don't bf, for whatever reason.

SlightlySuperiorPeasant Sun 28-Oct-12 19:13:52

Do not tell anyone you are in labour except your birth partner(s) (and the midwife obviously!) and make sure they don't tell anyone either. It could be a long old slog and the last thing you need is people calling you, your DP and the hospital constantly wanting updates or mad relations deciding to wait around at the hospital or trying to sneak into the delivery suite hmm. Call people when you and baby are safe, well and have had time to snuggle.

mameulah Sun 28-Oct-12 19:24:26

I haven't had my baby yet (two weeks to go til due date!) but the midwife said something that I haven't read anywhere else, apologise for not really being qualified to answer but...

The midwfie said that if you wet a maternity pad with hot water and get either the midwife or your DH to hold on your perinium then it helps the skin stretch more easily and makes tearing less likely.

halloweeneyqueeney Sun 28-Oct-12 19:46:30

you do love your baby in an instinctive way straight away, but you're only just starting to get to know them and it's a roller coaster, especially the first few days, so don't worry if you don't feel the way people's facebook statuses would have you believe that all new mums feel about their labour and the following couple of days. Its quite normal to feel a whole range of confusing emotions, your hormones are going bonkers.

Flisspaps Sun 28-Oct-12 19:49:34

It will all heal - eventually grin

BionicEmu Sun 28-Oct-12 19:51:54

To go to bed for the first couple of days after you're home from hospital.

Labour completely drains you, and you need time to recover, never mind the stress and strain of looking after a newborn. I came home and tried to be up and about and looking back I really wish I hadn't. You need to get into living 24 hours, day & night have no meaning to a newborn, but it can be a very hard transition for adults to make. So I wish I had stayed in bed so I could sleep whenever I could, just getting up for meals and the bathroom, at least for the first couple of days.

Yika Sun 28-Oct-12 19:54:56

1. Get the epidural.

2. There's a heck of a lot of bleeding in the subsequent days and weeks.

cupcake78 Sun 28-Oct-12 19:57:58

Rest and relax.

Chunkychicken Sun 28-Oct-12 20:10:23

Whatever position is comfortable for you and makes you more able to handle contractions is the one you should be in, whether that's squatting/all fours/whatver. Don't deliver lying down just because you are 'expected' to and make sure your birth partner knows what you want. I let myself be laid down with my DD and despite feeling really uncomfortable, I didn't like to ask why I was laying down or ask to be moved. A tear and a bruised coccyx made me realise the error of my ways!!!

lollypopsicle Sun 28-Oct-12 20:22:30

I took lucozade to drink for energy during labour but it was way to fizzy and I could've done without the burps during contractions! Still drinks only!

Rhubarb78 Sun 28-Oct-12 20:30:18

When they offer you tea and toast, take them up on the offer. I didn't and then promptly fainted when I stood up to get a shower (forgot I hadn't ate for about 2 days)

Keep an open mind re birth plan and whatever happens will be the right way for you. Do not pressure yourself into thinking you have to do things a certain way.

Good luck!

Listen to your own body the midwives aren't always right.
I was told I was smiling and talking to much to be in labour, when I was finally examined I was 5cm dilated and DS was born an hour latersmile

fishface2 Sun 28-Oct-12 20:33:47

If you get the chance to take a second birth partner in - do it. I was in labour for more than 48 hours and we could have done with an extra person. I didn't want my mum because I thought she's take over but actually I really needed her to take over.

One more - disposable knickers. Don't ask , just put them in the bag!

And if you get heartburn during pregnancy take the gaviscon in as it doesn't stop straight after birth .

Keep your eyes on the prize!

MrsCantSayAnything Sun 28-Oct-12 20:36:29

If you decide you want to have an epidural insist that you want it when you ask....don't let them say "In a while"

The answer to 'would you like an epidural?' when you have been in labour for FOUR DAYS (yes, DD, I am looking at YOu)

The answer is YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!

Narrowboat Sun 28-Oct-12 20:43:57

breathe in the gas and air BEFORE a contraction as it takes few seconds to kick in. If you are strapped up to a monitor then your labour partner should see the contraction coming and say 'NOW"!

I didn't manage to time it properly and by the end it was brain numbingly painful. No pain relief by accident rather than design.

Oh and do hypnobirthing - invaluable for staying calm.

