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Giving birth for the first time..what to expect?

(26 Posts)
Lou0219 Wed 13-Mar-19 20:10:14

Hi guys due very soon, I’m so nervous/scared/terrified In fact. I am going to be having a water birth and I just don’t know what to expect. Can anybody reassure me or give me your own stories? Thanks xx

user1471426142 Wed 13-Mar-19 22:42:49

I would say be flexible in terms of how things might go. I was ‘going to be having a water birth’ too until I couldn’t. You can still have a positive birth if things don’t go to plan but some of that is about being able to ask questions and be confident about making decisions based on information. Things can change so quickly and I was far too fixated on having a particular type of birth. The most important thing is the baby at the end.

Lumene Wed 13-Mar-19 22:50:25

Expect the unexpected. I was having a waterbirth but ended up with an EMCS instead. I did a hypnobirthing CD that really helped keep calm. It was an odd birth experience but I was never in too much physical pain and it all turned out ok in the end. I had a doula which made a huge difference to me psychologically, especially given the way the birth turned out.

ispepsiok Wed 13-Mar-19 22:53:10

Expect a baby - everything in the lead up is quite prone to change. You might make plans, but unfortunately babies aren't known for following directions!

reallyanotherone Wed 13-Mar-19 22:56:39

What they said. Don’t have any fixed ideas about what you want.

As for what to expect, anything from a quick straightforward vaginal birth with no tearing to an EMCS. And everything in between.

katmarie Wed 13-Mar-19 23:02:00

Be ready to go with the flow. My 'calm and relaxing water birth' turned into three days of early labour, a distressed baby, oxytocin and a 12 hour epidural. Not what I wanted at all, bloody hard work, and could have been very traumatising. But I had a fantastic birth, and would do it all over again, and a lot of that is down to the fact I was open minded about how it was going to go, and about what pain relief I was going to take, plus I had amazing people around me. Try not to be wedded too much to absolutes in your birth plan, but equally make sure your birth partner and you are both clear on what your absolutes are if there are any.

bakingdemon Wed 13-Mar-19 23:02:17

I did everything from TENS to gas and air up to EMCS over 20+ hours. Based on my experience I would say:
- be prepared to ditch all your plans if that's what you and the baby need, but I hope you get the water birth you want
- talk it through with your birthing partners so they know what you want - by the time I was being prepped for an epidural (which I ended up not having because EMCS was needed), I was so out of it that my DH was making all the decisions, and I trusted him to do so
- have a nice playlist of music to listen to and take a portable speaker if you have one
- have plenty of snacks! I found oatcakes particularly delicious at several points, as well as grapes. One of my fondest memories of labour is of DH feeding me an ice lolly while I was in the shower smile
- try not to get too bogged down in worry. You won't able to relax exactly, but lean into it, listen to your body and give yourself up to the baby (this sounds quite hippy dippy and isn't very well expressed but I hope you get what I mean!)

MrsXx4 Wed 13-Mar-19 23:02:21

Don’t pin all hopes on that birth plan! I wanted a water birth, I had a birthing pool but failed to progress in the water after contracting in it for 5 hours, I ended up having my baby in an emergency situation because the midwife couldn’t properly examine me while I was in the water.

However, giving birth was the single most amazing thing I have ever done in my life!! The contractions hurt far worse than the pushing stage (in my opinion) but then because of the emergency situation my mind really wasn’t on the pain it was just on getting him out safely! I honestly didn’t think giving birth was as bad as I had built up in my mind! My baby is 10 weeks old now and I’m ready to do it all over again!

Nuvanewname Wed 13-Mar-19 23:14:30

I'd say don't expect anything. It just happens how it happens. I didn't even bother filling in the birth plan bit in the blue book because I thought there'd be no point as you can't always plan how these things will go.
All id say is prepare for things you might not expect like EMCS, but hope it goes smoothly.

Frizzy1986 Thu 14-Mar-19 07:03:45

Try not to worry too much. It's amazing how something takes over you and you do seem to cope with things you never thought you'd be able to. I'm very bad with pain (dh laughs at how much of a wimp I am) but I survived with gas and air somehow.

I had a birth plan written down as it helped me to have an idea of how I wanted things to go and so that dh knew my wishes. The final line of it was "but do anything you have to do to get me and baby out safely" as at the end of the day if things didn't go to plan that was more important than anything.

