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Childbirth Myths To Be Wary Of

When it comes to women and childbirth, myths and old wives’ tales have always been a-plenty! What’s worse, as time goes by, new myths come along… Here are some of the popular ones, of old and new.

A new mum will instantly bond with her baby

In many, many cases, this is true but not all childbirth experiences are identical. Extreme fatigue due to a long labor or a difficult birth may bring about a ‘delayed response’ for a number of new mums when it comes to the feeling of new mum’s euphoria or bonding with the new baby. Some women even undergo an initial experience of uncertain emotions, which when left unnoticed, may develop into negative postpartum moods or disorder which may require professional help to overcome. For others, a deep connection with their babies just takes a bit more time than others.

Breastfeeding comes naturally to all new mums

Perhaps it should be, but it’s not. Be it nipple pain, over or under production of milk, or difficulty in getting the baby to latch on, many new mums go through significant challenges, especially at the initial stages of breast feeding. Working with a lactation consultant can be valuable for many of these women. For some of these women, the challenges will prove too much to bear and they end up with the decision to formula feed. At the end of the day, it’s what works best for a mum and her baby that really matters.

More babies are born during a full moon

This sounds very sci-fi but surprisingly, it’s a myth that even circulates within the medical community, says Vincenzo Berghella, MD, director of maternal-fetal medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. “I’ve had particularly busy days when the moon was full,” he says. But, in reality, it’s no more than a coincidence. “When researchers looked at a few years’ worth of full moons compared with other days, there was no significant increase in births.”

Your water will break when you are in labor

Some women expect that their water will break and it will be just like what they’ve seen in the movies. Some don’t even take their contractions seriously because they are waiting for their water to break. The truth is, sometimes the amniotic fluid comes out in a big gush, and sometimes it does in trickles and sometimes it does not at all! A doctor may even need to “break” your water during labor if it is not progressing as it should. So, if your due date is nearing, do remember this: If your contractions are strong, regular and frequent, it is time to go to the hospital, regardless if your water has broken or not.

An un-medicated birth is the best way to go

The fact is, women need all the strength they can summon to go through a successful active labor stage and to give birth. Doctors have been using medications to make labor more comfortable for women for centuries. Today, although many women prefer a natural childbirth, un-medicated childbirth can’t always be an option. Natural childbirth, as commendable as it is, can still be a long and painful event. Medication to manage the pain may be necessary, especially if natural methods fail. In some situations, women without any type of pain management may be unable to perform properly during birth, placing both themselves and their babies at risk.

The wider your hips, the easier you will give birth

This one stems from the idea of having ‘good birthing hips’. It’s an old wives’ tales that still lives on till today. The fact is, you could have really wide hips and still, underneath it all, have a cervix that won’t cooperate when it comes to giving birth. Plus, if you look around you within your circle of friends with kids, we’re pretty sure you’ll find a small-framed friend or two with a tiny waist, who did not encounter any problems giving birth! Only your obstetrician can determine if you are able to give birth vaginally or if you will need a c-section.

Your second childbirth experience will definitely be easier

You may have the confidence the second time around, having went through labor before, but it does not necessarily mean that it will be easier, quicker or uneventful. Birthing is always a unique experience each time, and it’s always a circumstantial experience when delivering a child. You might go through it faster and easier the second time around or you might experience complications you had not during the first. Also, if your second child is bigger, it may be a bit more challenging this time around compared to the first.

All hospitals (and doctors) are pro-episiotomy

In fact, the rates of episiotomies (a small cut made in the vaginal opening to mitigate damage from tearing) have declined steeply over the last several years. The thing to keep in mind is that an episiotomy is not a childbirth routine! Usually, a doctor will wait until the baby is crowning to assess whether or not one might be needed. If you feel strongly about not having one, make sure you talk to your doctor about it ahead of time so you are both on the same page.

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