TheLittleFriend Sun 28-Oct-12 20:47:13

Whatever kind of labour you have, you may find yourself going over and over it in your head for days, even weeks after. To the point where it stops you sleeping even though your baby is.

NewFerry Sun 28-Oct-12 20:49:29

Being in water might be really uncomfortable - don't assume anything

And second the disposable knickers, and the maternity pads (lots of them)

And it so worth it, honest, honest, honest.

halloweeneyqueeney Sun 28-Oct-12 20:51:01

yeah can I change mine to do hypnobirthing too! It doesn't mean you are committing to no intervtions and a home water birth, it just helps you to relax and be confident no matter what birth you have

ShushBaby Sun 28-Oct-12 20:52:42

Remember to go for a wee regularly- a full bladder can hold things up (and you might need a catheter before delivery which is fine but not exactly ideal)
Don't stress about tearing, you will not notice it happening and it will heal
Oh, and when you are pushing, it's, er, basically the same as trying really hard to do a poo!

catgirl1976 Sun 28-Oct-12 20:58:48

Ask for an epidural before you think you might need it

It will take them ages to come with it and you can always change your mind - but get that request in early

Also - do not bother packing hair straighteners, rescue rememdy, "special" labour massage oil. I took a huge bag of shite like that - it never saw the light of day smile

Do take slippers - the showers are minging

Smicha Sun 28-Oct-12 21:00:21

Learn to use the gas and air before you really need it! My labour was pretty fast with no real gap between contractions so by the time they'd wheeled out the g&a I was in too much pain to think about how to actually use it!

Everyone and every birth is different. It doesn't matter what your baby does when it all evens out in the end. Trust yourself.

Somersaults Sun 28-Oct-12 21:29:43

You can do it. And, if it's what you want, you can do it without pain relief, but only if you want! You don't have to be a hero.

It will feel like you need the biggest poo of your life, and that's exactly how you need to push.

And it is so worth it. Eyes on the prize. I'm excited for you.

Loftyjen Sun 28-Oct-12 21:56:30

Forget maternity pads & get some Tena Lady pants instead - much more comfy
(their completely padded!) and nil sticking/lifting/chafing.
So glad my MW tipped me off on it wink

melliebobs Sun 28-Oct-12 21:59:27

Stand your ground

crikeybadger Sun 28-Oct-12 21:59:52

Not advice exactly, but I was never told that I might vomit in labour- t'was a bit of a surprise tbh.

My top tip would be to use gravity- stand up as much as you can, and keep active. It really does help the baby go in the right direction.

and finally....it's your labour, take control if you can, ask questions if you don't understand something and check the implications of not doing something if you are unsure about it.

hackneybird Sun 28-Oct-12 22:07:17

It hurts like fuck (unless you have an epidural). You just must remember that it will all end eventually.

marriedinwhite Sun 28-Oct-12 22:12:16

For the first week after your baby is born you need to rest and to be cared for. All you should be doing is feeding your baby, feeding you and sleeping.

Restrict visitors during the first week.

If you are unsure about anything be it: the labour, the baby, or you during those first few days or weeks get a second opinion from a doctor; an experienced local GP, paediatrician or obstetrician. NOT the NCT, NOT a midwife, NOT a health visitor. A DOCTOR.

BeeWi Sun 28-Oct-12 22:18:23

Take something to occupy yourself. It can be really dull (2 days failed induction meant we played lots of scrabble)!

And don't be too hard on yourself if the birth doesn't turn out how you want or expect - my envisaged water birth with calming music and intimate atmosphere turned into an emcs. I beat myself up about it for a couple of months, which was really silly as it was such a brief moment in the grand scheme of things and the end result,of ending up with the best ever little baby imaginable, was the same smile.

Hospital pillows are not comfy. I took a boomerang pillow which helped me get some rest and got dd in a good position to bf. smile
Expect the unexpected.

didireallysaythat Sun 28-Oct-12 22:32:31

Don't over plan.

Accept that you will give birth and the process may not be like the books, the telly or the classes you almost forgot to ask about. I can honestly say that both of mine were absolutely nothing like OBEM and I've never "breathed through" anything (oh and my feet weren't cold, I didn't want a lip salve, and I was quite happy just with water). Oh and if you have a c-section, not everyone needs to take to their beds for 3-4 days. I was up and happy within 12 hours. Of course, you might want to let everyone know that.. And the best bit of advice I ever had was to never tell your MIL your real due date. Add on 3 weeks. Otherwise the last few weeks (and 2-3 weeks after if you go over) are bloody hell - all those phone calls...

