Having my first son 8 years ago I was completely clueless about what to expect. I spoke to friends and family as well as going to my local NCT classes. This was great to understand the different stages of labour and all the pain relief options. It wasn’t until I actually went through labour that I really understood this. I discovered a few things that no one really had mentioned.


First on all check your dignity at the door, I was quite modest before I had Will. Having an examination by a doctor or removing my clothes left me quite embarrassed. Oh how this changed when I was in labour. I couldn’t have cared less if I’d have walked around the hospital naked. You will have numerous people examining you sometimes with a large RAC torch aimed at your lady bits. No I’m not joking it was an RAC torch. Labour rooms are really hot as well so stripping off is one of the only ways to keep cool.

Plans and Good Intentions

It’s a good idea to have a birth plan and make sure your birthing partner know what your wishes are. Don’t hold onto these plans too dearly though. Labour is completely unpredictable and often best made plans go out the window when baby has other ideas of how things will happen. Go into labour with an open mind and try and be adaptable if you can be. If at any time you have any concerns then make sure that you talk to your midwife and are comfortable with what is happening.

Needing the toilet

It’s really important to use the toilet regularly during labour as having an empty bladder and bowel will help when it come to pushing. You’ll find you need to time toilet breaks in between contractions as most delivery rooms don’t have an ensuite. This means leaving covering up, leaving the room and making it back between contractions.


This is just plain weird and there will be a point where you think ‘this baby is just not coming out’. Before hand I worried I wouldn’t know when I was meant to push, in retrospect this was a silly concern of mine. During labour your body just takes over and the urge to push is something you can’t help but go along with. It is a very strange sensation and yes you may well poo whilst pushing but it’s nothing midwives haven’t dealt with before.

Delivering the placenta

At this point you will hopefully be cuddling your baby and may have had an injection to help deliver the placenta. This was a little bit of a blur to me as I was so happy to be cuddling the baby that I wasn’t concentrating on this stage of labour. The midwife was pushing on my stomach and pulling the cord to remove the placenta, it wasn’t really painful, it was just a strange tugging sensation and was over with quite quickly.


I was under the impression that stitches were not the norm before I had kids. After 3 labours I have had 3 lots of stitches and most of my friends have had to have stitches as well. I can laugh about this now but when I had Will a junior doctor tried to do my stitches and actually gave up complaining he ‘didn’t know which bit went where’ before marching out of the room and sending in a midwife to do it. That’s definitely not what I or my husband wanted to hear! It all turned out fine in the end I’m happy to say.
Stitches aren’t pleasant but they do need to be done to avoid complications later on. I used the gas and air during the stitches, especially when they put in the local anaesthetic as it stings. After that it feels like a someone is tugging as the stitches go in. There was a tiny area that the local anaesthetic wouldn’t work and I used the gas and air whilst that was being stitched.

Ummm the bit after stitches…

The one thing no one told me was that after they are finished stitching they need to check your rectum and they will insert a finger to make sure it’s OK. Not a pleasant experience but it’s over with quickly.
Also if they offer you a Volteral suppository then it’s a good idea to say yes as it can give you some great pain relief for 24 hours and start to take down the inflammation.

Still it’s all worth it in the end and surprisingly we seem to forget it quite quickly, that’s why some of us are crazy enough to do it multiple times!

Anything else you’ve experienced in labour you wish you’d known before hand?

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  • Reply Georgina Prince

    omg I can’t believe your delivery rooms had no en-suite! how do you cope with this! I thought an en-suite was just standard? My mat centre they were all en-suite I couldn’t imagine in this day and age anything else! I am shocked xxxx

    March 7, 2016 at 9:05 pm
  • Reply Emma @sophieellaandme

    A great and honest post. I wish I’d read this when I was pregnant with my daughter, so I knew what to expect! x

    March 6, 2016 at 6:35 pm
  • Reply Emma White (@TheRealSupermum)

    After having 6 children I would say each birth sure is so different that you almost forget whats going to happen

    March 5, 2016 at 5:16 pm
  • Reply Alice

    I had a csection with Amelia as she was breach so can’t relate to all of it but some of it very much. The dignity part for sure. Nothing worse when you’ve had the epidural for a section and then having to be moved from one bed to another with what seemed like 50 people trying to lift me and me just being w dead weight unable to move all whilst being basically naked ha!! Great list and tips xxx

    March 4, 2016 at 7:49 am
  • Reply hijackedbytwins

    Ha ha ha I love this list! As soon as you fall pregnant you need to leave your dignity in the nearest bin lol. With my first I only found out I was expecting at 21 weeks so had no plan, no nothing. With the twins I planned but it all went out the window when they decided to arrive earlier than planned. Nothing can really prepare you for labour the first time round, but it does prepare you for others. I found I was a lot calmer with the twins x

