While Nurses are some of the most superstitious people you will ever meet, it’s the patients I want to talk to today. Here are three myths almost everyone believes in labor and delivery that just aren’t true?
First off, hello! I’m Hilary — many people know me as The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind this website Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 I’ve heard SO many labor myths (and sure seen a lot on Tiktok) — so, let me clear some up for you today.
Come join me for your pregnancy:
Labor and Delivery Myths
By “myths” I mean things we’ve heard from friends or the internet that most moms come to L&D believing, not the Zeus kind of myth. 🙂
You Can’t Say No
I think we feel like we just can’t say no to a doctor, but that just isn’t true.
The doctor should be presenting you with choices, and then YOU make the choice.
I compare it to a bus analogy. I drive my regular route (because frankly — most patients don’t have feelings one way or another on most topics). I try to explain things as I go along, and at ANY point you can tell me no, you want to go a different route.
In fact, I did a whole podcast on saying no in labor. It’s great, and I 100% recommend you listen to it:
And if you enjoy podcasts, I did a whole one on refusing routine things in labor with a favorite OBGYN.
Things you can say no to:
- Eating — if we say you can’t eat, and you want to — you can! (caveat, if you’re set for surgery, the anesthesiologist can refuse to do your case if you’ve eaten, so all choices have consequences).
- Vaginal exams — don’t want to be checked (and I have a whole post on what vaginal exams mean), just say no! Totally up to you!
- Breaking your water — would you prefer your water to stay intact longer, you can tell your provider no! BTW, a lot of ladies can’t tell if it’s broken at home — and most women get theirs broken at the hospital.
Hopefully, you are getting the point that you truly are 100% in control at the hospital, and if your doctor isn’t making you feel like that. Go back to informed consent, it has your back. Yes, you truly can refuse anything in labor.
BTW, if these myths are things you believe (even just in part) I bust a TON of myths in my Online Prenatal Class for Couples. Save 10% with code PC10.
You Won’t Feel Anything With an Epidural
A lot of women plan to be 100% numb with an epidural, but that just isn’t true. In fact, I have a whole post on how much you’ll feel with an epidural.
Cliff Notes: The epidural is designed (when done correctly) to take 80% of the pain away.
Reasons you will still feel with the epidural
- It gives your body feedback, which they’ve shown is important to help labor progress.
- We need you to help us turn you (laboring on your back isn’t the best way to do it)
- You will want some sensation in order to be a good pusher!
So, while most of us picture bliss with an epidural, it’s just something to be aware of. And believe you me, even at 80%, it’s still bliss compared to labor.
Wanting to know more about pain control — I have a whole post on pain management in labor.
AND, in The Online Prenatal Class for Couples, I have a whole chapter on it, including a TON on Epidurals!
I also currently include a bonus section that gives breathing techniques to both get you to the epidural, and to also manage the 20% of pain you will likely still feel after its placement.
And yes, we have a whole chapter on pain management (and all your options) here.
You Have Control
I know, I know — I said in myth #1 that you can say no, which is 100% true.
You really should have control over what us staff/practitioners do to/for you. BUT, you don’t have control over what your body does.
I think one of the BIGGEST myths is that when you create a birth plan, birth will go like that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a HUGE fan of creating a birth plan (mostly just to know what you’d prefer so it’s not a big question mark when you get to the hospital)
And yes, I do have a 3-step birth plan right in here:
However, once you reach the hospital you just have to let your body and your baby do what they are going to do.
Things you don’t have control over (some of these things we can shift and work on, but not always):
- Baby’s position (head down, bum down, head looking up/down)
- Your pelvic opening
- Your vagina (which may mean you may tear no matter how much perineal massage you think you’ve done to help)
- Baby’s size at delivery
- Mother Nature
I don’t know if you’re a person of belief, but labor is one of the times I most realize that life is going to turn out how it was always going to be, no matter what we’re doing to try to counteract that.
YES, try your hardest for the things you’d prefer, but at some point, you have to just let go.
So, those are my 3 favorite labor myths, and yes I do bust a WHOLE lot more in here. I’d love to see you inside to get you prepared!