I was lucky and had a water birth at a midwife led unit. It was fast though. First child and I only knew for sure that is was Labour when my waters went. Dd was out less than 2 hours later and I ended up with a 3rd degree tear as when they told me I could push if I wanted to, I went hell for leather. This time I'm asking for more guidance at this stage.
I ended up being transfered to hospital for surgery, spent a night on the ward and didn't quite make it home for Xmas dinner. It was not how I planned it, but still a good experience on the whole.
Just remember that even people who have awful experiences do it again (I know quite a few) so what you get at the end is bloody worth it. You'll be able to cope with more than you think, have an idea of what you'd like but be comfortable to do what's necessary to get through it safely.

TwittleBee Thu 14-Mar-19 07:11:58

My plan was a water birth too, had my birth plan all jotted down and certainly didn't want an epidural, no assisted delivery and certainly not to be induced. Ended up having all of that due to birth not going how I thought it would.

So be flexible, know all your options and possible outcomes and accept that no matter what happens you're not a failure if it didn't go to your 1st plan. Birth is unpredictable

Spiderbanana Thu 14-Mar-19 07:14:59

I have 3 DCs and have never made a birth plan wink

Don't allow your expections to make things harder for you.
If you want a drug-free water birth and change your mind half way through, take the drugs!

Ccec Thu 14-Mar-19 09:15:39

I agree with all of the above.
My main worry was about how i would know how to push in that area (and not end up pushing out a poo! lol) but in the end your body naturally knows what it is doing which is hard to understand now but will completely make sense when you are going through it.
I never made a birth plan, infact years on when i was reading back a pregnancy diary that had a section on how i wanted my birth to be i'd just written, anything to get him out safely. That's the only important thing that matters however your labour turns out to be.
Also agree with one of the above posts about contractions being worse than the actual labour part, i had no idea contractions are very similar to extreme period pain (at least they were for me) and for me period pain is a horrible pain. The pushing part is a walk in the park after that smile

sh13 Thu 14-Mar-19 20:27:25

This is great advice to read !! So contractions feel like strong period pain ? I think not knowing how painful contractions are is what scares me 😯

shiningstar2 Thu 14-Mar-19 20:38:10

Listen to your body and your midwife. If/when you need painkillers ask/expect to get what you need. There is no right or wrong way to give birth. As other's have said, have a plan and be prepared to changed. Nothing beats the euphoria of holding your beautiful baby for the first time. Good luck op.

LondonKate Fri 15-Mar-19 00:09:09

I genuinely enjoyed birth - I felt good about at the time and still feel positive about it years later. I think marathon running is a good analogy - it is tiring and long and there are times when you want it to end. But... It feels powerful too. I was surprised by the biology of it - I made noises and got into different positions during contractions without thinking about it, pushing is a reflex like breathing. Overall, your body knows what to do and your job is to let it - like surfing on a big ocean wave - you can't control the ocean you are just there for the rise. If anything isn't going to plan there are midwives and doctors and all sorts. I had a patch where I started worrying about my progress and it made it so much harder. My experience was that let the professionals do the worrying and to just be in the moment then it was all okay. I felt real closeness to my partner. By the stats my labour was very average - 14 hrs (9 in established labour), longish pushing (just over 2 hours.... It was getting a bit long but no one was too worried). In terms of interventions I used gas and air and had an episiotomy.

hiccupgate Fri 15-Mar-19 08:08:28

I was furious to learn once in labour, that it felt nothing like period pain, but for some that may well be what it feels like. I had a back labour, mind. I wanted an active birth at an FMU, ended up on continuous monitoring on the labour ward at the main hospital. So what everyone else said... have an idea how you might like it to go but understand that it might not. My personal advice, though it won't work for everyone, is to focus on movement and breathing. Your body knows what it is doing so you can and will cope brilliantly. Good luck!

HoustonBess Fri 15-Mar-19 10:14:43

Mumsnet! Not a very helpful pic to use to illustrate this thread on the main page - woman in pain reclining in bed with monitors strapped on... I know that's what happens often but it shouldn't be the default...

OP think of it as birth preferences not a birth plan. Work out what you might want in different eventualities, including things like preferences for c-section and pain relief even if you hope you won't need them.

Birth is on a continuum with other reproductive things like sex and periods - you can't tell how your body will respond until it happens to you. But like those things, what you need most is loving, supportive people, to understand what's happening to you and trust in your body's ability to cope.

If you're that worried I'd give hypnobirthing a try. If we expect things to be terrible, we're more likely to experience them that way.

