There's a lot that people tell you in preparation for the birth of your child. But there's a lot that they don't tell you, too.
- Step 1: Expect to experience love like nothing you've ever felt before -- which makes the stretch marks, labor, and all the rest worthwhile.
- FACT: On average, active labor lasts up to 8 hours.
- Step 2: Prepare for a lot of bleeding. Your first shower after childbirth may be shocking for the amount of blood you pass. And bleeding can continue for up to 6 weeks postpartum, so have maxi pads on hand.
- TIP: Ineffective epidurals only happen in about 5 percent of patients.
- Step 3: Be prepared to still look pregnant after the baby is born. Losing baby weight is a deliberate process that takes a lot of work, and you may still be wearing your maternity jeans weeks or months after giving birth.
- Step 4: Realize that epidurals may not always work. Occasionally, the medicine does not get delivered properly or only some of the medicine gets delivered, resulting in delayed relief or no pain relief at all.
- Step 5: Know that you will likely get stretch marks, even if you can't see them yet. They may appear underneath your belly, where you won't see them until after the birth.