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Parents

27 Labor And Delivery Tips From New Moms

Beyond bringing food for the nurses. But do that too.

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We recently asked the BuzzFeed Community to share their best tips for labor and delivery:

1. Do your research.

Tal Guterman / Getty Images

"Research everything. Look into home birth, birth centers, hospitals, Pitocin, epidurals, vaccines, doulas, breastfeeding, circumcision, etc. Know the risks and benefits of it all. Learn why it all happens the way it does. You owe it to yourself and your child to make the most informed decision possible."

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2. Keep your head in the game.

"Think of the pain as productive. If you imagine that each contraction is helping to bring your baby out, it can start feeling less like pain and more like pressure."

—Andrea McBurney Leger, Facebook

3. Don't labor on an empty stomach.

Kzenon / Getty Images

"Eat! Seriously. Eat something before you get there. Once you're there you're shit outta luck on food until it's done. Overnight labor on an empty stomach is hell!"

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4. But make wise food choices.

"Don't eat salmon chowder. Seriously, don't do it. I know it looks all tasty, but that shit is HORRIBLE a few hours later, when the labor hits and your insides come back up. Say no to the salmon chowder."

—Tamara Falkenberg, Facebook

6. Push with your abs.

"Work your way through the pain, feel empowered by it, and use your abs when you push, as if you were doing a crunch. Don't push from your butt; your hemorrhoid-free butt will thank you later."

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7. Embrace the mesh underwear.

modomed.com

"Bring the mesh underwear home. You can wash it and reuse it. All of mine held up for the entire month of postpartum bleeding. They're not sexy at all but they're comfortable and prevent you from having to ruin your own."

sharvar

8. Alternately, just go straight for the adult diapers.

amazon.com

"Adult diapers for after the birth work great. You sleep so well not worrying about bleeding all over everything. And a warm sitz bath with epsom salt or herbs for 10 minutes every couple of hours the first few days really helps the irritated tissue."

sillyadi83

9. Know where your bread is buttered.

"MAKE FRIENDS WITH THE NURSES! Your doctor is usually only there for the last 10 minutes or so when your baby is born. The nurses will be the ones monitoring you and the baby, getting you water and guiding you through labor. Treat them with respect; they've been doing this for years and can make your delivery a great experience."

—Emmay Friedenson, Facebook

10. Poop is part of the program.

"Don't give a shit about shitting. I know so many women are too scared of pooping that they don't really push. I would rather shit and get the baby out in a half hour than try pushing for three hours."

lola1228

11. Plans change.

"Honestly, the best advice I was given that I will pass on is this: Ditch the birth plan. You can have an idea of how you'd like things to go down (mood lighting, med-free, etc.) but be ready and willing to let the shit go. Labor is a mysterious beast and things can go south real quick. If you are too stuck on a plan, it can mess up your mind, leaving you vulnerable to postpartum mental illness. If you really need a plan, make it this: I am going to have a baby and I am going to let the nurses and doctors help me to do that in the best way possible for both me and my baby."

jenniferh39

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12. Consider hypnosis.

"Don't let anyone scare you — labor and birth is an amazing experience! Learn a self-hypnosis method like Hypnobabies to work through the discomfort. That got me through four days of unmedicated labor. Seriously — four days."

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13. Get schooled.

Ximagination / Getty Images

"Take a class about childbirth. Even though you'll be like, WTF is going on? at least you're not doing that in the delivery room. And don't feel weird if you find the coping techniques awkward. You'll figure out what works best for you and your birthing partner."

samanthai6

14. Don't rush the epidural.

"Get an epidural, but wait until you're like 5–6 centimeters dilated to do it, when labor is well progressed."

—Kristen Burton, Facebook

15. Don't forget the camera.

Cameron Whitman / Getty Images

"Have someone take pictures of your first meeting with your little one. You might think that you won't want pictures of how bad you look after labor, but it's a moment you'll most likely want to remember. I didn't let my husband take the a picture of my baby and me when they first gave him to me and I regret it. I only got to hold him for a couple minutes before he had to be taken to NICU and I don't remember them well thanks to exhaustion. Don't worry about how you look; you don't have to show it to anyone if you don't want to, and you might enjoy looking back at that raw moment and remembering it for how it really was."

—Heather Benner, Facebook

16. ...or the video camera.

