To feel I've been sold lies on natural birth when reality is v different(442 Posts)
Hi All, 37 weeks pregnant and very excited about the birth until last week. Final scan revealed baby is already big...could be 9lb at 40 weeks and he's in 75th percentile so definitely at larger end. I'm 5'4", size 10 usually so not particularly large.
Done hypnobirthing, NCT classes and been insistent on natural birth with no pain relief - I've been very gung ho and complacent and now reality is kicking in - I'm expecting a large baby so tears and cuts may be more likely. Feel like I've been sold lies about the ease of having unassisted natural birth when the practical reality is different - all my friends who wanted natural births ended having emergency c sections and assisted painful deliveries.
Have I been sold some nonsense to believe that I can be superwoman and have an easy pain free natural delivery because my mind will overcome any fear? What's the reality of this? Feeling like I've been arrogant to think I could be different from most women out there and have this big baby easily. I've been dutifully doing all the perineal massage / vaginal stretching wondering what the point is when I'll be trying to push a huge baby through a tiny gap.
It's not a "tiny gap" when the baby is ready to come out - you realise labour is reading your fanjo for the baby to be pushed out? I think statistically "most women" have a vaginal birth. Of course you haven't been sold lies but for what it's worth it's a good idea to go in with an open mind and see how things progress. Gas and air might take the edge off along with hypnobirth. You're having a wobble and that's okay, birth is a great unknown!
I don't think there is any definitive answer to this. Everyone has a different experience of birth, in terms of pain levels, complications, tearing etc. IMO it's really important not to get too fixated on the idea of a particular birth 'experience' and instead focus on the end point - baby out safely and you both healthy.
I've been where you are with the large baby thing and it feels scary. But I also know people who ended up with a c-section with a five pounder and others who gave birth with no tearing with a 10lb+ baby.
I totally understand your fears but try to keep an open mind about pain relief and practice breathing and relaxation techniques.
Fwiw benefits of perineal massage is unproven. Just rest up!
PS hypnobirthing is great - it gives you 'tools' to cope, so you are going in well armed. I used hypnobirthing with DC2 and it was still a very painful experience for me but much better than doing it without the first time round. I know of people who had a comparatively pain free experience with hypnobirthing too.
Frankly anyone who's told you that natural, unassisted birth is "easy" is lying.
If it was easy there wouldnt be any need for midwives, giving birth in a hospital wouldn't be a thing, and nobody would have invented pain relief etc.
However, while birth can't usually be described as "easy" (particularly the first time!), You have to bear in mind it's how it was designed to happen, and women have been doing it for as long as women have been invented.
Diagnosis: easy, no. Realistically achievable, yes.
You don't have to decide how 'natural' you want your birth now. You can choose your pain relief once you're in labour and you know how it's going. But birth is really unpredictable so don't get too hung up on either having the perfect birth or on how awful it could be
Both my babies have been over 9lb. I've had them both naturally and used hypno birthing and water birth with my second. My second was much better and the water/hypno birthing helped massively. I had no pain relief with the second but used gas and air with the first. I had a small tear with both but nothing major, likely wouldn't have happened but both my babies came out sideways (awkward girls lol). Will your labour be pain free, no, it does hurt having a baby. Will the hypno birthing make it more manageable, in my experience, Yes a lot more.
Hope everything goes well for you and good luck x
Every labour is different. No one can prepare for it because no one can predict what is going to happen.
All you can do is relax and go with whatever happens.
If it males you feel better, I had a 10lb baby with just gas and air and no tearing. Have you thought about a water birth? My sister had one and said she barely noticed the pain
I've had 3, 2 vaginal and 1 cs. 1 of the vaginal was back to back, 12 hours, epidural and very painful. 1 was 1 hour 20, no pain relief at all and really didn't hurt apart from the burn when crowning.
I had 2x 3rd degree tears hence why my last birth was EL CS, the tears were annoying and obviously I'd rather not but not at all as bad as I would have thought before having children.
My babies were all 8-9 lbs and I'm petite.
You don't know what you are going to get and once you are in labour you will know if you need pain relief. Honestly you've done everything you can to prepare for a natural birth so really there's nothing else to do but worry and that definitely won't influence the outcome! Just try not to think too much about it.
As long as you and baby are both healthy afterwards that's the main thing.
You're having a baby. It will come out, one way or the other. Rather than insisting you will be better than all of those other women you know, just keep an open mind.
Who knows? You might pop the baby out quickly with no pain relief, no tearing and wonder what all the fuss was about. Or you may require some intervention. A natural, drug free birth is not the be all and end all. It's a few hours out of the rest of your life in which you will be a parent.
The growth scans aren't usually that accurate, they can be out by a few pounds and I'm sure a few people will come along and share their experiences of this.
Every birth is different and I know people that have had perfect births. I know how you feel as mine was awful but it couldn't have been helped by any amount of hypno birthing. It's normal to worry about giving birth at this stage too. It's not a tiny gap though because it dilates to 10 cm.
I would just say use what you have learned in the courses but be open minded. There's no medal for a pain relief free birth and doesn't make you a worse mother if you take medicine. No one has a tooth out or normal stitches/medical procedure without pain relief so I really don't see why there's such a big hoo haa about pain relief in labour.
I don't believe that anyone actually told you you could have a pain free natural delivery. The only pain free VB is by epidural but even then you'd probably need to go through significant (but endurable) amounts of pain before you reached a stage where the hospital would give you one. Some people say it's a good pain, and a very few people genuinely claim that they didn't feel pain in the conventional sense, but I've never seen anyone claim that that's an outcome achievable for everyone.