    March 3, 2016 at 9:50 pm
  • Reply Mother Under Measure

    Josh ripped me another arsehole, putting it as bluntly as I can. I had the most painful internal tear, which almost three years on, still causes me problems. I can’t remember a lot of my labour because I was as high as a kite, but what I do remember it was bloody awful, not that lovely romantic scene you see on TV where the baby pops out all gorgeous after three pushes… It took us four bloody hours and a lot of faffing! Ugh! x

    March 3, 2016 at 6:28 pm
  • Reply Amanda (@OurWildThings)

    yes great post. You do hang up your dignity up on the door when you go in haha. xx

    March 3, 2016 at 2:45 pm
  • Reply Kerry norris

    My gooddness this is all so true. Especially the placenta part. I honestly think that gets completely left out of any discussions. Also how horrible it is to go to the toilet afterwards!!!!!! X

    March 3, 2016 at 11:55 am
  • Reply Life as Mum

    Great post. I actually didn’t know we had to als get the placenta out haha! I am not sure how I thought it would go away though.
    The pain after stitches is horrible!

    March 3, 2016 at 10:05 am
    • Reply Lisa

      Yes I thought the stitches were one of the worst parts, wish I’d been more prepared for it.

      March 3, 2016 at 10:22 am
  • Reply wonderfulandaverage

    Great post! I completely agree about dignity going out the window- people kept trying to cover me up but I was so hot I didn’t care that people could see everything! It’s also really interesting to read the parts about later on in labour as I ended up having an emergency c-section last time but am hoping to have a normal delivery this time. At least I’ll be prepared for all the weird and wonderful things that happen after reading this! #coolmumclub

    March 2, 2016 at 9:36 pm
  • Reply Hannah G, The 'Ordinary' Mum

    So true, you don’t think about these things before hand but just have to deal with them on the day- especially leaving your dignity at the door, I thought I was going to be really uncomfortable about everyone seeing my bits and bobs but once your in the situation its the last thing on your mind. And the overwhelming feeling to push is just crazy! #TheList x

    March 1, 2016 at 8:50 pm
  • Reply Candace

    Leaving your dignity at the door is one thing that you really do when you have children. Having medical issues and serious complications during both pregnancies I think every man and his dog ex aimed me!

    February 28, 2016 at 2:20 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      I just tried to remind myself that they’re all professionals and seen it all before x

      February 29, 2016 at 2:20 pm
  • Reply Sarah

    Such a true post… to be honest I don’t think no amount of talking can prepare you for it lol.. like with my two I knew it would hurt and I thought id prepared myself for it but what I imagined and what happened were two very different things xx

    February 26, 2016 at 3:50 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      One midwife told me they don’t call it labour for nothing. Still it’s all worth it in the end xx

      February 26, 2016 at 10:45 pm
  • Reply VaiChin @RamblingThroughParenthood

    Yep, spot on. They do have to check the rectum after stitches, though. Just to make sure the stitches haven’t gone through and to grade the tear.

    February 26, 2016 at 2:21 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      Glad I wasn’t the only one. Some mums said they didn’t have to had theirs checked, was feeling like I was taken advantage off!! x

      February 26, 2016 at 10:47 pm
  • Reply Robyn

    Urgh, I thought the stitches were worse than the delivery! As you say the memory dims so quickly, I’d already forgotten about ‘the bit after the stitches’ – thanks for reminding me, haha!

    February 26, 2016 at 6:38 am
    • Reply Lisa

      Yes I agree completely. Stitches were the worst bit. Sorry for reminding you x

      February 26, 2016 at 10:54 pm
  • Reply Nelo

    Going to wee after Labour, very painful, noone told me that. You just took me down memory lane there.

    February 25, 2016 at 9:53 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      Yep I forgot about that. Think I was still in a daze at this point x

      February 26, 2016 at 10:55 pm
  • Reply mummuddlingthrough

    Wow, this was a walk down memory lane! The human race is pretty awesome how it makes you forget all this stuff, or at least not care…just so long as you have that baby in your arms. Us Mums ROCK!
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

    February 25, 2016 at 9:09 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      Thanks we can do amazing things. Find it astounding that we can grow a whole new human being still x

      February 26, 2016 at 10:56 pm
  • Reply Rachel

    I have admit, having no children I have given none of this any thought, especially the placenta part x

    February 25, 2016 at 4:12 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      It’s not so bad, the placenta part is over and done with really quickly x

      February 26, 2016 at 10:57 pm
  • Reply babiesbiscuitsandbooze

    All so true! My contractions weren’t coming regularly either so I was convinced I was in false labour and I was panicking as it was really painful! It actually was the real thing though, luckily. #coolmumclub

    February 25, 2016 at 3:52 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      It’s so hard to tell isn’t it, even after you’ve been through it once. A couple of times I thought Braxton hicks were the real thing

      February 26, 2016 at 10:58 pm
  • Reply Lindsay At Newcastle Family Life

    I totally agree about leaving your dignity at the door I was so modest before having children too, when I had my third I had midwifes and a whole bunch of doctors looking at my lady bits and I honestly did not care lol xx

    February 25, 2016 at 2:12 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      Ha Ha, I lost count of how many different people examined me the week she was born. x

      February 26, 2016 at 11:00 pm
  • Reply bubbablue

    I’ve had a baby but still had no idea about the rectum bit. Bleurgh. Thankfully I had an unplanned cs, but hadn’t got anywhere near pushing stage to have any of the bits down there to deal with!