Rachel130690 Sun 28-Oct-12 22:33:41

I got disposable knickers and they were shit I wouldn't bother with them. I also listened to people on here saying buy knickers the next size up as you'll need room for pads again this was shit. My knickers kept falling down and I felt worse for them.

Get some comfy pjs for when your in hospital. Also bring a lot more sleep suits for baby than you think you'll need. I was in two nights after baby born and he peed over 3 of them while I got the hang of nappy changing.

Go with flow and if you want it just do it.

MsStaken Sun 28-Oct-12 22:42:25

get the first post-birth poo done as soon as you can. your insides wont fall out (even though you might feel like they will.)

marriedinwhite Sun 28-Oct-12 22:47:56

Pack a clean shirt for your partner. DS was born just after midnight on Xmas day and as he was put into DH's arms passed more meconium than an elephant would have been capable of passing. DH had to go home like that.

AlisonDB Sun 28-Oct-12 22:58:03

My advice would be, Keep an open mind throughout the entire thing and do what makes you more comfortable:

1, you will not get a medal for bravery at the end, if you are in pain accept and ask for pain relief,

2, lip balm during labour is an absolute must

3, dont get embarrassed by anything you say or do (pooh) in labour the MW's have seen it all before

4, If you cant BF dont beat yourself up over it, you will only make yourself unhappy, and an unhappy mummy is not good for baby.

Don't expect too much of yourself post birth. Nobody expects you to be wonder woman. Rest as much a possible!

incognitomama Sun 28-Oct-12 23:18:05

Make sure you have packed a banana or two. They will give you a much needed burst of energy if you start to get physically tired.
Think positively, go into labour with an open mind, thinking 'I can do this'. I had no drugs at all, not even gas and air, just a water pool. I won't lie, it hurt, a lot! But I'd do it all over again. Have faith in yourself and your ability to get through it.

NellyBluth Sun 28-Oct-12 23:26:07

Accept or demand any and all pain relief that you want, or refuse any you don't want. There are no awards handed out for achieving The Most Painful Labour or the World's Longest Labour. Just do what you want to do to get through it. All that matters is having a healthy baby at the end.

Warn your DH/DP you may hit him. Some women want to be held, some women want to be alone. I nearly gave him a black eye when his accidentally put a hand on my shoulder during a contraction.

And ask for Lactulose post-birth, and ask for a suppository if its starting to get bunged up. You do not want constipation after birth!

Signet2012 Sun 28-Oct-12 23:46:09

Don't under estimate how hot the wards are and make sure you have plenty of drinks.

Go in with an open mind and don't pin all your hopes on what you expect. My worst case scenario was an emcs. Guess what I got? And guess what else- I was fine. Up and about 12 hours later would of been earlier but nurses wouldn't remove catheter. Keep an open mind and remember all what matters is healthy baby at the end.

ComradeJing Mon 29-Oct-12 04:55:27

Put a bag of prunes in your hospital bag. Brilliant for the first post birth poo when it feels like your insides will fall out if you push too hard.

My hospital had ice packs for your post birth fanjo. BLISS.

Hyperballad Mon 29-Oct-12 05:22:51

Do hypnobirthing.

The pain has a limit, it won't ever get beyond what your mind and body can take.

When pushing the head out, change your breathing to a very quick pant with each push, it will help you not tear.

If you are sick with gas and air, ask for the injection that stops the nausea.

Make sure your DP knows the baby could come out with a very squashed head, I thought it was commen knowledge. Apparently not. My DP spent the first 20 mins of what should be the most amazing time of his life thinking I had just given birth to an alien!

Oooh, Hyperballad, my OH was exactly the same. He stood there thinking, 'Why isn't anyone saying anything about it?' grin Ds had major bullet head!

Notmyidea Mon 29-Oct-12 08:31:05

trust your instincts over the professionals and be prepared to be stroppy until you are heard. Make sure your birth partner is clear about this, too.

Camelsshouldnteatcrisps Mon 29-Oct-12 08:39:35

I wish I'd known: It's called Labour for a reason, it's bloody hard work, take water to keep hydrated and snacks to keep your energy up.

I was glad that I knew (as described by my friend): You know the worst is over when the head comes out, it is an very painful stinging/stretching splinting feeling. You usually have one more push and the baby is out.

