11 Things Doctors Don't Tell Us About Pregnancy & Delivery -- but Really Should

Wendy Robinson | Nov 10, 2016 Pregnancy

I had two normal, relatively healthy pregnancies. And I had top-notch prenatal care. I liked my doctors and never missed an appointment. And yet I was still totally surprised when it came time to deliver the baby; who knew I'd end up throwing up, or that epidurals sometimes don't work? Talk about unpleasant lessons to learn in the midst of trying to push out a nine-pound person. Suffice it to say, it did not make me feel more confident in my medical care. 

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I get that there is a lot of ground to cover in the average doctor's appointment, but I have to say that the whole pregnancy / labor / delivery / postpartum period is also a TERRIBLE time for surprises. I was already freaking out over having a baby for the first time and what I really needed was to know exactly what was going to happen to me. Not only that, but having a "surprise" happen to me was really scary because I wasn't sure if it was normal or not! Should I panic? Should I go to the hospital? Not to get too down on my doctor, but there are some things she should have told me! 

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After talking to some other moms, I'm convinced that there are some things that our doctors are just not telling us. Consider this the list of all the things we really needed to know. 

Image via Alex James Bramwell/Shutterstock

  • Surprise of the Worst Kind

    1

    "My doctor didn't tell me that postpartum cramping is worse with subsequent pregnancies. It was a total surprise of the worst kind!" -- Meagan B., Williamsburg, Virginia

  • Postpartum Anxiety

    2

    "I feel like my doctor told me or at least talked to me about postpartum depression but I don't think ANYONE ever told me that postpartum anxiety was also a possibility.

    I had terrible anxiety for the first few months after my son was born, caused at least in part by my hormones after birth. I could barely leave the house. I thought I was crazy, a bad mother, you name it. When I finally mentioned something to my son's pediatrician, he was the one who finally said, 'Oh, yes, that is something real, that can happen.' It helped to have someone say that." -- Name withheld by request

  • After the Miscarriage

    3

    "I had a miscarriage early in my second trimester. My doctor didn't tell me that there was a possibility that I might lactate after that happened. That was really hard." -- Emily S., San Diego, California

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  • How Long It Takes to Heal

    4

    "My doctor never really talked to me about what things would be like postpartum. Like, how long things would be oozing out of me or the fact that it can take FOREVER to heal from nerve damage that comes with tears. It was a year before my vagina felt normal." -- Kacey T., Beaverton, Oregon

  • Cramping Is Normal?

    5

    "I worked with a fertility doctor and was thrilled when we finally got pregnant. I'm still really surprised that he never mentioned that you can feel mild cramps in the early weeks of being pregnant. 

    I got a positive test and that felt crampy -- I was terrified! A heads up would have been nice." -- Melody W., Altoona, Iowa

  • Bottle Shaming

    6

    "Even though I was very upfront with my doctor about the fact that I did not plan to breastfeed, she never really talked to me about what I could expect in terms of getting engorged and having milk come in. I also feel like she could have prepped me for how to deal with pushy lactation consultants and judgy nurses at the hospital. Like, is there some code words that make the bottle shaming stop?" -- Jackie B., Saint Paul, Minnesota

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  • Pause to Puke

    7

    "I wish my doctor had told me how common it is to throw up during labor. I had no idea! I ended up pushing, pausing to puke, pushing ... for over an hour! It was awful." -- Renee M., Tucson, Arizona

  • Real Life Afterwards

    8

    "Going to the ob-gyn while pregnant is so weird. You see them way more regularly than you see any other doctors and it feels like you are a team. But I wish mine had been more open or something about what real life is like afterwards. I just didn't know how much everything in my life would change, especially didn't expect that things would change so much with my husband. Can I be real? I HATED him for a few weeks there. 

    I feel like part of pregnancy care should involve helping prepare us for life afterwards." -- Leslie B., Mendota Heights, Minnesota 

  • Goodbye Birth Plan

    9

    "I was kind of surprised that my doctor didn't seem all that interested when I tried to tell her about my birth plan. What she didn't tell me was how quickly your birth plan flies out the window once labor really gets going. 

    Also, the nurses REALLY don't care about your birth plan. Like, AT ALL." -- Terrie J., Lexington, Kentucky

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  • NICU Sucks

    10

    "I didn't have a high risk pregnancy, so maybe that is why my doctor didn't talk to me about what it would be like if my little guy ended up there. 

    I gave birth at 33 weeks and I didn't know that if you have a kid in the NICU, you end up with pretty terrible postpartum care in some ways. It is just really hard. And I didn't feel prepared." -- Lexi C., Des Moines, Iowa

  • Bald Spot

    11

    "I was the first of my friends to have a baby so nobody warned me about the hair loss after delivery. I thought there was something seriously wrong with me. I practically had a bald spot!" -- Mary E., Phoenix, Arizona

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