The Things They Don’t Tell You…

I like surprises, but only if they’re good. If they’re bad, I don’t like surprises. Lately I’ve been getting the dish from one of my friends about all of the things they DON’T tell you about pregnancy (or the time soon-there-after).

First off… You’re actually pregnant for 10 months? Waaah? 9 months, ok maybe, but 10 months? Forget it.

When you’re water breaks, it doesn’t come out all in one gush. Apparently it keeps going and going. I’ll have to remember to buy a bag of Depends. (And as you can see from my Dream post I’ve been having nightmares about this one).

Apparently there’s a “plug” that comes out about a week before your water breaks. I’m not sure I’m ready to Google that fact yet, I hear it’s pretty gross.

You don’t just sit in bed the whole time you’re in labor. You walk, apparently sometimes even crawl around.

Every time you hear a baby crying… Even on TV, your boobs will leak (or spray).

Breast feeding hurts.

Thrush? Something about it transferring to boobs?… Don’t wanna know.

Your feet grow! My feet are already a size 11 so I hope that’s not true!

Afterpains… I guess it’s pain after pregnancy, and can hurt worse than labor?!!?

The Epidural gives you the shakes.

What else don’t I know? Don’t worry, I can handle it! If anything, maybe it’ll cure me of my baby fever!

Jenn says:

Your funny, after pains come right after you give birth and usually only last a few days . However if you are breatfeeding that too can make your belly hurt for the first week or so . I have had 4 kids and never had the big plug thing happen to me . I do get up when I’m in labor I’m able to run to pee right up to about 5 minutes before I’m pushing and then I get up again to go the minute everything is done and the doctor leaves the room.

Heidi says:

Hi! I love reading your blog. I have never had a child either and I like to think that the sacred and special and spiritual stuff people keep close and personal (kind of like sex) and the bad experiences people share (also like sex). I have friends that blab and blab about how the first time they had sex it hurt and whatever (expected since you were only 16) but the friends that were madly in love and more mature don’t go disclosing so much. Maybe that’s the way it is with childbirth – blab about the bad and try to get sympathy and keep the great and wonderful things close to their hearts and private with the people that matter most. Do you think that’s probable?

Mammatalk says:

You get instant amnesia after giving birth. That’s why you do it again! 😉

Natalie says:

eww — and I’ve heard there is a lot of pooping and peeing too!

Aubrey says:

What is she trying to do? Scare you off?!?!

My water never broke on it’s own and I never EVER saw the plug thingy that people talk about. Ever.

Breast feeding DOES hurt. I could only suffer about 6 weeks with each of my kiddos!

Oh and I had natural childbirth with my first 2 kids. Epidural with my last one. I wish I had known. I would have NEVER gone thru labor with the good ol E!

Aubrey says:

Oops! Re-reading. I meant to say I would have never gone thru labor WITHOUT the epidural. I didn’t get the shakes and it was WONDERFUL! LOL

And my feet only grew 1/2 a size with baby #3!

Mallory says:

Oh No!!! Don’t believe half of this stuff! (And before I get going on all this, remember I am pretty crunchy!) Your “due date” is really just a reference. Your baby may need longer, or maybe shorter, time. Don’t worry about how long it may take! Your water will keep coming, because your body is so cool that it replenishes the water all the time, even after the sac breaks! The “plug” may come out all at once, not at all, or may be just like regular mucus. You shouldn’t sit in bed during labor at all! You need to move around to facilitate the baby moving down and out the birth canal! Let down during while lactating can come on by a number of things. I, personally, don’t have a let down when I hear other babies crying, but I do let down when I am really surprised/shocked. Some women spray, some don’t really leak at all. Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt, if it does, you (or the baby) are doing something wrong…probably a bad latch. Thrush is a yeast infection in the mouth, and it can transfer to the breasts. It itches…and may be a cause of breastfeeding pain! (There are several ways to get rid of it, the most effective may be to just see your doc, to keep it from reoccuring). My feet didn’t grow. It may depend on how high your arches are. When you are preggo, your body releases hormones that cause your ligaments to relax, which could cause the arch to relax too. Afterpains just show that your uterus is returning to normal size. They don’t hurt as bad as real labor (usually). And epidurals can be extremely dangerous. There aren’t nearly enough studies done on their safety. I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. (And you can get the shakes without one anyway. It is pretty normal.)

