"You will definitely stick to your birth plan" and 7 other myths about giving birth

Woman giving birth

Childbirth: it's all breathing and Rescue Remedy, right? Turns out – not so much. We asked Mumsnetters what were their biggest misconceptions about giving birth before they embarked on it themselves. If you're new to this whole labour and baby lark, the answers may surprise you

MYTH: You will stick to your birth plan, come hell or high water

Please

TRUTH: “Your natural birth with zero pain relief may well fly out the window.”

MYTH: Your carefully planned post-birth outfit will guarantee you'll look great in all the photos

On Wednesdays, we wear pink

TRUTH: “It'll get ripped off and swapped for a baggy t-shirt in minutes.”

MYTH: You will naturally get the urge to push when your body's ready

Close your legs

TRUTH: “You will certainly get a 'feeling' when fully dilated (if you have not had an epidurual) but blind panic and terror meant that I fought against that (slamming my legs together and refusing to open my thighs).”

MYTH: Induction will inevitably be terribly painful

Angelina Jolie shrugs

TRUTH: “I was frightened, and I didn't need to be. An epidural didn't mean I had lost control, it gave me control and dignity. I'd be delighted to have an induction again!”

MYTH: First babies are invariably late

pregnant woman packs suitcase

TRUTH: “If I could go back to the day before my waters went, I would tell myself to call in sick to work, pack a hospital bag and buy some tiny baby clothes.”

MYTH: Once the baby's out, naturally the pain will cease

This may hurt a little

TRUTH: “Oh my god, the afterpains were excruciating and literally debilitating for the first few weeks. Labour paled in comparison. Having birthed a back-to-back baby at home naturally, I took all the drugs under the sun for the first few weeks!”

MYTH: It's of vital importance to prepare a playlist of relaxing music in advance

Leave me alone

TRUTH “Turns out I want silence, darkness and to be left alone!”

MYTH: If things don't go according to your birth plan, you'll feel awful

Spinning woman

TRUTH “After an induction and ventouse delivery with failed epidural and spinal anaesthetic I didn't give a monkeys. The birth is a process, it's every day after that one that actually matters.”