8 Ways Childbirth is Different Than the Movies
In the movies, when the woman’s water breaks, there’s a flush of liquid so strong it just floods right through her underwear. It always happens somewhere public and embarrassing too.
In real life, you might not even realize it's happened. You’ll probably just think you peed yourself a little (and that would be totally normal at this point in your pregnancy). This false narrative causes many women to fear that they will be humiliated in public at any moment. As a school teacher, I know I was petrified that my water would break in a room full of thirteen-year-olds. Consider this one less thing to stress about.
YOU DON’T NEED TO RACE TO THE HOSPITAL
...or get a police escort for that matter (like you've probably seen in the movies).
In real life, you are actually told to call the hospital before you are on your way. The reason being, if you are not yet having painful contractions, they might turn you away. No joke. You will be told to wait at home until you’re in active labor. I know it's hard to contain your excitement and the adrenaline that comes with it; however, families need to focus on driving and arriving safely. Double check your hospital bag that you have everything before you go. Hell... get yourself a yummy treat on the way there because you most likely won't be eating for awhile once you arrive.
DURATION OF LABOR
In the movies, a woman is in labor for what appears to be maybe an hour (though only minutes on screen, of course).
In real life, labor will last several hours and can last DAYS. You don’t just immediately feel pain after your water breaks (if your water even breaks). There is a lot of waiting around and would make for a terribly boring film. Yes, some women might end up giving birth in random places like the closet, but that is the exception, not the norm.
In the movies, women are often screaming bloody murder when it comes time to push.
In real life, women keep their cool. We are badass like that. Yes, it hurts and contractions are painful, but the final pushing stage of labor can take up to two hours, so women are more focused on breathing and getting that tiny human out in a controlled manner. Women are STRONG as hell, mentally and physically. We handle the delivery room like our bodies were meant to give birth or something.
In the movies, babies are magically photo-ready... They're typically clean with a normal shape head, and they have no umbilical cord stump when they are handed to the very sweaty mother.
In real life, your baby could be a variety of colors: yellow, purple, red, white… not to mention they may have a conehead (temporarily). They may be covered in blood or vernix. All babies are beautiful, but that doesn't mean they are Instagram "perfect."
Directors cut the scene in the movies where the woman delivers the afterbirth following the birth of the baby. Hmmm...
In real life, women must keep pushing after their baby is born to expel the placenta and fetal membranes. Fun stuff! Many moms actually choose to consume their own placentas after birth (or have it encapsulated) including celebrities such as January Jones and Kim Kardashian! The placenta has incredible health benefits... don't knock it 'til you try it.
In the movies, women are magically down to their pre-pregnancy weight after they give birth. Am I the only one who is frustrated by this?
In real life, women look about 6 months pregnant the first week postpartum and probably about 4-5 months pregnant the second week. It took 10 months to gain the weight, so why is it a surprise that it takes that long to lose it? It’s a gradual process. No one is wearing skinny jeans on their way home from the hospital.
In the movies, women just go back to their normal lives after popping out a baby.
In real life, you won’t be cleared for physical activity for at least 6 weeks. This could include exercise, using the stairs, or even driving a car. Definitely no sex. Postpartum will literally have you bed ridden for days and sore for weeks after. Plus, you'll have other issues too... like your breasts will swell, leak, and be tender. Although you feel like crap, it is amazing. It's a wonderful time you get to spend with your newborn, but again, incredibly boring for someone else to watch on a big screen.
Movies change some details about childbirth probably to spare us the gory details, add comedic effect, or make the experience seem more dramatic than it really is.
Just remember that movies are not showing the average labor. But hey, maybe your husband will really faint in the delivery room or maybe you really will have to give birth in the back of a taxi...
- Samantha Colandrea