Sorry, I just wrote a book. But, this stuff is my number one passion. And I really like to make sure people are educated!!! Ok, I’m shutting up now! 😀

Jenn says:

Well it’s different for everyone so really someone telling you believe this and don’t believe that just gives you an idea what might happen to you. Just because something does or does not happen to someone doesn’t mean some people are lying or don’t know what they are talking about.

I had four with nothing for pain and everyone one was different before during and after and now being pregnant with number 5 and my last I see once again this one is way more different so far then any other time I have been pregnant.

Goldibug says:

Okay…Let me tell you what has been true during my two pregnancies.

You’re prego anywhere from 36-42 weeks if I remember correctly. That’s about 9 – 10 1/2 months. My first came two weeks early and my second was six weeks early.

The doctors had to break my water both times. I’ve read that it doesn’t come gushing out though. You leak about a pint of fluid every once in a while. That’s only if your water actually breaks before you get to the doctors. Once you get to the doctors it’s no big deal.

The “plug” didn’t come out until right before I started labor. I didn’t even notice it with my second baby. With my first it ended up in the toilet and just looked like discharge.

I did get to sit in bed the whole time I was in labor. My labor pains weren’t even bad until the last few hours. I noticed them before then but they didn’t really hurt.

I never had a problem with my breast leaking until it was actually time to feed my baby.

Breast feeding only hurts until you and your baby figure out how to do it correctly. Once you get it down to a science (It took me about two months before I didn’t notice it anymore) it’s no big deal and you really do bond with your baby in a way you can only experiance through breast feeding. I know because I bottle fed my first baby and breast fed my second.

I’ve never had to deal with thrush. Apparently it looks like cottage cheese inside the babies mouth. I know…it sounds nasty. If you don’t get it taken care for your baby then it can spread to the breasts. I have no idea what that looks like though.

Your feet don’t grow. They can swell while you’re pregnant but then you wear flip-flops or go bare foot all the time. It’s not that big of a deal. Just keep your feet elevated and talk to your doctor if you’re worried.

The afterpains definitly DO NOT hurt as bad as labor. It’s more like painful cramping and I only noticed it while I was breastfeeding for the first six weeks.

I had no problems with the epidural on either of my pregnancies. In fact I plan on using it for every single pregnancy I have. I don’t ever want to deliver without it!

I hope this helps a bit. Pregnancy isn’t as horrible as everyone makes it out to be. I enjoyed being pregnant with both my kids. I’m serious too!

Dev says:

I had a good laugh when I read your post! It’s all so true but so worth it! 🙂

Anonymous says:

Every pregnancy is differnt. I just had my second baby (2 weeks ago) and everything was completely differnt than my first. I’ll be the first one to tell you that I dont love pregnacy. It’s hard. But like all good things it’s SO worth it. I think the one thing that nobody told me was how spiritual labor was. It was the hardest, most spiritual, beautiful thing I’ve ever done. I had both my babies natural and I would do it again.

B&U&I says:

It’s 40 weeks but since some months have 5 weeks it turns out to be about 9 months. Plus you usually don’t find out until you’re at least 4 or 5 weeks along and that’s if you figure it out early!

Sometimes it’s a gush of water, sometimes it just feels like you’re peeing on yourself and other times, as in my case, the dr. ends up breaking your water for you.

The mucus plug sometimes comes out on its own and sometimes comes out with the dr.’s assistance (called stripping). I won’t even lie to you, stripping the mucus plug hurts!

If you have an epidural then you do lay in bed from the time that they give it to you until labor is done and the medicine wears off. If you have a C-Section then you’ll be in bed much longer than that.

