10 Birth Facts Your Doctor Never Told You

Mar 31, 2023

+ BONUS Interview Questions to Ask During Your First Prenatal Visit

If you're planning to give birth in Spokane, hospitals are not your only option.

Hey there mama-to-be! So, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information (or lack thereof) about giving birth and wondering what questions you should even ask at your first prenatal visit…But don’t worry, I’ve got you!

Here are 10 things your doctor probably didn’t tell you about giving birth. I hope this list helps you feel more prepared and in control for your upcoming birth.

(And hey, if these pique your interest, bring these up to your doctor at the next prenatal visit!) 

#1. You don’t have to give birth in the hospital.

In fact, you don’t HAVE to do anything.

Giving birth at home or in a birth center can provide a more relaxed and intimate experience. It allows you to have more control over the birthing process and can provide a more personalized experience. This option is safe for low-risk pregnancies and has similar or better outcomes compared to hospital births. Additionally, home birth and birth center births are for first-time deliveries just as much as they are for subsequent births.

(Psst, did you know I self-publish a quarterly local resource guide? . Check out the Holistic Yellow Pages section in the back of each edition of The Spokane-Coeur d’Alene Holistic Family Community Guide here.)

BONUS Interview question to ask at your first prenatal visit: Would they support you and work with a home birth midwife if you decided to go this route?

#2. Epidurals are not the only form of pain relief available during labor.

Epidurals are a common form of pain relief during labor, but they are not the only option available. Other forms of pain relief include nitrous oxide, spinal blocks, and natural methods such as hypnobirthing, acupuncture and massage. These options can provide a more natural and less invasive form of pain relief.

BONUS Interview question to ask at your first prenatal visit: What other pain relief options do they see often that’s effective other than epidural? 

3. You can bring your own music or sounds to the delivery room.

Music can have a powerful impact on our emotions. You can use your own playlist to help create a calm and soothing environment for you during labor. Just don’t forget to pack the following items in your birth bag:

  • Your guided relaxation tracks
  • Birth play list (make 2 lists- one for early labor and one for deep concentration)
  • Audio playing device of your choosing + charger
  • Sound-cancelling headphones or earbuds

P.S. Playing your own music is one of the many accommodations you might include in your C-section plan (see point #10!)

BONUS Interview question to ask at your first prenatal visit: Can I bring music to the birthing room and/or OR? 

4. Birthing pools can help you feel more comfortable and relaxed during labor.

Submerging your belly in warm water during labor can help ease the pain and help deeper relaxation. Due to its commonly recognized effectiveness in easing the discomfort, hydrotherapy is also referred to as “the midwife’s epidural.” It also allows you to move around more easily, which can help the baby move down the birth canal. Birthing pools can also provide a sense of privacy and intimacy during labor. Some partners even choose to sit in the water to offer more close contact and support.

BONUS Interview question to ask your provider: What hydrotherapy methods are available for me during labor?

5. You will probably poop during labor (and that’s okay!).

Professionals who witness birth on a regular basis are skille at swiping away any “proof” of this. L&D nurses, doctors and staff are pros at handling poop. They might even blame that suspicious smell on the baby. Many babes experience their first bowel movement known as meconium on their way out anyway. But either way, no one thinks you’re weird or unclean for pooping. The truth is: Poop Happens (more often than not actually!)

Partners- listen to me VERY CLOSELY: Do not under any circumstances point the BM out, especially if your team has already successfully swiped it away without notice. What happens in birth, stays in birth. Take that secret to your grave, friend.

BONUS Interview question to ask at your first prenatal visit: No need to actually ask about this. Experiencing a bowel movement while pushing a human out of your body is NORMAL, common, and an entirely natural part of the birthing process. Don’t let fear of pooping hold you back from using all your power to birth your baby. I promise, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.

6. Birthing positions – there are many different positions that can help make the birthing process easier.

Some birthing positions are more helpful than others in encouraging baby through the birth canal. Some birthing positions can help make the birthing process easier for you. So, if your doula asks you to move into some seemingly impossible position- it’s probably for a reason. It’s a good idea to experiment with different positions to find what feels most comfortable for you before labor begins. Commonly useful positions include:

  • Standing up,
  • Squatting
  • Sitting on a birth stool
  • On your hands and knees
  • Side-lying with a peanut ball

When I was laboring with my 3rd babe, I was SO THANKFUL that I kept up with my fitness routine throughout pregnancy. I felt strong and capable of getting into any position necessary for encouraging Baby to move down and out. I mean, just LOOK at all the positions we went through…

Some birthing positions that can help make the birthing process easier for you.