"Even if you think you won't want it, record the birth. It's my biggest regret that I didn't. Everything goes by so fast once the baby is out, and you get so wrapped up in it all. I don't remember my daughter coming out or me holding her the first time or her cord being cut. Just save it to a memory card. If down the road you decide you don't want it, you can delete it, but there's no going back and getting it if you never recorded it."

—Kate Miller, Facebook

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17. Be brave.

Disney

"Do your best to block out fear. Fear and anxiety will make your body tense up and labor will be so, so much harder. Continually remind yourself that this is how the process goes, everything will be fine, and so on."

—Sonnet Fitzgerald, Facebook

18. Ride that emotion-coaster.

"Don't be afraid to show emotion. I am the daughter of a labor and delivery nurse. I knew all the possible outcomes and scenarios going in. However, what I didn't expect were my emotions. I was so tired and my adrenaline was pumping so much that I cried, a lot. I thought it was me being weak, but really it was my body's response to pain and trauma. I had a long labor and ended up with a C-section. It was very traumatic, but my husband was great. In the end I have a beautiful, healthy baby, and it was worth every minute."

—Kristen Blazek, Facebook

19. Dermoplast. All of it.

walgreens.com

"Don't listen to anyone. What works for you is the best advice. I ate before I went to the hospital. Guess what? Threw it all up. Ended up sucking on ice cubes anyway. I walked around the hospital floor. My kids decided to come at their own pace anyway. Enjoy the perineum spray. Get a couple of cans. They are awesome."

—Latanya Ivey, Facebook

20. Be flexible.

"Be prepared for anything mentally. My son came two months early via emergency C-section and nothing went as planned, clearly. We had a healthy baby in the end and that was all that mattered."

—Amy Geise, Facebook

21. Pack your bags early.

Kati Molin / Getty Images

"Have your bag packed and ready starting at 35 weeks. Hopefully you won't need it that early, but my daughter came at 37 weeks and my son came at 36. Also, if your baby needs an NICU stay, settle into the hospital room until insurance says you have to leave. Don't feel pressured to leave the hospital until you have to, because it's absolute hell to leave your baby at the hospital. Oh, and arrange to have someone bring you your favorite takeout at least once if your hospital allows it; my husband brought me sashimi and a rare steak after my son was born."

—Andrea Byrd Plate, Facebook

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22. Don't sweat the small stuff.

"Don't sweat the small stuff. Most of it is small stuff. People will see you naked. A lot of people. You will poop yourself. Anyone who says they didn't just had an awesome nurse who cleaned it faster than it took for you to notice, or had a C-section. Nurses are your best friend. Be kind to them, and they will be kind back. The pain really does become a distant memory as soon as you see your baby."

—Victoria Roth, Facebook

23. Have a water baby.

Ximagination / Getty Images

"Warm water, like a shower or a bath, is great for pain management if you're going med-free. It helped me relax so much that I actually started dozing off in the tub between contractions! Also, the contractions during the pushing stage are extremely powerful — they kind of override everything else in your body. It really freaked me out at first, but it was a lot easier once I learned to work with them and push harder instead of resisting."

—Elizabeth Ana Jennys, Facebook

24. Be proactive.

"Talk to your doctor in the hospital about signs of postpartum depression, anxiety, OCD, and psychosis, and what to look for in case you need to take steps for mental care after you are home."

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25. Know you're in charge.

AMC

"Be your own advocate: I was about 39 hours into my labour when my dilation stalled. Third trip to the hospital and they were about to send me home again. I told the nurse I wasn't leaving until I had my baby. I was admitted, had my water broken, got an epidural (42 hours in), and my labour was able to progress."

—Andrea Lewis, Facebook

26. Know what you're in for.

"Throw away the 'Hollywood' notions of how glamorous and romantic childbirth is. It's true that birthing a child is nothing short of a freakin' miracle, but it comes with an entourage of nudity, puking, pooping, and pain, and all of this happens in front of an audience. Prepare yourself for being exposed to strangers, but take comfort in the fact that everyone is there for you and your baby's well-being."

—Carolyn Barta Attard, Facebook

27. No shame in the game.

Tongro Image Stock / Getty Images

"Don't be ashamed, C-section or vaginal or drug-free or doped the f*ck up. Whatever. It's not a contest. Do your best and let go of the guilt or disappointment. I know it's not as easy as just forgetting about painful, upsetting experiences, but remind yourself you are allowed different experiences than others and it doesn't make you less than."

—Amber Jones, Facebook

Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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