The Truth About 5 Theories Surrounding Childbirth

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Sometime ago, I was reading about a Chinese custom, which women are encouraged to practice in the first month after childbirth.  It sounds like Omugwo but a lot more interesting, at least from where I stand.

The Chinese tradition is called zuo yue zi, or “sitting the month,” where new mothers spend a full 30 (or more) days recovering from childbirth. The process is sometimes called “Chinese postpartum confinement” but since that sounds quite ancient, posh names like “pampered seclusion” have also been given to the practice. It’s thought to date back in Chinese literature thousands of years.

The theory behind the practice is this: after birth, a woman’s body is vulnerable, and needs a period of rejuvenation, rehabilitation and recovery. What that means in practice is no exercise, no going outside, no cold foods (ice water included), no sex, no bathing, no washing hair and no brushing teeth. The ban on going outside and drinking cold water may seem excessive, but it’s based on the theory that follicles expand during childbirth, leaving the body vulnerable to cold. Participants worry that too much cold air could lead to rheumatism or arthritis.

Certain foods are also thought to help return the body to its natural balance. Of course, a lot of women argue that taking a month off from motherhood is a terrible blow to the bond between mother and child.

However, others believe their bodies benefit from the month of “confinement.” Some say their month off helped them produce more milk. Others insist they were able to lose the baby weight faster. And some just enjoy being waited on hand and foot.

That is the custom in that part of the world and one of the many theories that have been built around the fascinating experience of childbirth.

In this article today, we will espouse on 5 theories that have been built around childbirth and see if, they are really true or just theories.

Eating or drinking during labour is dangerous

When I was in labour, both times, food was the farthest thing from my mind. Since my labour started in the morning both times, I didn’t eat. I remember the first time; I only had tea very late in the night, after I gave birth in the morning. The second time, I followed the same pattern.

But I also know a mom, who was snacking while in labour. Another who couldn’t eat because, she was having a c-section was clamouring for food immediately, after the surgery, making the doctors wonder what kind of “ebina” (hungry fellow) she was.

Whether you should eat during labour depends largely on who you talk to. Some doctors will, no matter how you persuade them, flag food for the duration of the labour. If yours lasts hours, this can be just an additional discomfort throughout the process.

Others, however, may allow you to snack.

Eating during labour is no doubt one of the many old wives tales; at least no scientific study has backed it up.

Eating food was banned from all labours because doctors once thought that food could cause aspiration if given emergency anesthesia. This, however, is rarely used in labours.

In all, no doctor is going to allow you a full three-course meal during the labour and you will likely not be in the mood for one. Consider light snacks if you feel hungry.

Moms bond with babies at first sight

This just reminds me of the expectation that all mothers are naturals at breastfeeding, which has turned out to be a big lie.

Not all moms bond with their babies at first sight. Truthfully, most moms start out loving and eagerly expecting the birth of their child but it might not the love at first sight.

But just like in every other situation, sometimes love takes time and effort to develop. Your baby won’t be all sunshine and rainbows at first. They will be weird-looking, covered in various body fluids, and not as respondent as they will be in later weeks or months.

Because of this, and because labour is just so exhausting, you may not feel an immediate connection to your baby. This is okay. About 20% of new parents take time to feel a deep connection to their infant.

C-section is less painful than vaginal birth

We have talked about this discrimination previously on this platform and we will continue to talk about it, as there are millions of people, who hold onto this unnecessary notion.

Imagine a 39 weeks pregnant telling me how she didn’t want to give birth via C-section. In my mind, I was like, “you better keep an open mind, you are gradually becoming a prime suspect for the procedure.”

Mothers may hear after confiding in a friend or loved one that they had a c-section that they’re so lucky because c-sections hurt “soooo much less” than vaginal births. That is total hogwash. It is not true.

Although, the intention is to assure, it is not true. C-sections and vaginal births can both be very painful: The difference lies in when you feel pain. Vaginal births hurt instantly, and the process is excruciating.

C-sections may hurt less during delivery, but complications and discomfort post-surgery can be just as painful. 

You will know when your water breaks…if it breaks

In many TV shows and movies, there’s always a lot of drama attached to a pregnant woman’s water breaking. This moment is often dramatic and very noticeable, and it is unmistakable for anything else.

However, if you’re expecting soaked pants and a certainty that your baby is coming, you might want to lower your expectations…gently. Those who experience a large gush of water are in the minority.

For it to be the first sign is even rarer. You will most likely experience contractions and know that delivery is on the way as or before your water breaks.

Twins birth is always via C-section

Pregnancies with twins or multiples can have more complications than single births. True. Less space in the womb means that there’s a higher chance of something going wrong.

Although many twin births go smoothly, young mothers should be prepared for the labour and informed of risks that can arise.

But they do not necessarily need to assume a c-section is in their future. I can conveniently be the poster girl for the campaign to denounce this particular theory.

C-sections are more likely for twin births, but they are not the standard procedure in every case. If the first baby comes breech, both will have to be delivered by c-section. The doctor and their team will work quickly and efficiently to make sure both babies are delivered safe in this case.

If the first baby is born head first, however, vaginal births can be perfectly safe. Whether your medical team chooses to deliver via a vaginal birth or c-section may come down to what they are most comfortable with and what is good for your babies.

So, trust them.

These are just five theories but trust me, there are tons of other theories surrounding childbirth, most of them not true but a lot of them firmly believed by mothers.

Knowledge they say is power, knowledge is here, power is within your reach.

 

 

Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here

Photo credits:

1. https://images.contentful.com/

2. https://static1.squarespace.com/

3. http://news.emory.edu/

4. http://vbacfacts.com/

5. https://www.owletcare.com/

6. http://teresadoula.com

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