My boobs never leaked for any baby but my own.

Breastfeeding can hurt but it’s not a guarantee and even if it does hurt it only last for the first week or two. It really all depends on your baby and how quickly he/she learns to latch on properly. Buy Lansinoh Lanolin, it works wonders!

I don’t know much about Thrush because neither I nor anyone I know has ever had it.

My feet never grew although I have heard of that happening. I wear a size 10 and definitely don’t want my feet to grow any more.

After pains, yes, that’s because the Uterus has to shrink back to it’s normal size and you feel contractions but I didn’t think they were anything compared to a contraction felt during labor.

You can get shakes during labor but I dunno that it has anything to do with having an epidural.

Now my final piece of advice to you is to take everyone’s labor story with a grain of salt! Everyone’s labor is different and after it’s all done the only thing on your mind is the baby! I think there are three things everyone needs to do to have a good labor experience: a great support person (your husband), a great doctor, and to relax. I know it sounds weird to say relax but it truly does make it a bit easier. Try to use a website to do some research on your doctor if you don’t have an OB-GYN that you normally see.

heather says:

Oh the joys of being pregnant! My feet are now a size 8 and they used to be a size 7 1/2. My breasts always leaked when a baby did cry…man that sucked. But overall you just forget all of that stuff…until you are reminded again. So all of that stuff might not happen to you, but if it does, then you wont remember.

Jenna says:

My feet swelled a little but I was back to my old size shortly after.

I got the shakes but not from the epidural…I got them when they broke my water! The epi actually calmed them down.

My nipples still get hard if I hear a newborn cry, and I only breastfed for a month and a half.

My mucous plug came out gradually and looked just like a rubbery, white discharge. Nothing gross.

Breastfeeding only hurt me for the first few days. In Utah, they have this miraculous cream called Newman’s Cream which helps heal your nipples after they get chapped. It’s harmless to baby and even has a numbing agent in it! Sadly, they don’t have it anywhere else. 🙁

Now, here’s one they don’t tell ya–during the last two months, my crotch felt like it had been beat mercilessly with a baseball bat. I couldn’t do anything without experiencing horrific pain–roll over in bed, put on pants, climb stairs…It was a nightmare. And it persisted until months after Audrey was born.
Don’t worry–not all the bad things are going to happen to you!

Keya says:

Every pregnancy is different.
I was pregnant for 39 weeks & 6 days.
My water never broke, the doctor had to break it. And of course it never broke till 1 hr later. But it was all one big gush.
I didn’t see much of my plug.
I sat in bed the whole time while I was in labor, I did get bathroom breaks though. I was induced and hooked up to pictocin & IV fluids, so there was no walking for me. I was limited to the bed, rocking chair & bathroom. So uncomfortable. I wish I could walk around.
My boobs never leaked for no other baby but my own. LOL
Breast feeding only hurt in the beginning. Later on it felt much better.
I never got thrush on my boobs. But I did get an infection & had to take antibiotics.
My feet got swollen, oh yes it did.
I never had afterpains, sounds scary.
I had a last minute epidural, I was going o’natural, when they increased the pictocin & it was killing me & I punked out and got the epidural when I was still at 6 cm for 8hrs. But it never took. I felt the whole thing, and I never got the shakes.

Jenn says:

They say afterpains increase with each baby you have and that most first time moms don’t get any. For me that was true I never got any with the first baby , but boy did I get them with the 4th.

Mommy Bee says:

Would it give you comfort to know that not all of those are true? Certainly not in all cases.
(I will say that I find it interesting the way these stories are spread…it’s no wonder that so many women are scared of their bodies natural processes, and that they fear childbirth. I hope some of these facts will be comforting to you and to other readers here.)

