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5 Surprising Facts About Labour

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Snuggle Bugz partnered with Jaclyn Harper (née Colville) from Harper Designs in Burlington to find out what her top 5 biggest surprises were coming out of her first prenatal class!

We think you'll be just as shocked as she was with some of this info! Read on for more...


"Well... I'm not going to lie. There are a lot of things that I didn't know about labour. My husband Ryan and I decided to pay for a prenatal class this past weekend and boy was it it useful. It was an all day class with another couple and it really opened our eyes.

I feel like I took SO MUCH information home from our session that I really wanted to share some of the most important things that I learned with you. I've narrowed it down to the top 5 things that I DIDN'T know about labour. Hopefully these tips can help you out."

Jaclyn Harper, Harper Designs

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Labour is Long

Okay, okay... I know that in every case this is different. If it's your second or third child this might not be the case. Did you know that some women can be in early labour for a matter of days?!

I kept worrying that if I went into labour I'd have to drive myself because my husband wouldn't get home from work in time. I'm a lot less worried about that now. From our class I learned that your first contractions in early labour are very sporadic and can be extremely spaced out. You're not supposed to go to the hospital until your contractions are 4-1-1:

  • 4 Minutes apart
  • 1 Minute long, and
  • Timed for 1 hour

It's Not Like the Movies

You know how in the movies you always see the girl walking through the grocery store or out on a dinner date and her water breaks? It gushes everywhere and they have to race her to the hospital?

Ya... that only happens for 10% of women. Most women start with contractions and actually go into the hospital only to have their water broken. So my fear of being out in public and having a HUGE gush of water flowing all over is pretty slim. Phew.

The Worst Position for Labour Is...

Lying flat on your back with your feet in the stirrups. When I heard this I was like... pardon? That's how we see it happen in tv shows and movies. This was probably the one thing that shocked me the most from our class actually. When you lie on your back with your feet in the stirrups it's best for doctor not for mom or baby.

Think about it. Your pelvis is tilted upwards, so essentially you have to push your baby up and out. This position can cause more tearing and ripping than others. If you're standing up or squatting then gravity is going to help you naturally open your pelvis and push baby down and out.

I'm hoping to move around a LOT while I'm in labour to help with this.

You Can't Deliver Your Baby in a Tub

It's true! Well, in Canada anyways.

You can sit in a tub, but for some reason we can't actually deliver a baby in the water. This is different in the UK and for home births. I have been told that the water can be extremely soothing and can help reduce pain (I liked the sounds of that), but it can also slow things down.

Every hospital has different bathing situations so be sure to call ahead and find out what your ward has. They could have a stand up shower, a geriatric tub (which can be hard to get in and out of), a bath tub, or even a whirlpool tub with jets (my hospital has this!). If this is a part of your birth plan you'll want to look into this information in advance.

You Can Ask for Bed Accessories

My bed has accessories? For what!? This was something else that surprised me. There are rails you can ask for that can help you get into a proper squat off the side of your bed. If you'd like a birthing ball just ask for one.

Normally these 'accessories' are tucked away in a storage closet and can be very helpful when you're in labour.

Speaking of accessories... you might want to bring your nursing pillow with you. It can be really helpful especially for those first few times you try to breastfeed your little one.

What's the 411?

Is there anything else you learned about labour that surprised you? Give other mamas the heads up in the comments below!

Check out our Related Content for more prenatal and postnatal content!