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19 Things You're Too Scared To Ask But Really Want To Know About Giving Birth

Sometimes you tear vagina to asshole, sometimes you don't.

There's a whole lot that goes on behind the closed doors of a delivery room. To get the facts, BuzzFeed spoke with Mary Jane Minkin, MD, who is a clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine. Read and learn...

1. You poop.


"Everybody poops during childbirth. If you're not pooping, you're not pushing hard enough – that's what I tell my patients," Minkin said. Also, when it's time to start pushing the baby out, you feel like you have to take one giant dump. 💩

2. You wear a disposable mesh bra and underwear with enormous pads after birth.

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Lochia is the stuff that comes out of the uterus after birth. Minkin said it's a combination of blood and cells that were lining the uterus where the placenta was attached. So, there's a lot of gunk that's coming out of the uterus. It starts off red, then it tends to get clear. Some breastfeeding women may also leak colostrum, so they might need pads on their boobs, too.

3. You can tear down there: sideways, up, even from your vagina to your asshole.


Sometimes a perineal massage is done to improve elasticity in the area and prevent tearing. Minkin said, “During delivery, the trend these days — or sort of a rule among obstetricians — is to try to not cut an episiotomy,” Minkin said. “You let the tissue sort of stretch itself and tear whatever natural way it wants to tear.”

4. You might need a catheter to help you pee.


"If you get an epidural, the muscles that allow you to urinate won't move. So, some women need catheters if the epidural has not worn off and their bladder is full," Minkin said.

5. Your baby will come out with a conehead.


"Yes, it will look like a Conehead, very much like Saturday Night Live. That's why they put hats on them, because they look better. It usually goes away within a few days and the head starts getting more round," Minkin said.

6. A lot of women barf during labor.


"Women can barf at about 4 centimeters dilated and then again at about 8 centimeters dilated. It's a reflux. If you're feeling nauseous and barfing, that's a sign of labor."

7. After you deliver the baby, you deliver the placenta.

Dr. Minkin said the third stage of delivery comes between the time the baby is delivered and the placenta is delivered. "Sometimes it takes a couple of minutes and sometimes it takes 20 minutes. We usually massage the stomach to help the placenta separate." Minkin said that massaging the stomach usually isn't painful.

8. Once your cervix widens (aka dilates) to 10 centimeters, you're ready to push.


Obstetricians use their fingers to measure how far dilated you are.

9. You will be asked if medical students can watch.


"The reason I encourage my patients to have med students come in is because the students are not there to get their jollies in — they are there to learn and help," Minkin said.

10. Your vagina will shrink back after giving birth.

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"In general, very few people end up needing tightening procedures to tighten things back up. One thing I always encourage people to do is Kegel exercises."

11. And your hips do widen...but they also shrink back.


The pubic bones actually separate during pregnancy and childbirth. According to Minkin, the ovaries make a hormone called relaxin that is responsible for helping the areas between bones soften. Luckily, though, your hips come back together afterward.

12. You can usually have several people in the room with you.


"One person in the room was the rule in the ’70s and that started getting liberalized through the ’80s and ’90s," said Minkin. "My concern is infection control. If you have 20 people in the room, in particular in the middle of the winter, with colds and viruses, I don't think that's too healthy. But there are some places that will let any number of people come in the room if you want."

13. Your stomach doesn't automatically go flat after the baby comes out.


Most people will still be in their pregnancy clothes several weeks after the baby is born because it takes a while for the uterus to shrink down. In fact, Minkin said your uterus is up at your belly button after giving birth and it gradually comes down after about six weeks.

14. If you breastfeed your baby after birth, your vagina might be dry.


According to Minkin, the vagina can get very dry in women who are breastfeeding because it releases estrogen production, and estrogen is responsible for vaginal moisture. She said many women who breastfeed need extra lubrication or long-acting moisturizers.

15. You can have sex as early as two to three weeks after giving birth.


"If a woman doesn't have a lot of tears or an episiotomy, they may be reasonably comfortable to have sex," said Minkin. "But be careful, because a common misconception is that you can't get pregnant while you're breastfeeding. Minkin warns, "Breastfeeding does decrease fertility, but it is certainly not a contraceptive. You definitely want to use a contraceptive when you start having sex again."

16. It is unlikely that you will become paralyzed from an epidural.


Minkin said this is highly unlikely. "I've been in practice about 46 years now and I've never heard of anyone getting paralyzed by an epidural. You will be numb from the waist down until the medicine wears off. Occasionally, during an epidural, you can nick the membrane around the spinal canal and it can cause a cerebral spinal fluid leak, which is treatable, but causes migraines."

17. Labor feels like the worst pain you've ever experienced in your life.


It's going to hurt. BAD. Minkin said, "If it's the worst pain you've ever had in your life, then you're probably in labor."

18. Colostrum may leak from your nipples.


Colostrum is what comes in before the milk. Minkin said, "The milk itself takes a couple days to come in. You will have a breastfeeding consultant talk to you at most hospitals."

19. You can get an IUD put in right after giving birth.

"There are some protocols now where people are putting in IUDs right away," Minkin confirms. Some obstetricians do recommend waiting, however. If you want to get an IUD immediately after giving birth, discuss your options with your doctor.