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Don't Expect Your Ob-Gyn to Be Present During Labor. Here's Why
PHOTO BY @atyana_tomsickova/iStock
  • Think you know how labor day will go? 

    When you’re pregnant for the first time, you read up and research about your baby’s development inside your womb, the changes in your body, and of course, what labor is like. Most of what you’ll find online will be helpful, but there will be details that you’ll only really know about once you’re on your own birthing journey.

    There are, however, a number of things that we think we know, but not really. Here are a few of them.

    Labor day common beliefs

    Your water will break before you begin labor. 

    In the movies, the pregnant woman is usually depicted to be unaware that she may be going into labor until she feels water flowing down her legs. 

    The reality: “It’s much more common to go into labor starting with contractions, and your water may not break until right before you give birth,” Laura Dean, M.D., ob-gyn at the Stillwater Medical Group in Minnesota, told Parents.

    According to Judith Tinkelenberg, a midwife at a birthing center in California, “Eighty-five percent of women go into labor within 24 hours of their water breaking. The other 15 percent could take as long as four or five days.” 

    And even if your water breaks first, it’s possible that labor may not start right away. But inform your doctor when it does.

    What other parents are reading


    When your cervix dilates, you’ll give birth immediately.

    The reality: A pregnant woman can go into labor before she begins to dilate. On the other hand, “the cervix can start to dilate and efface weeks before labor actually starts,” says Dr. Dean. So expect your ob-gyn to check your cervix regularly as you near your due date. That will become the “baseline” which will be used to compare once you’re admitted.

    Your doctor will be there when you get to the hospital / throughout your labor.

    The reality: Your doctor isn’t late if she arrives close to the time you’re actually about to give birth — this is just how it really is. In the meantime, her medical team will regularly update her on your progress, and will inform her should anything out of the ordinary comes up. They are trained to closely monitor you while your doctor attends to other patients.


    Once your baby is in your arms, delivery is over. 

    The reality: After your baby is born, you’ll still have to wait about half an hour or so for the placenta to pass. But don’t worry, that part won’t be painful at all.

    Feeling nervous about D-day? It’s normal. But know that not everything you’ve read or head about labor is correct.

    What other parents are reading

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