Mother and Baby

20 things only women who have given birth know

Section: Labour & Birth

You can take the antenatal classes and read the birth books – but there are some things you'll only realise if you've had a baby…

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1) Your due date is more of a time window

You’ve got that day circled on your calendar. But with only five per cent of women going into labour on their actual due date, you're more likely to find a tenner in the street* than have the baby to schedule.

*OK, we're not sure about the tenner odds, but you get the idea

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2) The mix of pure excitement and 'OMG can I push a person out?'

When you realise that you might finally be in labour.
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3) You’ll suddenly crave Nandos/Dominos/Starbucks

You know, for keeping your energy up. And being in labour is the best queue jump excuse, ever.
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4) Contraction timing is confusing

All you need is your iPhone stopwatch. But do you start from the build up or the end of the last contraction? And is it from the start of the first to the start of the second? *confused face* Turns out you want to record from the beginning until the end of one, and then also the time between that and the next.
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5) That birthing playlist goes out the window

Lovingly crafted, it has Bach and Morcheeba so your baby’s born feeling all zen. The reality? It drives you mad – where’s the Kings of Leon?
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6) Your healthy snacks are suddenly less appealing

Blueberries for energy. Crackers for nausea. Salad sandwiches to graze on. Hmmm, suddenly the last things you want.
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7) But orange Calippos are a lifesaver

Or any ice-lolly for that matter. It’s like your first trimester cravings all over again.
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8) Birthing pools are ah-mazing

Like the best bath you could ever imagine. And you haven’t felt so light since before you were pregnant.
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9) Your anaesthetist is your hero

There’s something about the person who takes your pain away. In fact, you might actually fall in love with him or her a bit.
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10) So is your partner

As well as maintaining Calippo supplies, he’s also your biggest champion when people ask you questions mid-contraction.
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11) ...But not all the time

Oof, you’re in the zone and that massage spot totally isn’t working.
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12) Labour can be funny

Sometimes deliriously so. And often just for you. Especially when there’s pain relief involved. Or bodily functions.
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13) It doesn’t always go to plan

You’ve had your birth plan sorted for months – scented candles and all – but sometimes flexibility is the most important thing.
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14) You’ll probably swear

At your midwife. At your partner. To nobody in particular.
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15) You won’t care about that bikini wax

You panicked because you didn’t have time for a salon trip. What if the midwife recoils in horror? But when it comes to it, you don’t care – and neither does she.
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16) That first moment is incredible

OK, so maybe you knew it would be. But the high when your baby’s born and that first hold… real there-are-no-words moments.
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17) It doesn’t matter how rough/tired/spaced out you look…

That first photo with your baby will always be one of your favourite pictures ever.
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18) That after having legs akimbo for your delivery…

And the midwife helping with your first latch, you are so not fazed about nakedness – you, your husband, the smear test nurse…
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19) You also love the tea lady

When she comes round with her trolley of biscuits and tea… Ooh and there’s hot chocolate!
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20) That no pair of post-birth pants is too big

It’s all about the freedom down there right now.

Now read:

Give me everything! The pros and cons of labour pain relief

‘My 50 Hour Labour:’ Read This Mum’s Birth Story

The 6 Most Common Birth Fears (And How To Beat Them)

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