The labour pain vanishes instantly.

Don't take your own towels for you post labour shower/bath, use the hospitals.

NAR4 Mon 29-Oct-12 08:45:20

After birth;
If you don't need to stand, then sit,
if you don't need to sit, then lie down.

Keep off your bottom as much as possible and remain slowly mobile, to help heal things quickly.

Soak some disposable nappy liners in witch hazel (you can buy a bottle from Boots) and then fold the size of a sanitary pad, before freezing. These help sooth things afterwards if you pop them in your knickers.

I was told that each contraction is a wave you ride across to get to your baby on the other side of the sea. This really helped with my first 3, but went completely out the window 4th time round. I think it depends on your state of mind.

Don't have a strict birth plan. Go with the flow and do whatever you feel like at the time, including taking whatever drugs you feel you need. In the long run it doesn't matter if you took every drug going or did it with nothing. It's not a competition and the end result is the same.

I agree with earlier post, that everything will heal and remember most of us do it again.

jubjubbird Mon 29-Oct-12 08:49:08

During labour or after the birth, if you think/feel anything is wrong, no matter how silly you feel or the midwives make you feel, insist on seeing a doctor.

Smudging Mon 29-Oct-12 08:53:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ToManyDicksOnTheDancefloor Mon 29-Oct-12 09:09:21

The pain doesn't disappear as soon as you give birth, if you have the injection to deliver the placenta the contractions continue and are painful! I wish I'd known this, I spent the first 20 mins after giving birth in pain asking 'why am I still in pain?' Don't drink anything with caffeine in during labour e.g. Lucozade, after giving birth you won't be able to sleep even though you'll be exhausted.

SarahAndPercyAndBill Mon 29-Oct-12 09:19:38

Go easy on yourself. I was determined to do it without an epidural and I wish I'd had one earlier. I did loads of preparation in terms of breathing, meditation and yoga - it wasn't enough to help me deliver a huge baby after an induction on its own. If you think you might want an epidural, ask for it early, too.

Totally agree with this from NAR4, probably the most useful single piece of advice you can have!:

"Don't have a strict birth plan. Go with the flow and do whatever you feel like at the time, including taking whatever drugs you feel you need. In the long run it doesn't matter if you took every drug going or did it with nothing. It's not a competition and the end result is the same."

Try not to have expectations, every labour is totally different and you can never tell which way yours will go till it's over - just go with the flow.

Walking lots during the earlier stages is good if you can though!

Be prepared to be a bit pushy (or DH on your behalf) if you need to. I found in both my labours that the MWs were wanting me to stay at home/wanting to send me back home even when I was at the point of thinking "I know I really need to be there now". Was proved right both times - especially the 2nd time, they were trying to park me up in antenatal ward saying "we'll check on you in 4 hours or so" (after almost sending me home), but within 10 minutes of that I was pressing the buzzer and being rushed through to the delivery room to have DD!

browniebear Mon 29-Oct-12 09:26:28

Another one for go to bed for a few days when you get home. If your up and about and dressed visitors will think your fine when actually your exhausted. If your in bed they don't stay as long. Hopefully.
Apologies if that's already been said

Tincletoes Mon 29-Oct-12 09:27:50

Move around and change position as much as you can! I lay down for most of my first baby's labour and having since done it again (twice) I cannot believe I did that - moving around made things so, so much more bearable

And keep an open mind! Epidurals are amazing for pain relief, but equally if you can manage without one then its lovely being able to stand straight away after delivery. You don't know which scenario will be right for you until you are actually doing it.

LaLuce Mon 29-Oct-12 09:44:18

Get them to check your cervix. They told me I wasn't in full labour and I'd know about it when I was. Two days later they sent me in to be induced and I was fully dilated and looking back I think I was fully dilated for a long time as I was telling anyone who would listen how I really needed a poo and felt constipated - no, I needed to push!!!!

laughtergoodmedicine Mon 29-Oct-12 11:52:21

Just take a hard look at the alternatives. SORRY I originally thought this was political. wake up, LGM

fatfloosie Mon 29-Oct-12 12:00:20

Another one here saying hypnobirthing. Brilliant for the positivity about giving birth and the breathing exercises.

All I did was buy the book and practise the sleep breathing (which I still do now when I can't sleep!) and the slow breathing (which stops you fighting the contractions). BIRTH BOAST ALERT!>> Had my first baby at 40 and my partner had her in his arms two hours after I woke him to take me to hospital. (Though to be fair my partner is awful when sleep deprived so I did wake him at the very last possible moment - which is probably another good tip!)

