After nine months of careful planning and studying, there are some things about labor, delivery and those first fresh hours of motherhood that may still surprise you. Here are six to take note of:
1. There are two deliveries
Ultrasound technology is top notch these days, making a surprise twin a very unlikely scenario. So, no, we're not referring to multiples here – instead, we're talking about the placenta. After every delivery, a brand new mom must then push out baby's life source – the placenta. For many, it takes a simple extra push about 30 minutes after baby arrives.
2. You're going home in a diaper
Well, sort of. After a vaginal delivery, many hospitals outfit new moms with giant mesh underpants. You may have an enormous maxi pad tucked inside to control bleeding and an ice pack to offer soothing relief. The short story? It's not going to be pretty.
3. The bathroom is a scary place
Particularly after a Cesarean section, sitting on the toilet for No. 2 can be a living nightmare. We'll just leave it at that, but take it from us – you survived the operating room, so you'll get through this too.
4. Your period is back with a vengeance
After nine months off, your menstrual cycle seems to come back for good. Rest assured, bleeding after childbirth is typical and can last up to six weeks. Before discharging from the hospital, your nursing staff will give you the rundown on what bleeding is normal – and what requires you to visit the emergency room. Passing a blood clot the size of an egg is not normal and should have you and your partner heading back to the hospital right away.
5. You still have a baby bump
You're going to leave the hospital looking about five months pregnant. Put those post-baby skinny jeans on hold for now and be sure to pack some comfy yoga pants in your hospital bag instead.
6. Your body knows what to do
After all your research and planning, stressing and hoping, at the end of the day, your body knows just what to do. Sure, you'll have a whole team of health care professionals to ensure your baby's birth goes as smoothly and safely as can be, but you can find confidence in your body's ability to birth a child. Remember to breathe, ride out those contractions and take that epidural if you need it.