Myths about Labour

There are many myths surrounding labour, and it is unsurprising that many women listen to old wives tales in the hope that they can somehow make their baby come earlier. There are therefore, of course, many misconceptions surrounding the issue. This section aims to give you insight into some of the most common misconceptions concerning labour and birth in order to answer any questions, however strange, you may have:

Myth: Eating spicy food can induce labour

Fact: There is no scientific evidence to suggest that eating spicy food can induce labour. However, eating spicy food is supposed to aid digestion but there is still no indication that it can induce labour.

Myth: You cannot move when you are in labour

Fact: Contrary to this myth, many women do find it advantageous to move about during the first stages of labour when they are getting contractions. Some women even use a pregnancy ball which they can sit on to move about, which aids in the control of their contractions.

Myth: If you raise your arms above your head the umbilical cord may get wrapped around the baby’s neck

Fact: There is no evidence to suggest that the umbilical cord can get wrapped around the baby’s neck due to movement of a mother’s hands during labour. You can even do the YMCA and be rest assured that it would not affect your baby’s umbilical cord.

Myth: Car rides can trigger off labour

Fact: Unless the car is moving extremely vigorously there is no real evidence to suggest that travelling by car can trigger labour. However, it would be best to reconsider long car journeys if near your due date, if only for comfort.

Myth: Castor oil is effective in inducing labour

Fact: Similar to the spicy food myth, castor oil can help with digestion but is not proven to help with inducing labour. It may work for some women, or it may purely be coincidental, but there is no solid proof that this method works.

Myth: Removing pain relief gives you a better birthing experience

Fact: Everyone handles pain differently and just because some mothers can tolerate pregnancy without pain relief does mean that others can. Birthing is an individual experience and it is up to you to decide what works best in order to deliver a healthy baby.

Myth: Home births are risky

Fact: Assisted home births may be beneficial to some women with midwives by their side; however, if you are a high risk pregnancy then you may be advised to give birth at the hospital where facilities are easily accessible to monitor the baby.

Myth: Labour always starts with your waters breaking

Fact: Many women do experience their waters breaking during the beginning of labour; however, this does not apply to all women. Some women might experience contractions first and their waters might break later.

Myth: You cannot eat or drink in labour

Fact: You can eat and drink in labour providing you eat appropriately. This means no fizzy acidic drinks or things that will cause more harm than good. It is advised to eat carbohydrate foods during labour such as bananas or yoghurt.

Myth: Labour is a quick process

Fact: Labour is not as easy as you may think as it may take up to 24 hours to deliver a baby, depending on your individual pregnancy circumstances. Many women having their first baby may take longer to deliver their baby. Women who have subsequent babies will find that their time in labour gets shorter and shorter.

Myth: You have to stay in bed during labour

Fact: You do not have to spend all your time on a bed during labour. It is recommended to mobilise during labour and try to walk around the delivery room or sit on an exercise ball. This will aid in speeding up your labour and will help you to control your contractions.

Myth: Epidurals are dangerous to use during labour

Fact: If an epidural posed a serious threat during labour it would not be offered as a form of pain relief. This is a very effective form of pain relief and may be used when the mother cannot control the pain of contractions. As with all forms of pain relief there are advantages and disadvantages but epidurals are not considered a danger.

Myth: Continual panting is necessary during labour

Fact: You do not need to continually pant during labour, though this is commonly shown in television programmes. There are specialised breathing techniques which can be implemented during labour to aid with contractions but you do not need to pant.

Myth: If you request a natural birth you will not receive pain relief

Fact: Even though midwives promote natural births this does not take away the right for you to have pain relief. If you do want pain relief the midwife can administer it for you at any time during the labour. All you have to do is ask.

Myth: I do not need to prepare for giving birth as my body will do all the work

Fact: You do need to prepare for the birth by following a well maintained diet and conducting gentle exercises. If you do exercise such as swimming or light brisk walking it will help you to give birth more easily and promote a healthy body weight during pregnancy.

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