Also second going with the flow and having no expectations. If the pain is not bearable then have some drugs - you are almost definitely (for whatever reason - position of baby, induction, size of your pelvis/baby, back problems) in more pain than mums who managed without, so no need to fret about it or feel a failure.

EugenesAxe Mon 29-Oct-12 12:13:46

Contractions can hurt a lot - although I actually coped with just a little pain relief, the first time I was thinking 'But what if all this pain means I'm really dilated?'. They fobbed me off for six hours saying 'Yes it still sounds as if you are in early labour' - when I went in, nervous about how far on I was, I was just under 3cm. I was in the hospital for 10 hours and I really didn't need to be. BTW my 0-5cm was about 3 times longer than 5-10cm. Don't despair when you've been at it for hours and are only 5cm gone!

Second labour I knew what to expect and stayed in my comfortable home for ages... coming in 8.5cm dilated and just a few contractions off the pushing stage.

I also vomited awfully with the first labour, and the second when it got more serious, and I felt cold and shivery. Take a change of clothes in case you projectile vomit on them like I did and a HW bottle to hold under your bump or on your back. Most people say you want to strip off - you might but don't think it's a given! If you do vomit, drink small sips to avoid dehydration... I didn't eat or drink for about 15hrs first time and my piss looked like earwax at the end. It didn't help with BFing afterwards and the pain of labour is eased if you are hydrated.

chesticles Mon 29-Oct-12 12:18:35

your waters might not be straw coloured. Mine were scarlet and I completely paniced (they went with a massive woosh as well, TV soap style). I had read that your show might tinge your waters, but I was expecting straw coloured, maybe slightly pink, with a few strands of red fibres like the end of your period, sorry if TMI. But when my waters went they were very red. Completely freaked out, and couldn't understand why none of the midwives cared (once I got to hospital). It wasn't until days later someone explained that it was just my show staining my waters.

oscarwilde Mon 29-Oct-12 13:06:48

If it's your first child, when they confirm you are in labour and to take yourself off home, act normally and come back when contractions are 3 mins apart. DONT take this as an opportunity to run around like a loon doing everything you have failed to organise already. Your labour may be a slow burn and not too painful, you could have a day in labour when you could easily be walking the dog, tootling around Sainsburys's etc. Just because you can does not mean it is not a good idea to get some rest for when it all really kicks off.
The bath really helps to dull pain/ease the contractions.
If you are using an iphone app to time your contractions, get your DP to bring a power supply and a charger into the bathroom so you don't run down the phone. At some point you will kick him out to get some sleep while you turn into a prune and it's a royal PITA (literally) to have to get out of the bath to get stuff.
Ask the midwifes what's happening with the baby. I assumed I'd be told if the baby wasn't in the standard "good" position. I wasn't. If I'd known she was back to back, I'd have a) rested more in advance when I had the chance or scrubbed the kitchen floor in a blind panic tried to be much more mobile during the birth.

sieglinde Mon 29-Oct-12 13:50:04

Ask for an epidural if they put you on oxytocin and insist the request is recorded BEFORE THEY START THE DRIP.

GOES DOUBLE IF THEY WANT TO DO AN AMNIOTOMY (BREAKING THE WATERS). (I am shouting deliberately...) Anaesthetists can get busy with emergency C-sections, and then they may tell you you're in transition and it's too late... I put this in my birth plan, in BIG RED LETTERS.

Induced labour really hurts, so don't let anyone make you feel like you are a wuss for this.

Take an iPod and headphones to the ward as other people's babies can scream all night long when you need to sleep. Obs, you have to give them up when your own dc arrives.

Take a bottle of bleach and germ-free wipes. The wards are SINKS of grime. I got a PP infection, just like the one that killed Mary Wollstonecraft.

TashEv Mon 29-Oct-12 13:56:53

This thread is probably the best one so far! I already feel calmer about loads of things.

Sorry I have no advice, I just wanted to show my appreciation! smile

LadyofWinterfell Mon 29-Oct-12 14:00:39

Take in Dextro Energy tablets. I wasn't allowed to eat during labour as i was induced by drip, But i was allowed these as they left my stomach quickly!

They were a godsend and stopped me getting wobbly during labour.

