March 15, 2022 5 min read

If you are going to be a first-time mum, you may have a lot of questions about childbirth. However, it is not uncommon for mothers who have already given birth to have some questions, too. After all, each pregnancy is different; each birth story is different. If you are pregnant, it is normal to feel some amount of anxiety before childbirth.

So, here we are with the answers to the most common questions around childbirth that expecting mums might have.

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1. Will I have a vaginal birth or a C-section?

Whether you have a vaginal birth or C-section depends on your medical history, the position of the baby, and what the doctor feels is the best and safest for both you and the baby. However, remember that no method of childbirth is better than the other. Trust the doctor or the midwife and stay positive!

2. What exactly happens when water breaks?

When your water breaks, you can feel a slight pressure on the pelvis and the amniotic fluid can come out in a gush. However, sometimes, only a part of the bag breaks which means the fluid can come out in a small trickle, too.

For many women, the water breaks when they are already in active labour. Depending on where you are planning to give birth, this means you can be at the hospital or the birthing center. For some women, though, the water can break without warning when you are least expecting it. If this happens, contact your doctor immediately.

Water breaking is a sign that the time for childbirth is near. Your doctor will check the vaginal dilation for a vaginal birth when the water breaks.

3. What do contractions feel like? Are they very painful?

Contractions in the uterus feel like a soft tugging or squeezing. In the beginning, the contractions are mild. They might feel uncomfortable because it’s a new feeling. However, they are not very painful at the start.

As the labour progresses, the contractions become stronger and can also be painful. If you have chosen to take an epidural before a vaginal birth, the contractions can come strong, but you won’t feel a lot of pain.

You know you are nearing actual birth when the contractions are longer, stronger, and closer together. Depending on the vaginal dilation, your doctor or midwife will guide you to push the baby out.

4. Can I eat during labour?

The contractions and the general anxiety around the delivery can leave you feeling hungry. However, your doctor or midwife will ask you to not eat anything and only sip water if needed. This is so that if you need an emergency C-section at any time, you can be taken for the procedure and administered anaesthesia.

5. How can I deal with labour pains?

There are several ways to deal with the labour pains which arise due to contractions in the uterus. Try changing positions such as lying down, leaning forward, supporting yourself with cushions, or lying on the side. You can also pace around to ease the pain.

Taking deep breaths and counting the time between each contraction can also help you take your mind off the pain. If you choose to take an epidural, you might not feel any pain from the contractions.

6. Will I need an episiotomy?

An episiotomy is when your gynaecologist gives a small cut to enlarge the opening of the vagina so that the baby can come out easily. Not every woman who gives birth naturally has to get this cut. However, some might need it. If you need a cut, do not worry. Your doctor will stitch the cut or any natural tears during vaginal delivery. These stitches will heal in due time.

7. What does giving birth feel like?

Whether giving birth vaginally or through a C-section, it does come with some amount of pain and discomfort. Pushing or delivering a human is not an easy task. But the bright side is that all the pain and struggle feel worth it when you hold your baby in your arms for the first time and nurse her.

Our bodies are amazing, ladies. We are capable of things we don’t even know. Of course, you need time and rest for your body to recover after childbirth. So, rest as much as you can and give yourself some time to heal.

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8. Why do I need confinement?

In many Asian cultures, including Singapore, a confinement period of 30-40 days is recommended for a new mother. This time is to help the mum recover from childbirth and also focus on herself and the baby.

This is also the time when you and your little one learn to latch correctly and get comfortable with nursing. You should always wear a nursing bra to make nursing convenient and also for giving your breasts the extra support they need during this time, so that nursing becomes easier for both.

Since a new mother cannot step out during confinement, it is advised to get as much help from friends and family as possible. You can also hire a confinement nanny or doula who will help you with the baby and with the recovery process during confinement.

9. Will my belly go back to its normal state after delivery?

The honest answer is no. Your belly will not automatically regain its original shape immediately after delivery. After all, it took nine months for the skin to expand and make room for your baby.

However, you can start regular exercise after a green signal from your gynaecologist which can help you gradually reduce the pregnancy weight. Whether your belly regains its original shape depends on a lot of factors including genetics.

But do remember, mummy, you are beautiful as you are. Love your body and take pride in the fact that you could give birth to a beautiful baby.

Ladies, it is very normal to have a lot of questions about childbirth. Do speak to your doctor and discuss your concerns. Also, speaking to someone in the family or your mummy friends can also help you to understand what you should expect.

Remember that childbirth is a different experience for every woman. Cherish your experience and know that you are strong and beautiful to go through it all for your baby. You go, mummy!

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