    February 25, 2016 at 11:39 am
    • Reply Lisa

      That only happens if you need stitches, still make me shudder! x

      February 26, 2016 at 11:00 pm
  • Reply agentspitback

    Yes, yes, and yes!!! I wrote a recent post about things I wish I could tell my pregnant self – and the pushing was one of those things. I was so worried about “pushing” but it is as you say, your body just takes over! #coolmumclub

    February 25, 2016 at 11:39 am
    • Reply Lisa

      Thanks hun, it’s amazing how our bodies know what to do, even if we are clueless at the time x

      February 26, 2016 at 11:01 pm
  • Reply Kara

    Haa haa – this brings back so many memories. Thankfully my birthing room had an en-suite – so much better

    February 25, 2016 at 11:19 am
    • Reply Lisa

      Yes I lucked out this time and had the only delivery suite with an ensuite x

      February 26, 2016 at 11:02 pm
  • Reply Ana De Jesus

    True my friends have said that they are more comfortable with their naked bodies because the doctor’s and random strangers have inspected their bits!

    February 25, 2016 at 12:00 am
    • Reply Lisa

      Yep I’m not nearly so bothered about it all anymore x

      February 26, 2016 at 11:02 pm
  • Reply Grant R

    Despite being present at the births of all three of my children, I never knew that the Doctor put his finger up your bum at the end. I’ll need to ask my Mrs about that. I’ll need to wait to an appropriate time though. Twelve of the family are having a dinner on Mother’s Day. I’ll bring it up then. 🙂

    February 24, 2016 at 10:28 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      Ha Ha this is my favourite comment. I think that would be an entirely appropriate time to ask your wife. Just make sure it’s nice and quiet so everyone hears x

      February 26, 2016 at 11:03 pm
  • Reply Myrabev

    I have not yet and the pleasure but excuse me for a minute whilst I laugh at the junior Doctor what did he mean “he didn’t know which bit went where?” I am assuming he just didn’t want to do it lol.

    February 24, 2016 at 8:39 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      Yes I can laugh about it now but was seriously worried at the time. My husbands face was one of utter shock!! x

      February 26, 2016 at 11:04 pm
  • Reply Steph

    I definitely don’t remember the finger in the bum bit!! That must’ve been the drugs… We’re quite lucky that our local hospital has had the delivery ward re-built and so the rooms are fabulous. All have en-suite wet rooms with walk-in showers, etc to make life a lot easier. When I had O 4.5 years ago, my husband had to help me into and hold me up in a terrible shower cubicle. I’m hoping for a much better labour this time around! x

    February 24, 2016 at 4:46 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      Wow sounds like a lovely hospital. I was lucky and got the only room with an ensuite this time. Fx

      February 26, 2016 at 11:05 pm
  • Reply cvnxena

    I had a cesarean and there is no dignity there… i am pretty sure I was naked from the boobs down! the joys of having kids ! :p no amount of planning can help you deal with labour, delivery etc .. most of the time we are all just winging it!

    February 24, 2016 at 3:50 pm
    • Reply Lisa

      I can imagine either way you have no dignity. x

      February 26, 2016 at 11:06 pm
  • Reply nessjibberjabberuk

    I never had birth plan with either of my two as I knew what ever I hoped would happen never would – I was right as well! I never remember the placenta being delivered either. Before the birth the midwives seemed obsessed with what I wanted to do with the placenta. I kept telling them I wasn’t bothered but they insisted I had to make a choice.

    February 24, 2016 at 11:29 am
    • Reply Lisa

      I didn’t really have a plan, that way when it went out of the window I couldn’t be upset! x

      February 26, 2016 at 11:10 pm
  • Reply mumzilla

    Argh, I couldn’t wee the whole time I was in labour because of where the boys head was. Then he wasn’t coming out, until the catheter arrived, at which point he arrived rather rapidly (and tear-ingly. I did not know there were ‘degrees’ of tears, let alone the 3rd degree one I had!) xx

    February 24, 2016 at 10:48 am
    • Reply Lisa

      My friend had the same thing with the catheter. I had 2nd degree tears and that was bad enough x

      February 26, 2016 at 11:10 pm
  • Reply Dean B

    That is so true about leaving your dignity behind the door. When in labour you sort of become like a “thing” people can just come in and prod, isn’t it? But all that is so worth it, especially when we hold our baby in our arms for the very first time, although of course, one shouldn’t tell a woman in labour this, because they wouldn’t appreciate it while pushing and grunting 😉 x

    February 24, 2016 at 10:40 am
    • Reply Lisa

      It is worth it all. My husband kept telling me I’d forget the pain soon enough. I could’ve punched him whilst I was in labour! x

      February 26, 2016 at 11:12 pm

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