4 Things I Wish I Knew Before Giving Birth

Real advice from real moms about what they wish they knew before giving birth:

Motherhood can be a terrifying thing as well as a beautiful thing. And moms all have different approaches – some moms are confident, some are scared, some are hesitant, some are excited, and mostly we end up a little bit of all of everything. While the initial feeling does tend to fade, we often end up with something we wish we would have known before walking into the delivery room.

Here are four things Moms wished they would have known before giving birth:

Shivering after is Normal.

Something you might not have expected is shivering after birth, which is completely normal and expected. Although the cause isn’t fully understood, it’s likely related to the fluid/heat loss and hormonal changes in your body after giving birth (Cleveland Clinic 2019).

Postpartum chills – as they’re commonly known – can happen whether you’ve had a caesarean section or a vaginal birth. These chills can happen within a couple hours after birth or even towards the end of labor. Postpartum chills are not related to the outside temperature and can happen even if your room is warm.

The main thing to remember is to just let it happen. The hospital or birthing center will likely provide blankets for comfort, but it’s important not to strain your body trying to prevent the shivers from shaking your body. This can cause more issues, and even though they’re uncomfortable, it’s rare for them to last more than an hour after delivery.

You Might Experience the Urge to Push… Or Not!

Every mama’s story is different, and not everyone gets that urge to “push” especially if you’re birth plan includes an epidural. One mother recognized that epidurals hindered her ability to recognize this feeling during labor after three births with partial/failed epidurals and one birth all-natural.

Most moms will feel this “urge to push” once fully dilated (National Health Service) and happens during the second stage of labor, when you actually birth your baby. Your midwife, birth coach, or doctor will urge you to push when your body is ready and during your contractions when you’re feeling that need.

Moms who have an epidural may not feel this urge and should listen closely to what their midwife or doctor is telling them as you’re likely hooked to a device that will monitor your contractions.

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Newborns Eat Every 2-3 Hours Even at Night

Newborns do not respect your sleep, instead, they like to eat. While not all newborns are the same, most newborns will require feedings even 2-3 hours even at night (What to Expect). Most healthcare providers will actually recommend you wake your baby for these feeds because:

  • Baby’s tummies empties easily, meaning they should be fed more often
  • They can sleep through hunger
  • Your baby needs to gain weight
  • You need to boost/increase your milk supply

Of course, before deciding to wake your baby if they’re not waking for their 2-3 hour feedings independently, please consult your newborn’s pediactrician. Frequency of feeding can also vary depending on whether your baby is breast fed or formula fed.

Recommended Post: 10 Breastfeeding Tips to Survive the First Month

Recommended Post: 10 Super Helpful Tips for Brand New C-Section Moms

You Don’t Need to be at Pain Level 5,000 for an Epidural

A common misconception when going in for your first birth is that you need to be in excruciating pain before you can ask (or deserve) an epirdural. In reality, it’s almost the opposite. While they don’t push you to have an epidural in the beginning of labor, they do ask that you request one as soon as you know you want one.

They do this because there is a cutoff point at which they can no longer provide you with an epidural – no matter how much pain you’re in. An epidural can take up to 45 minutes to place, as your nurse/midwife/doctor will need to request the specialist as well as take the time for it to kick in. If you’ve waited too long, there’s a chance that you’ll be pushing before your epidural could be placed.

It’s up to you whether or not you want an epidural and either way is a valid method of birth. It’s highly recommended that you research both the benefits and side effects of epidurals (American Pregnancy) before the labor and birth process.

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Are you a new mom and you're not sure what to expect for your first time giving birth? Here are things that real moms wished they would have known before giving birth to their babies.
Are you a new mom and you're not sure what to expect for your first time giving birth? Here are things that real moms wished they would have known before giving birth to their babies.
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  1. Sally says:

    I got my epidural pretty early on! I don’t regret it! They recommend getting it before really intense pain kicks in so that you can remain still while they place everything!

  2. Mabel says:

    These were all great tips. I can relate to all of this. I agree, if your in pain, there’s nothing wrong with taking something to relieve it.

  3. My last delivery was a water birth, and I wish I had discovered it with my 5 other kids. It was the best delivery.

  4. These are great things to be aware of before giving birth. I always say that nothing can prepare you for that lack of sleep but just being aware of it and planning for it is helpful. Also I had those shivers and you are right, just let it happen. Thanks for the tips! Mrs. Accountable

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