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“Busted & Dusted - Empowering Moms-to-Be at Inizio Birth!"

Updated on: 09 March,2024 10:04 PM IST  |  Mumbai
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Many of us build our expectations for pregnancy and birth based on what we see on TV and in the movies.

“Busted & Dusted - Empowering Moms-to-Be at Inizio Birth!

A lot of women feel helpless and fall under the thrust of elders around them to make basic choices about birth of her own child and her own body before and after childbirth. No matter how professionally qualified one is or how well educated one is, the first childbirth definitely puts women in the hands of her family and friend’s decisions and assumptions. Mekha Ann Shaji, a Lamaze Childbirth Educator and founder of Inizio Birth aims to break these complex emotions down into simpler terms and empower women with all the knowledge that they should know.

Many of us build our expectations for pregnancy and birth based on what we see on TV and in the movies. But learning about what these experiences are actually like can help you feel prepared and confident.

Midday Online asked Mekha, to debunk some of the most common pregnancy myths.

“By guiding women through what to expect during their pregnancy and delivery, we can help them avoid a lot of nervousness and fear about the unexpected,” she says.

1. Moms-to-be Are Eating for Two

You may have heard that pregnancy means you don’t have to concern yourself with calories for nine months. It seems to make sense - you are feeding yourself and your baby - but it’s not good advice..

Some weight gain during pregnancy is natural of course, but how many kilos/ pounds you should add depends on your weight before you were pregnant. A woman of healthy weight (a BMI of between 18.5 and 25) is recommended to gain between 11-15kgs. But a woman with a higher BMI  should gain about half as much, 4-9kgs.

And while some myths are harmless, this one can actually be dangerous. Gaining too much weight during pregnancy can lead to an overweight newborn and potential long-term effects on the baby’s health.

“Healthy weight gain during pregnancy depends on where you start, and thinking about it as ‘eating for two’ can be a harmful attitude,” Ms. Mekha  said.

2. Your Water Breaking Will Be a Dramatic Call to Action

A woman’s water breaking is often played up on screen to dramatic effect. In real life, it’s likelier to be a trickle than a gush.

“It could be a steady trickle, and it could go off-and-on. Woman who attend childbirth sessions with me often have this doubt in their minds.”

Moreover, a woman’s water breaking - meaning her baby’s protective amniotic sac has ruptured, a normal part of labor - doesn’t mean she has to rush to the hospital. The actual rupture of water only occurs in 8 percent of women at full term.

“As long as your baby is moving fine and you don’t have contractions or abnormal bleeding, you can usually wait at home for few hours after your water breaks,” she says. “It can take an average of 31 hours for most women to deliver.But however once your bag of waters rupture the hospital puts you on a clock of 24 hours.” You’ll want to talk to your doctor about what signs of labor mean you’re ready to head to the hospital.

3. Labor Is All About Pushing

In the movies, delivery seems to be a series of demands to push, push, push! In real life, pushing comes only at the end.

Until the mom’s cervix expands to about 10 cm, there is no pushing at all.

“A first-time mom can expect a spontaneous urge to push for between 30 minutes and an hour,” she says. “In the second or third birth, pushing tends to last for only 10 minutes or so.”

4. You’ll Deliver Lying Down

In the movies, women all tend to deliver the same way: Lying on their back.

But Mekha says many positions can work. Having birth in an upright position is ideal but which one is best depends on a mom’s preferences.

“If a mom is most comfortable and has the easiest time pushing while crouching down, on her sides or on all fours that’s the best position for her,” she says.

5. You’ll Need to Choose Between a Cut or Tearing

The medical term is an “episiotomy,” and it means a cut to a woman’s vagina to allow the baby to fit through more easily. Though this procedure was once common, it no longer is.

“In most cases, a woman can deliver without an episiotomy, and having a perineal tear could heal faster” Mekha says.

6. You’ll Be Separated from the Baby Shortly After Birth

You may have seen this scene, especially in older movies: A newborn child is plucked from their mother’s arms within moments of birth.

“Not only does this deprive mom of the satisfaction of holding her baby, it’s not as healthy for the child. Instead, I ensure as a Doula for my clients we hand the baby to mom with the umbilical cord attached so they can make immediate skin-to-skin contact The baby is warmer, feels better and doesn’t need as much help from us when they’re held by their mother right after they’re born,” she added.

7. You and Your Partner Will Lose Control Over Your Emotions

The image of a mom who’s lost control - and a partner who faints during delivery - does not match up with reality.  Sure, delivery is stressful, but you don’t have to worry about turning into a ball of wrath.

“Most couples that I assist with during their labor are not out of control, and their partners are there to support them in the way they want to be supported,” she said.

Knowing what to expect can shape a woman’s birth experience. If she’s prepared for what will happen, a woman is likely to be less nervous when it actually does.

This is why I deeply emphasise on getting yourself educated and attending childbirth classes the moment you know you have stepped into this amazing journey called pregnancy.  Education on what to expect is one of the most important parts of bringing your birth plan into the real world.

Are you feeling the parents-to-be jitters or want to assuage your fears regarding pregnancy? Try talking to Mekha! Connect with her on @iniziobirth

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