First of all, the 9 vs 10m pregnancy thing…well, a calendar month is about 4 1/2 weeks, but for some reason people count pregnancy months in 4 wk divisions, which 40/4-10 months. In calendar months it’s 9 months plus one week. But even that is misleading, because pregnancy is counted from your last period, so for the first two weeks of the 40 you are NOT EVEN PREGNANT yet. By the time you miss your period and take a test, you’re probably 4-5 weeks along (2-3wks after conception)and have roughly 35-6 weeks or 8 calendar months left.
Feel better?! 🙂

Some people’s feet grow, some do not. MY YW leader went up a half size with each kid–so she only had 3. My mom had 8 kids and her feet never grew…then the 9th one she went up a half size. Many women get swollen feet in the later months, but they go back to normal afterwards.

Water MAY come in one gush, or it may leak, or it may leak a bit and then stop and then start again. By the time it really gets going there’s a good chance there will be a baby in with it–or at least you’ll be far enough into labor that you’ll be sitting on a big pad anyway (or in a shower/tub) so I wouldn’t worry about it. I used to stress about it too, but seriously, it wasn’t a big deal.
The Depends might not be a bad idea though–a lot of women like them for the first day or two postpartum. There’s lochia (the postpartum bleeding) but some women also need a little time to get full bladder control, especially if they had any tearing in the muscles (which is RARE, I swear!)… In most cases though if you do your kegels you should be ok. 😀

Mucous plug, ah yes, the mucous plug. Um, you know how there are certain fluids in that region every month? Well, some of them sortof solidify and make a little plug in your cervix so that infection can’t get in to the baby. Obviously when things start loosening up to let baby out, that plug will fall out, and it’s called ‘losing the plug’ or the ‘bloody show’ and just means that delivery is nearing. Some women see a little spotting, some see what looks like a blob of snot. Some don’t see anything at all. It may happen a week or two before delivery, and it may happen during labor.

In labor you can sit in bed if you want to. On the other hand, gravity works…if you move around it can help the baby move down. Using gravity to get the baby’s head pressing on your cervix will help it open faster (ie, walking around usually makes labor shorter). Getting onto hands and knees can help rotate a baby that’s not in a great position, and some women find they prefer that position for delivery. Due to the angle of the birth canal, laying flat on your back actually means that you have to push the baby uphill to get him out… I had hoped to move around more than I did, but labor was long and I was tired so I did spend the last few hours laying in the bed.

I can’t speak to epidurals…I don’t believe in them except for emergencies, but I have heard plenty of stories about how awful the side effects can be (one reason I don’t believe in getting a routine one). I wrote a post about epidurals a few months ago–search under ‘birth’ on my blog. 🙂

After birth, the uterus needs to squeeze back down to it’s normal size–this is a good thing! Sometimes the contractions involved are painful–some women say that afterpains are worse than labor, other women do not get them at all. I had roughly the equivalent of regular menstrual cramps. They have good painkillers for that sort of thing though. 🙂

Breastfeeding can cause tenderness, but if it’s truly painful on the breast then you should talk to a lactation consultant because you’re probably either latching on wrong or else have an infection. Infections can be treated, and if you have latch problems you can learn to correct them. The nipple stimulation of breastfeeding DOES release hormones that cause uterine contractions (ie, breastfeeding helps the uterus clamp down), so if you’re getting afterpains then breastfeeding *can* exacerbate them. HOWEVER they are short lived, and within a week or two it shouldn’t be painful or sore anymore.
Personally, I never had pain when breastfeeding.

Thrush is essentially a yeast infection–they can take hold in any warm moist part of the body. The natural sugars in breastmilk feed it, so babies sometimes get it in their mouth, and of course as they are nursing they then can spread it to mom. Both of you can take antibiotics for it, but one of the most effective things mom can do is to wash off her breast after each feeding–vinegar will kill all the yeast, and then water will wash off the vinegar. Make sure the breast is dry before putting your bra back up. Many babies never get thrush, many moms never get yeast infections in their breast, and even when one of you gets it, the other may not.