Otherwise, the most valuable bit of advice i was given was to stay mobile as long as possible.

rrreow Mon 29-Oct-12 14:06:03

Don't worry about tearing (didn't feel it at all).
Have the drugs/epidural!

sarcloud Mon 29-Oct-12 14:27:10

hypnobirthing techniques really worked for me. i prepared for a good few months before my baby was due, relaxation techniques, deep breathing exercises etc. you can never be too prepared, even though labour is of course unpredictable, i would encourage anyone to learn relaxation techniques.
when you are advised to take it easy after the birth, take the advice. i went out a week later for a longish walk and had a big bleed which, although nothing serious and all was ok, was very frightening at the time.

have had 4 induced labours. the first was really long, painful and drawn out. the other 3 were back to back, less painful, and much much faster (first 32 hours, other 3 all under 5 hours) ds2 and dd1 were both delivered back to back with gas and air. dd2 turned as she was delivered and again, only gas and air and whole labour under 90 minutes from the first contraction. waters were broken at 4.15pm, oxytocin drip started at 6.15pm, dd2 born at 7.42pm.

cathers Mon 29-Oct-12 14:29:58

Try to trust your body and its instincts. Try to relax and go with the pain rather than against it. It can be a wonderfully empowering experience as your body just kind of knows what to do. I was very fortunately with having relatively painless labours and would rather have dentistry than go through labour!
It can be good - don't assume you will be like lots of the scarey tales you hear.

hamncheese Mon 29-Oct-12 14:32:35

Don't worry about the labour/pain. Seriously. There is NO point. It's going to hurt. It might be a bit upsetting. But it's only a day or two of your life and then you get your baby. Also know all the options etc but don't plan anything, it will not go to plan.

nonameslefttouse Mon 29-Oct-12 14:40:03

A good friend advised me to buy a pack of sponges for after, then when I needed a wee wet one through and wee into the sponge, i remember thinking thats gross i will wee all over my hand, however it was the best advice given!

Eat fibre after and drink plenty sounds awful but toilet needs can be very painful afterwards, keep your motions as watered down as possible!

fannywetleg Mon 29-Oct-12 15:54:21

Labour, what can you say!! It hurts, but the end prize is amazing! However, you feel like you have been kicked up the arse by a donkey for a week or two afterwards!!smile

Wanttostayinbedallday Mon 29-Oct-12 16:09:46

Listen to all advice but remember what worked for some will not necessarily work for you and your baby. You will get to know what it likes and needs. With regards to birth, it could be a long, slow process so stay at home as long as you can if its safe to do so. Sleep, sleep, sleep!

anklebitersmum Mon 29-Oct-12 17:51:22

Waterbirth is brill..should have done it with all 4, not just last one.

Gas and air is grrrrrreat-but you have to start using it at the very first inkling of the contraction and keep breathing it throughout whole contraction (you'll see/feel what I mean when you're there).

Last but definately NOT least is this little gem;

If they ask can the junior midwife monitor you say yes..they come with Mrs "utterly unflappable" Midwife. Trust me, Mrs Unflappable is worth having grin

Lotkinsgonecurly Mon 29-Oct-12 17:59:42

Make sure you're lady garden is suitably trimmed. If you do require an emergency c-section being dry shaved and the regrowth is far worse than anything the operation and post op throws at you.

Xenia Mon 29-Oct-12 20:01:42

Take your own estimate of how long the first labour will be and double or treble it.

I also rather liked hiring a private midwife as I felt more in control but I could not have afforded it for the first few births.

Study legal case law - you can refuse anything. You are in charge. You decide what happens when. Even in labour the law has determined you take the choice. You need do nothing you don't want to do.

SkyBlueSky Mon 29-Oct-12 20:19:26

Lavender gel/oil on the maternity pads really helped me, plus a TENS for early contraction distraction. I remember getting bollocked constantly by the midwives too, which I wasn't prepared for. Yy to comfy slippers and nice pjs. Yy to being prepared to bleed for a good while after birth. That really shocked me. Good luck OP!

LaCiccolina Mon 29-Oct-12 20:23:26

Don't read any books by people with theories on how to bring up kids. They truly don't know more than ur dotty aunt mable. Trust urself above all others. Every time I've worried about something it's because of what someone else said or I read. If I'd done what I thought might b best and just got on with it everything would b smoother...