BONUS Interview question to ask at your first prenatal visit: In what positions are you willing to help me birth my baby?

7. Doulas are a great for support and advocacy.

Doulas are professionals who provide emotional and physical support to expecting families during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and postpartum period. A doula can help you with relaxation techniques, provide emotional support, and advocate for your wishes during birth.

Looking for doulas who serves new an expecting families in the Spokane-Coeur d’Alene area? Check out this list.

BONUS Interview question to ask at your first prenatal visit: Do you work with doulas often? Why or why not?

8. You can eat and drink during labor, if you want to.

American maternity care has a long history of limiting food and drink as soon as labor begins, without much evidence to back up the practice. However, Evidence-Based Birth concludes:

“The issue of eating and drinking during labor should be reframed as one of bodily autonomy and human rights. All laboring people, whether they have an epidural or not, or have diabetes or not, have the right to choose whether they would like to eat and drink during labor.
Here at Evidence Based Birth®, we urge the American Society of Anesthesiologists and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to revisit their current guidelines and adjust them according to the evidence and ethics. Any revisions in guidelines should also consider parental satisfaction. There is abundant research showing that people often complain about their distress in being forced to fast during labor (Manizheh & Leila, 2009).”

It’s important to listen to your body when it requires fuel. Staying well hydrated and nourished during early labor can be critical to the trajectory of your labor. While the urge to eat/drink may decrease as labor becomes more intense, stronger contractions mean your muscles (i.e. uterus!) are working harder and faster. This means your body is expending more energy, which requires more fuel. Having a light snack and/or mineral rich fluids throughout labor can help keep your energy levels up to power all of that hard work.

BONUS Interview question to ask at your first prenatal visit: Under what circumstances might food/drink be limited or restricted while I am laboring?

9. The power of the mind – visualization and other relaxation techniques can help during labor.

Ready to deepen your prenatal relaxation practice, join my Spokane Birth Class.

Visualization and relaxation techniques such as hypnobirthing, yoga, and meditation can help you stay calm and focused during labor. It can also help to lower stress hormones and increase endorphins, which can make labor more manageable.

Relaxation practice is a foundational concept we practice throughout every module of my Comprehensive Birth & Baby Preparation Program, specifically designed to walk alongside new and expecting parents in the Spokane-CDA area from the very beginning of their pregnancies (you can literally sign up for class as soon as you pee on a stick…just like, wash your hands first, K?)

BONUS Interview question to ask at your first prenatal visit: Is there anything I can do now to learn how to cope with labor?

10. Cesarean sections are not as scary as they seem.

If you and your team have made the informed decision to deliver your baby via cesarean, know this: your doctor and nurses will take great care of you and your baby during the procedure. It’s also important to know what to expect during the course of your care.

Take the time during pregnancy to consider what you need/desire out of your birth experience. This is the birth of your child, and you deserve to have fond memories of the experience, whether you were planning a cesarean from the beginning or not.

C-sections are a common form of delivery…

Which is why I strive to teach my childbirth education classes in a way in which there is no “right way” to birth within my classroom.

I never want my students to be overcome with fear when faced with a change in their birthing plans. Because you know what is scary?

  • Not knowing what to expect
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Not understanding what options are available to you
  • Being coerced into decisions that feel disempowering
  • Feeling like everyone in the room is “against you”

That’s why I always discuss physiologically normal birth (and ALL its variations) as well as complications and variations of cesareans in my Comprehensive Birth & Baby Preparation Program classes that I host in my local Spokane community.

TL/R: C-sections are surgical procedures with risks associated with them, but they can also save the lives of both mother and baby in certain situations.

BONUS Interview question to ask at your first prenatal visit: In what circumstances do you perform c-sections? 

So, there you have it, mama. Now you’re armed with some new information that will hopefully help you feel more confident and excited about your upcoming birth!

I hope reading 10 Things Your Doctor Never Told You About Giving Birth has given you some solid ideas and interview questions to ask during your first prenatal visit. If you’re still looking for a local childbirth education course, click here to view my Spokane Birth Class resources.

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