Woolly17 Fri 15-Mar-19 10:28:37

I had an unexpected water birth. I wasn't planning on it but I got in to try and help me relax and deal with the contractions (I was a bit too far along for pethidine). My husband says it was only about 10mins after I got in that I was fully dilated and then there was crowning it was too late to get back out.

I've got nothing to compare it to but I think I'll go for the pool again this time. But it all passed in a bit of a blur. I just remember saying no a lot, bellowing wordlessly in my husbands face and feeling a bit put out when the midwife told me the next bit would "sting a bit" (not the right word).

It was a fast birth and pretty uneventful.
We went in having said yes to everything (all the painkillers and interventions) and ended up in the water with nothing else. This time I'm hoping for a similar result. We'll say yes to everything but with the caveat that I deal very badly with opiates and hope for another easy birth.

There's no predicting what's going to happen but if your mum and grandmothers are around ask them how it went for them. Given the family history of fast births in my family I should have expected it. This time the bag and car will be packed and ready from week 37and we're going straight to hospital the minute my waters go.

Dreamzcancometrue Fri 15-Mar-19 10:33:32

I second what people say about contractions being far worse than the actual pushing. Dont worry it isn't that bad. Just think you'll have a lovely baby at the end of it.

Dukemamma Fri 15-Mar-19 10:49:49

How many breastfeeding mummy’s found it difficult to transition to bottle?

NorthernRunner Fri 15-Mar-19 10:54:15

My birth took me by surprise (stupid I know!) but I had to be suddenly induced at 38weeks, so I went from working to being in a hospital bed.

Everything was fine, a bit long, but totally fine.

Pack snacks and scrabble are my two pieces of advice.
Try not to get stressed out, you will have a baby by the end of it. X

Lou0219 Fri 15-Mar-19 19:18:38

Wow!! Thank you all so much for your advice. I really appreciate it. I haven’t got long left now I will look into hypnobirthing and I’ll take all of your advice and not rule out any pain relief and of course as long as our baby is healthy that’s all I care about. Thank you again guys smile

NottonightJosepheen Fri 15-Mar-19 19:37:46

What I said to friends who asked me was - It didn't hurt my vagina, my back and uterus, yes but I always crossed my legs involuntarily at the mere thought of childbirth. I wish I had known that before.

The thought of vaginal pain really caused trepidation. Somehow, back pain and uterine contractions are more manageable, similar to period pain but more painful, but recognisable, just worse.

And when it came to the baby coming out, he just slipped out. How the hell that happens without agonising pain, I don't know. We women are amazing.

Another thing that helped me is the thought that women have given birth with no conscious effort on their part (in a coma), the uterus contractions expels the baby out. We are designed to give birth.Our bodies really try to help us.

But, having said that, it is still very much chance as to how a labour progresses so nobody can predict a birth. There is no right way. One has to be accepting of all types of birth and not be tied to an idea of an 'ideal birth'. When it comes to childbirth, all births are a part of the universal experience.

snoopy18 Fri 15-Mar-19 19:47:40

I just had my first last Friday and had an amazing experience - I’d say focus on your mindset around labour and birth and the rest of it will fall into place no matter what type of birth you have. Anything can happen during the labour which can change from your birth plan.

Would highly recommend the positive birth company digital pack if you’re into mindset and breathing techniques for labour / delivery.

Also your birth partner to be on the same
Page as you as there will be parts of the labour and birth where you’re not fully with it and your birth partner needs to back your corner ie pain relief or any other decisions that need making

Roxyxoxo Fri 15-Mar-19 19:49:48

I was also terrified, to the point I think I was in denial and avoided reading/watching anything to do with birth! But when the time came I felt surprisingly calm, and I remember thinking my body knew how to grow this little human, it will know how to do the rest. I opted for a water birth too, although started off with my TENS machine at home before going into hospital, and a hot water bottle which despite being a wimp with pain was okay- and paracetamol every 4 hours. When I got to the hospital I was 3cms and they said I could go home or stay, I stayed and it wasn’t long before I was getting into the water and bobbing about which was really relaxing and helped with the discomfort; but you do have to get out for examinations at points which isn’t as good! Take a nice big towel as they have some but they’re not usually great and going from a lovely warm tub to the outside in a tiny towel didn’t help. It didn’t go to plan in honesty, but it was nothing to do with the water and even though it should have been scary I felt calm (I’m guessing it was the hormones or adrenaline or something as I’m not overly brave)! I would say your birth partner will support you, don’t be afraid to say what you need and to tell the midwives how you are feeling and if you have any worries. I would do it all again.

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