As soon as your start telling people you are pregnant you will start to hear stories, both good and bad, about every woman’s pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Unfortunately it seems that a few details are often left out. These ten items are some of the parts of pregnancy, labor, delivery, and the first few weeks at home with your newborn, which no one may have told you about, but it sure would be nice to know about ahead of time.
1. Postpartum Constipation. After your baby is born you may experience severe postpartum constipation. Many hospitals will offer constant stool softeners right after delivery. Others will not. Be prepared for this to happen and don’t hesitate to ask for stool softeners at the hospital. Once you return home if you are still constipated, don’t suffer. Breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding moms may use a simple glycerin suppository to obtain some relief.
2. Meconium. Your baby’s first several bowel movements will consist of something called Meconium. This very dark green to black, tar-like excrement can easily freak out new parents. This waste is from your baby’s time in the womb and will cease after the first few days of life. There may be quite a bit of it and it’s very difficult to clean. After a few days, your newborn’s bowel movements will change considerably and will become much runnier and decrease in volume (though they will increase in frequency!).
3. The Umbilical Stump. When your baby is first living outside the womb, a small clip, not unlike a chip clip, will be clamped on his umbilical stump, what was once connected to you, the mom. The clip will be removed before you take your little guy or gal home, but you will have to care for the remaining stump. You may be asked to swab the area with alcohol and you will not be able to submerse it in water. It will look sort of like a large, bloody scab, and may even have the imprints from the “chip clip” in it. After several days or even weeks, the stump will fall off, leaving your baby’s precious little belly button behind.
4. Colic. No one ever seems to talk about colic to a pregnant woman. Perhaps they do not want to frighten her. It is good to be prepared with some basic colic knowledge, however, and then just hope that your baby doesn’t have it. Colic is an all-encompassing term for a newborn’s inconsolable crying. Some colicky babies only cry in the evenings, while others may cry all day and all night. If you do end up with a colicky baby, check out The Happiest Baby On The Block for some very helpful techniques to calm your baby.
5. When Your Milk Comes In. During your pregnancy you will find that your breasts may increase in size. That increase is nothing compared to what will happen when your milk comes in, if you choose to breastfeed. When you first breastfeed your child you are feeding him a substance call Colostrum. Colostrum is your baby’s earliest nutrition and after about a week it will turn into breastmilk. Once this breastmilk arrives in place of the Colostrum be prepared for a huge increase in your breast size! No matter what anyone tells you ahead of time, you are likely to be shocked the morning you wake up with bazookas like you never dreamed of. Realize, however, that after a few weeks or months of breastfeeding your milk production will regulate and your breast size will decrease somewhat.
6. Nothing Will Fit Your Newborn. Unless you have a very large baby, it is quite possible that nothing will fit your newborn for up to a month or more. Size 0-3 month clothing varies in actual size quite a bit. Newborns are so tiny that they very often swim in their clothes for quite a while. Be prepared for this to happen and know that the adorable dress Aunt Jane bought you might not be useable for a few weeks or more.
7. Huge Pads. You may hear some of your mommy friends joke about the huge pads given to you in the hospital to absorb your blood loss for the first day or two after delivery (whether vaginal or c-section). You may not, however, be prepared for the actual, ridiculously enormous size of the pads. You will bleed a lot the first few days after any type of delivery and the pads given to you are literally about 2 feet long and 5 inches wide.
8. You Will Need Your Maternity Clothes Postpartum. While having your baby does reduce your belly size quite a bit, you will still need your maternity clothing for quite a while after your baby is born. Even if you lose quite a few pounds at first, your shape will take some time to get back. If you are breastfeeding you will not be able to diet at first, and whether you had a vaginal delivery or c-section you won’t be able to start exercising for a few weeks. So you will need to wear maternity clothing for a while postpartum. Don’t let this get your down. You will have plenty of time to lose that baby weight after your baby grows a little.
9. Hemorrhoids. It is likely that you will get hemorrhoids while you are pregnant. If you make it through pregnancy without getting hemorrhoids, you may still get them as a result of all the pushing you will do during labor. Be prepared to deal with the discomfort of hemorrhoids for a while if you do get them. Over the counter creams and pads are helpful to ease the pain.
10. Pushing Sometimes Equals Poop. While it may seem vulgar, it just makes sense that all of the pushing you do during labor can sometimes lead to a bowel movement. You may indeed “go,” right there on the table while you are in labor. If this happens just remember that it happens to labor and delivery nurses all the time. They will simply clean it up and never think a thing about it.
No matter what you do to prepare for your pregnancy, labor, delivery, and early care of your newborn baby, there are bound to be some surprises. This list may help you avoid some of the greatest surprises some new moms face. Just be sure to keep your sense of humor, be flexible, and look forward to the stories you can tell the moms-to-be that enter your life in the future.