That and for gawds sake use mumsnet. Saved my sanity on more than many occasions!

lostinwonderland Mon 29-Oct-12 20:36:15

Stop reading mumsnet and go to the movies and stay there until the baby comes!
In fact do anything not remotely baby related and dress is large baggy clothes so you don't have to have those pre baby conversations with strangers who then tell you their terrible story!

LaCiccolina Mon 29-Oct-12 20:40:45

Argh the worst! The lack of dignity! Nurses randomly grabbing ur knickers to view ur pad. Still gives me chills!

easytiger12 Mon 29-Oct-12 20:44:22

1. If it's possible, don't tell anyone you're in labour. Mine started around 10pm then DS was born around 6am. The hour we then spent with him as the only people who knew he had been born was beautiful, and making the "guess what happened last night..." phonecalls was so fun!
2. Shout, scream and swear if it helps; no-one minds!
3. I know everyone says you should kind of 'hibernate' for a week or so after birth and limit visitors, but we had a constant stream of visitors and even did a BBQ for 10 when DS was only 5 days old and personally, I absolutely loved the celebratory air around the house and sharing the joy with people I cared about and who cared about us

EugenesAxe Mon 29-Oct-12 21:33:25

Oh yes - if you tear (I second that you don't feel much at all at the time), do make sure you do pelvic floor pulling up exercises. Also dab on a saltwater wash with every wee.

The exercises get oxygen to the wound and really help with the healing.

ChocChipCookieMuncher Mon 29-Oct-12 21:35:36

Take in a familiar duvet cover or similar from home (probably not a white one!) to put over the bed/beanbag/floor (wherever you are birthing)
This was a tip someone gave me and it did help. Much nicer as I was bearing down leaning my head and face against a hospital plastic beanbag to have something that looked and smelt more familiar and homely than hospital plastic!

sleepneeded Mon 29-Oct-12 23:22:31

Love some of these tips.

Before labour:

-Rest, eat, sleep and chill out.
-Try get house as ready as it can be for the new baby.
-Educate yourself about pain relief and labour but plan for a positive experience.
-Get your partner to be your advocate and talk through your birth plan.
- Pack your hospital bag - i would avoid disposable underpants and just buy a bag or two or primark or cheap cotton packs from M&S

When in labour:
In early stages, rest but stay mobile as others have said stay at home as long as you can do so.

If going to hospital:
-Remember your contractions may slow going to hospital or a different environment for a bit - so this is to be expected.
-No need to be fobbed off by staff telling you you are a first timer, but try avoid going into hospital until contractions are regular and close together.
-Expect pain but remember you do get (hopefully) a break between contractions. As made as it sounds try to enjoy the time in between contractions.
- Try make the environment work for you. The labour room, the staff, the pool - it is all there for you!
- If you have relaxation music take it.
- Take lots of fluids/ drinks.
- Don't listen to scare or war stories.

Positive Affirmations:
- Tell yourself you can do it - and think through some positive affirmations.
- I remember a friend just wishing me a safe yet quick labour and assuring me that I and my baby was safe and well - and it helped me as it was one of the last comments I had before labour started and it was positive and lovely comment.
- Another friend just happened to tell me that I'd be fine no matter what.
- Your body is amazing it really is - you deliver your baby!
- Don't be afraid to vocalise through the pain if that helps you!

Post birth tips:
- If you can have the baby to cuddle straight after then do it! Don't let those first precious moments be taken by medical staff (if at all possible).
- Rest after the birth.
- Get help with breastfeeding, proper help. And use that cream - lanisoh? Drink lots of fluids after birth.
- Try get your house sorted so you are not doing housework etc when you get home but if not just concentrate on you and the baby.
- Really cherish the first few weeks with your new born - try phone off the hook and for you and your partner to muddle through if possible.
- Post baby blues might be a rush of hormones that can make you feel down but that is to be expected and may be coupled with an overwhelming sense of responsibility - but again that is expected. (Obviously if you need help get it - or are feeling overwhelmed then get help).

GOOD LUCK!

sleepneeded Mon 29-Oct-12 23:23:12

Oh.. and do your pelvic floor exercises!!!!!

stargirl1701 Mon 29-Oct-12 23:25:37

Make sure the midwife has plenty of local anaesthetic if you need stitches.