As for the involuntary letdown…well, they make nursing pads. 🙂 When you hear your own baby cry for you, your body responds by wanting to feed him. (The milk doesn’t leak all the time, just when there’s suckling or the hormonal release.) I always got a letdown on both sides when actually nursing him (ie, he was on one side and the other side would leak). Some women get letdown whenever they hear another baby, or one on TV, or even when their teasing husband makes baby noises. (Yes, I had a friend whose husband used to do that to her). Again, I say, breast pads are your friend. I like the soft washable cotton ones.
Incidentally, I may as well warn you now…those hormones that release when you hear your baby? They are the same ones as when you orgasm…so if you wanna talk about milk spraying… 😉

My gosh, I just wrote a whole post back to you. Again. Well, you had questions, so there ya go, I’ve got answers. LOL!

As for the gory things you don’t know…hmmm, vaginal ultrasounds maybe? Separation of the muscle wall over the belly? 4th degree tearing during delivery? I dunno, there’s stuff that CAN happen, but the choices you make during your pregnancy and pre-pregnancy can have a huge effect on what happens, and most of the horror stories are just that–stories. Some of the things are avoidable, some are not as bad as they sound from the outside, and some, well, yeah they’re as bad as they sound, but they’re just not that common. 🙂
And babies are totally worth it.

If you don’t breast feed and wear a very tight sports bra then the milk goes away very quickly and you don’t have to worry about it. Also as other people have told you the Doctors usually never know for sure when you got pregnant they just give their best educated guess. There are other methods you can use if you don’t want an epidural, at that point though most people are grateful to get them.

Good gravy, you made me giggle! Yes, it’s possible for all of those things to happen, however, whether they actually DO or not during a pregnancy is up for grabs.

The thing with pregnancy is that it’s kind of a crap shoot. You never know EXACTLY what you’re going to get. Some are difficult; some are “perfect”; and most are somewhere in between.

As a momma of three, I’ll tell you, whatever happens during your pregnancy is NOTHING compared to the prize at the end!

Ms. Crabtree says:

You remind me of myself before my first baby. LOL
As for me, I have 3 wonderful daughters and have never felt a labor pain or experienced half of the things you listed. How is this possible? The cesarean.
You may skip some of the scary parts but the recovery is a lot harder. It’s not anything to wish for…but, I’m glad I didn’t have to experience a true labor.
No matter how they get here, it’s always worth it.

LMAO OK this is funny! First every pregnancy is different, my water didn’t break on it’s own, no plug here LOL just light spotting like 4 hours before contractions began, my shoe size did go half a size up but I can still wear most of my old shoes 🙂 and don’t get scared, it’s not that bad…breastfeeding could be tough, but there is help or bottle :)so no big worries, all the pains of labor are soon forgotten as soon as you hear and see the little one 🙂 trust me 🙂

Jacky says:

Just stopping by from SITS to say hi. Though I’m not sure I wanted to read all that…I did want to have kids someday… =)