However, yes IMO the NCT can skate over the aspect of how much it really fucking hurts. At my NCT class we had a fairly slanted presentation on the pros and cons of CS. Long long list of cons and how scary and medicalised and unnatural it was.
"And can anyone think of any positive aspects of CS?"
Unikitty, keenly "No pain?"
"Yes there's no pain, so that's only one advantage against all this big list of disadvantages"
Unikitty "But it is a really really big advantage"
Teacher, reluctantly "yes, OK not being in pain is a good thing"
(You'll notice that the safety of the baby and the likelihood of maternal birth injury did not feature at all in this exchange).
Best of luck for a successful birth with a manageable amount of pain and a gorgeous newborn to cuddle real soon now.
I don't think you have been sold lies, but birth is massively unpredictable and what will be on the day, is anyone's guess.
I had great birth experiences with both of my DC,despite one being back to back. A friend of mine is a dot and a size 6 on a good day - she has had almost 10lb-ers and managed fine on them.
The only prep I did before birth was throwing raspberry leaf capsules down my neck a several times a day. I'm convinced they did something as my second stage was 40 and 10mins respectively.
i had a 9lb naturally and it was as described - your body does tell you what to do and I didn't have any pain relief. Very different to my other births.. BUT just go in with a mindset that what really matters is your baby being born in the safest way possible. It is totally impossible to imagine what giving birth is like until you do it. Good luck!
I thought you had already given birth when I read the thread title.
You're in a good place if you're aware of the possibilities. Every one give birth differently and educating yourself about potential outcomes and being informed really helps.
Oh, and threads like these help too. Good luck
Don't pay too much attention to the measurements on the scans, my 'large' baby was 7lb 12oz. Both of mine had heads measuring on 90th centile and popped out easily enough (small tear but nothing major). I think there's a big portion of luck involved (position of baby, your body shape etc) but I do believe your attitude and mindset helps, so focus on your hypnobirthing etc but be open to going with the flow and using pain relief if it becomes necessary.
I think it's very unusual to have had all your friends requiring assistance and emcs so don't focus on that.
I think it is just down to luck really I've had 2 births no pain relief and 2 with gas and air.
Just go with whatever happens during the birth. Keep an open mind.
I felt like this op. I did NCT. My sister and mum both had lovely natural experiences, no pain relief or complications. I had high blood pressure, PET and a failed induction after nearly a week of being in hospital.
All I can say is that 15 weeks on to me it it doesn't matter anymore.
Yanbu to feel cheated though because I did-just go with whatever happens and ask for whatever pain relief you need.
Just keep an open mind. I have a very high pain threshold and couldn't cope very well at all so had an epidural with both mine. The first was full epidural which meant I couldn't walk afterwards which was annoying. For my second the same hospital were using mobile epidural which was fab. Took 80% of the pain but kept full mobility so I could move about during labour and get up straight after birth. Have a chat with your midwife who may be a bit more open about what's available in your hospital.
I've had three babies. No labour was 'pain-free' but all were manageable. I had no pain relief beyond gas and air. Two were over 9lbs. It IS luck - people's labour experiences are wildly different. I would say it's unhelpful for any antenatal class not to prepare you for a variety of birth scenarios. My NCT teacher did a whole session on C-sections, pain relief and assisted delivery. My hypnobirthing teacher talked about ways to use the techniques if labour got complicated. It shouldn't be taught that you can avoid all complications simply through strength of will.
BUT it is undeniable that the more you feel in control during labour, the happier you will feel at the end, however it pans out. And knowledge and techniques assist you in that. Hypnobirthing's positive message is really important in holding back fear, which can actively inhibit labour. I found that thinking of contractions purely as muscle energy really helped stop them feeling overwhelming, for example. Friends of mine who have had sections after doing hypnobirthing felt very content about the way their birth had gone because they understood what had happened.
Also, don't let yourself get scared by scans. I was told my baby would be 10lbs minimum and she was just 9lbs 1oz. They are notoriously unreliable. Bigger baby does not equal difficult birth automatically. It just raises slightly the risks of things being a bit trickier, eg shoulder dystocia.
Fwiw my DS was 8lb 11 so not far off 9lbs, I'm 5ft 5 and a size 6. No pain relief and no tearing. It wasn't painless but in amazed you expected it could be...?!
There are strategies for coping with pain (whether or not that involves chemical pain relief will be entirely down to you at the time), but as a pp said, of these, only an epidural will make it virtually 'pain free'.
Pain is also down to personal perception and tolerance.
Fundamentally though, delivering a baby safely to ensure the health of both baby and mother is really what you are hoping to achieve, everything else is relatively irrelevant.
Ps. You should also remember that a lot of people make a lot of money telling us how to give birth, but ultimately you are the only one who can do it!
Hello OP, I used to be a midwife (been a while now) but helped around 700 women give birth and been present at many more.
You haven't been sold a lie, for a majority of women birth is still vaginal delivery. I have seen women give birth to 12lb babies (okay only two in my time) successfully and others needing emergency caesareans for 6lb little darlings who are just not coming out of the front door but prefer the ceiling.
It is quite possible that your baby will be born vaginally with no issues but equally a sizeable minority of women need some help.
I would say keep all your options open with regard to what you want. If you plan on little pain relief then go with that but don't be afraid to change your mind if you want and need to. Nobody will judge you for doing that...and don't judge yourself either if you need it. Please please whatever happens don't judge yourself and criticise yourself if it doesn't go as planned. Giving birth is physically hard work and you need to celebrate that your body grew and gave birth to that amazing baby...no matter how the birth goes.
The verdict on perineal massage is an open one tbh...some women swear by it and personally I don't feel there is any harm in trying everything to make birth as easy as you can.
Wishing you all the best for the birth. Please feedback in this thread when you've done it.
and for you while you wait.
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