According to Fit Pregnancy magazine, mothers are having slower labors than they were fifty years ago. The National Institutes of Health says that our 6 ½ hour labor is about two and a half hours longer than our grandmothers’. Maternal age, bigger babies, and laboring position could be just some of the causes. Whatever the reason, babies are apparently in no rush these days. Since both of mine were determined to stay in the womb as long as humanly possible, I feel for new mamas. That extra 2 ½ hours must be like that 25th mile of a marathon.
But if you are a new mother-to-be, whether it’s the first time around or the fifth, take a moment to read up on the history of how birth has changed in our culture. As pain medication became more readily accessible and women believed that doctors were safer, we started the transfer from at-home midwife births to hospital births around the turn of the century. Though in recent years, there has been a new surge for midwives and birthing centers. I chat with many moms about their own experiences and I’ve heard a wide range of stories from scheduled cesareans to home water births to unassisted births. Have you heard of that last one? I’m convinced that any momma who does that deserves a medal of honor and maybe a superhero cape. I, however, am too much of a chicken.
If I could offer any wisdom to someone doing this for the first time, I’d advise you never to be afraid to ask questions. There may have been a time when you did what your doctor told you to do, but this is a new day and age. Trust your gut, ladies!
For those of you who have had babies before, what advice would you give an expectant mommy?