Being stitched after it stopped working was worse than the labour and birth by a factor of a million! sad

DingDongBelle Tue 30-Oct-12 01:19:33

Best piece of advice I was given was a very practical friend. She told me that yes, it hurts, but unlike the pain of, say, a severed leg, it's good pain, and it's supposed to hurt. It's ok and you don't need to panic. Each contraction seemed easier knowing that, yes it was painful, but I could cope because it was SUPPOSED to feel that way. Somehow that helped me, psychologically.

Lavender oil in the bath every day if you have stitches. I loved that.

A midwife gave me a jug and when I needed to pee, I filled it with warm water and poured it over my bits as I went, to dilute the pee. Stings much less. I like the sponge idea too.

Travel light. I had so much crap with me and I barely used any of it. But do take a little basic make up bag and a hairbrush if you are a makeup girl like me; there will be lots of photos and next time I want to look vaguely like me in them!

Otherwise; eat when you can. Sleep if you can. Breathe deep and slow (until the ring of fire when you need to do the opposite) and listen to your body, it knows what to do. Good luck!!

DingDongBelle Tue 30-Oct-12 01:21:35

Oh, and you can breastfeed lying down. I really struggled until a great mw told me this. It's SO much easier, for you (both hands free) and baby (more wiggle room) and you are automatically more relaxed. I LOVED this and it made it seem more doable smile

Yika Tue 30-Oct-12 06:39:59

Oh YYY to breast feeding lying down. I found BF such a nightmare at first. But this really helped. If I were doing it again I would cosleep from the word go.

Shagmundfreud Tue 30-Oct-12 06:41:14

If you are going to a busy consultant led unit to give birth, consider taking your mum, sister, friend, doula or hiring a private midwife. Any woman you feel comfortable with who's had a baby herself AND IS NOT SCARED!

NICE guidelines point out that doing this reduces the likelihood of an emergency cs.

And don't close your mind to the idea of having a student midwife if you're offered. They are generally fantastic.

Smicha Tue 30-Oct-12 08:28:59

I'd second the advice to say yes to a student midwife, especially if you ars good at earwigging on conversations, as they discuss everything so there's no danger of one midwife doing things or making observations without you realising it. I also found it really nice to know I was helping someone get their qualification. And she was lovely!

And don't worry about your hospital bag - my advice now I've gone through it is take a tens machine, a banana, a water bottle and some bendy straws. Those are the only things I used when in labour and wish I had filled the bag with more baby clothes (little boys wee in funny directions, took me a few days to learn that) and less of my crap.

MsStaken Tue 30-Oct-12 10:23:53

My student midwife was brilliant. Got her the second time when she was qualified and she was brilliant then. Plus dc1 was her 40th delivery so she remembered us, it was lovely.

sieglinde Tue 30-Oct-12 11:16:58

YYYY to bf lying on your side. Saved my reason. Old attachment tricks like skin-to-skin contact really helped bonding and milk letdown - I am one of those who find it needs work to build a big supply.

Kopparbergkate Tue 30-Oct-12 12:18:48

When you start feeling contractions, if it's the middle of the night, do NOT think "I must remain mobile at all costs" and start pacing the house. FGS try and rest - you'll be knackered later otherwise!

rrreow Tue 30-Oct-12 12:30:46

Oh also a tip a friend gave me, that I'm sooo happy she did rather than thinking it's too weird to give that advice:

If you have stitches, afterwards if you need to go for a poo, either use a wadge of toilet paper or a clean maternity/sanitary pad to press against the area while you go.

sieglinde Wed 31-Oct-12 15:10:27

Yes, and on the subject of poo, DON'T have the enema. They mostly don't offer it anymore.

The gloop they give you afterwards as a laxative is IMHO totally unnecessary. rreow's advice is brilliant. But the incessant harangues you get about poo are just weird - that and the ludicrous probing into when you resume sex, which is really just an effort to ask if you have a fistula.

FrightRunScream Wed 31-Oct-12 19:34:25

A student midwife saved DS's life (I think). Anyway, it was her who questioned his position when mw gave me an exam and said "ooh he's git his hands on his head" and left. Student got scan machine, found previously undiagnosed footling breech ans mobilised consultant.

DingDongBelle Wed 31-Oct-12 23:06:05

Later discovered that an added advantage to bf-ing on your side was you could mumsnet on your phone drink, eat etc while doing it. Saved my sanity.

YYY to the poo thing. Holding a pad on your stitches when you go was really helpful. A friend of mine said she did her first couple of poos post- delivery while in the bath but I wasn't brave enough grin

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