It’s time. Your water just broke, but you’re also feeling a little hungry. There’s no harm in stopping for some pizza, right? After all, you don’t know for how long you could be in labor. Pushing out this little miracle of life is a hard process and you just made it that much more dangerous by eating that deep dish. According to recent World Health Organization records, 808 women die in childbirth every day.
We can’t control everything, but we are about to show you the five things that you should avoid doing if you don’t want to make your delivery even more difficult. How’s being overhydrated bad for your baby? Why shouldn’t you scream? How could eating too much kill you?
Number 5. Don’t Binge
Nothing can increase your appetite like having a tiny human growing inside you, but the moment your water breaks it’s time to skip the buffet. Going into labor is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll need the energy to endure it, but I’d put that burger down. Having a big meal can put you at risk of aspiration if you’re put under general anesthesia. This occurs when food or liquid is inhaled into the lungs and can be fatal. When you’re pregnant, your enlarged uterus puts pressure on your stomach, increasing the risk.
Number 4. Don’t Breathe Fast
It’s happening. The baby is coming and you feel unbearable pain. Nurses are telling you to breathe, but you’re doing it too quickly and feel dizzy. You’re hyperventilating, and if you keep it up, you’ll faint. Abdominal breathing is the way to go. It helps you relieve stress and oxygenate your tissues. Instead of taking shallow gulps of air, you’ll put your stomach, abdomen and diaphragm to work when breathing.
Number 3. Put the Bottle Down
Staying hydrated is important, but it’s crucial in situations like these. If you’re dehydrated, you’ll likely have a longer labor. Before you chug that, pay attention. Going overboard with the fluid intake can be dangerous for your baby and make your sodium levels drop dangerously low. Issues can also arise from excess IV fluids. Being pumped with 2.5 L (85 oz) of fluids can lead to your newborn losing weight in the week following delivery. It can also cause painful swelling of the breasts, which could result in difficulties in breastfeeding.
Number 2. Don’t Fight It
As excited as you might be to finally hold your baby, chances are during the past nine months you probably weren’t exactly looking forward to pushing a small human through your birth canal. Labor can be intense and painful, but the last thing you want to do is fight it. During contractions, you might feel the impulse to arch your back away from the pressure on the cervix and pelvis. If you pull away and tense up, that’ll make the process even more difficult. Against every instinct, you’ll need to relax your muscles to allow them to push the baby down and out. Squatting or leaning over your stomach and keeping your feet apart could help.
Number 1. Don’t Scream
This might be the hardest ask. Screaming from agony seems inherently associated with giving birth, but doing so can make your efforts of pushing less effective. When you scream, your vocal cords get irritated and diaphragmatic pressure is released. The pushing force you should be directing downward where you need it most is instead released through your mouth. Making a lot of noise during labor is normal and even encouraged. Try moaning. It can help direct pressure in the right direction.
Now you know everything you should avoid doing when you’re ready to welcome this baby into the world, but what if your water breaks when you’re stuck in traffic? You feel the urge to push more than the brakes, and you know the baby is coming now. Don’t worry.