Every pregnancy is different, but 10 months isn’t really that bad. Considering the first month of the count you are only pregnant two weeks and you don’t even know until you are 4-8 weeks along.
And I absolutely loved breastfeeding. It hurt for the first few days because my daughter was about a week old before we could start, but I absolutely loved it. It never hurt and it felt great.
I did hate that I leaked everywhere when another baby cried. My daughter is 19 months old and I weaned her at 9 months and I still have milk and leak when a baby cries. It’s a pain, but at least I had enough to last. A lot of people now don’t make enough milk so I am still super grateful I had enough to feed 3 babies.
I had my daughter before I went into labor and before my water broke and everything, and I had to have an epidural with my c-section and I absolutely hated it. The first one they gave me worked, the second only numbed half of my body at a time so they had to give me triple to dosage. I never want one again as long as I live.
And I never felt my afterpains. My uterus actually shrunk back to size within 3 hours of my daughter being born. So I can’t really comment on that…
I want a natural VBAC more than anything. My best friend has had two water births, her latest was a home water birth. I am so jealous and I want one too.
No matter how much you don’t want to be pregnant anymore, don’t let them induce you. It ends up in c-section more than not and they are major surgery and things go wrong and people do die. Especially with the second and third and fourth c-section. They make it out to be routine, but they are operating on you to get a baby out, even if it isn’t medically necessary, they are just impatient.
I wish I had read more when I was pregnant with my daughter. The doctor’s made everything sound like all was good and normal, and I ended up having an external version (she was breech so they turned her, ripping the placenta off in the process) and then had an emergency c-section, then my daughter was in a NICU for a week because she was premature and needed oxygen. I trusted them on everything because they never told me the downsides to half of their procedures. It is “informed concent” and it is completely ridiculous.
I have heard that labor is the roughest thing you will ever go through, but it is the most empowering experience of your life. Having that taken from you to have a doctor surgically remove a baby because they messed up an “easy” procedure just makes me so mad. And people say all the time that having a healthy baby is all that matters, but I think it is also about how you feel about your experience. If it is a positive experience to you then it will be a better memory, if it is negative and you find out more that the doctor could have done or didn’t tell you, it festers until you are upset about it and just bitter.
I am going to be a home birth midwife, so I am a strong advocate of natural birth, people have done it for centuries, and I have read over 10 books so far about the issues between hospitals and home and midwives vs doctors and one book I would recommend to you is “Birthing from Within” and also “Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth”. They are written by the top midwives in the country and I learned the most from them. More Ina May’s than the other.
But don’t be scared about what you don’t know. Always go out and find out. Books are the best way for me, but for you it might be something else. There are TONS of documentaries about birth and things like that.
Sorry I rambled… I am just very passionate about birth and pregnancy. My husband and friends get so sick of me talking about it

Anonymous says:

I’ve just discovered your blog and wanted to say DON’T LISTEN to everything you hear! At least, don’t think that everything will happen to you. I’ve only had two kids but both pregnancies and deliveries we’re so different, some parts good, some not so good. Yes, some women have nightmarish experiences but they are the minority. In the end, it can’t be all that bad because babies are still being born! Just look forward to how your pregnancy experience will go- it may be a lot easier than you think!

Yolanda says:

Great post- but I have to agree with many of the commenters here, some things on you list happen in pregnancy but there’s no guarantee that all of them will happen to you. It is amazing to learn so many of the details that people just never speak about though- knowledge is key but nothing to be fearful of. The reality is no one can tell you what your pregnancy will be like. My prayer for you whenever it is time for you to get pregnant is that you never deal with hyperemisis, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Tanielle says:

It is all worth it in the end. With my 4th baby I threw up numerous times daily even twice the morning I was induced…but I would do it all again!!!!

San says:

Hiya! Wow… i must say I was really impressed. Firstly by your post and then by the VOLUME of comments! Wow – the people above me are passionate! Haha!

I’m a mommy of a 13 month old, and I can tell you SOME of the things are true… some are not as bad as it sounds! I think it is all part of motherhood, and like what Mammatalk said above: “Mom-nesia” is a common ailment that makes you remember only the good stuff… and give birth again! I know I don’t mind Baby #2 myself! 🙂

Jessica says:

What surprised me was how painful recovery was. Not sure if it is normal but it HURT to get up or down for weeks afterwards. I tore and had some residual problems, so again, not sure if it’s normal.

Meg says:

hi im an intern in Obstetrics you can get the shakes after birth with or without an epidural because your body gets cold. alot of women’s water doesn’t break and the obstetrician does it in the labor room you can go over your 40 weeks gestation but usually not by alot normally the doc would induce you. breast feeding will hurt! im sorry:( but only for a little while you should get used to it after a while. and trust me i’ve seen women give birth with and without epidurals and unless your SUPER SUPER pain tolerant then go with the E.

besserina says:

Oh my gosh you are so funny! Don’t worry, when going through your pregnancy & labor, things will happen to you that you will NOT BELIEVE and NO ONE on EARTH can prepare you for them. (like the time when….uh no…I won’t go there…) BUT after your baby is born you forget about all the yucky nasty stuff!!!
Mama of 4 little girly girls,

Anonymous says:

idk about anyone else… but when my water broke.. it was like a tsunami….

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.

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