I have had the chance to be deployed on a covert Mums’ Army mission and go undercover with a hard-working midwife to ask those questions we really want to ask but are too afraid or embarrassed to.
I’m interrogating a lovely undercover midwife who has been doing a fantastic job for over 6 years now and she is more than happy to speak honestly and openly.
Do you secretly laugh when someone does a poo in labour?
Never! In fact if someone does a poo in labour we are secretly chuffed because it usually means there is a baby’s head pushing the poo out and we know it won’t be long before he/she is born.
Will mums that scream and shout during labour be ridiculed by the midwives?
I hope that they wouldn’t, as I was a screamer myself. We may just discretely close the door to the lady’s room if she is of the vocal variety. Some midwives may ask you to quieten down, especially during the pushing stage, but don’t take offence at this because it’s often the case that if someone is screaming during the pushing part of the labour, all the energy comes out of your mouth and not down the other end which is where the energy needs to be to get the baby out!
During the 1st stage of labour, scream to your hearts content and do whatever you need to do to get through it. I’ve looked after ladies who don’t make a noise, those who moo like a cow, those who scream and swear and some who say my name over and over again, each and every one is unique and I haven’t had any experience of a lady being ridiculed so far.
Do you care about what a ladies vagina looks like?
Nope, we couldn’t care less. We are focusing on what is coming out of the lady’s vagina not what it looks like.
Do you get any personal abuse during labour?
Yes we get sworn at and screamed at and some will kick out whilst in labour but we know that it is (usually) not personal, it is a reaction to the pain of labour and it is (usually) all smiles once the baby is in their arms.
What is the best thing that Dad can do during labour?
The best thing he can do is be there, be supportive, hold her hand, massage her back, make sure she keeps drinking water, listen to her, back off if she asks him to and don’t take offence if she does! He should also feel free to ask any questions as after all it is his baby and it should be a shared experience.
What is the worse thing a Dad can do during labour?
Probably leave to get a MacDonald’s when his partner is pushing! Moan about how tired he is, or about his hand hurting when she is squeezing it whilst trying to push something the size of a melon through something the size of an apple!
What is the most common fear mums face during labour and what advice would you give?
Many women are worried they will poo! But see my answer to Question 1. The body is very clever and will usually empty out the bowels before you go into labour so fingers crossed it won’t happen but if it does, rest assured the midwives will not be pointing and laughing saying ‘omg you just did a poo!’.
They will be very discrete, clean it away and it is very likely that you won’t even know it happened and if you do know, it’s highly unlikely that you will even care.
What do you love most about your job?
It’s probably a cliché, but it’s an absolute honour to be able to support women and their families through such a significant time in their lives. Whether it is a joyous occasion or a sad one, being able to make a difference is a privilege and I wouldn’t swap that feeling for the world.
There tends to be a focus on the actual birth, but pregnancy, birth and beyond is a journey that midwives are very lucky to be able to support women through. The first time they meet the midwife, the first time they see their baby in a scan, the first time they hear the baby’s heart beat, the first time they feel the baby kick, the excitement of the birth and the first time they hold the baby in their arms – every single part of that journey is a special one.
What do you like the least about your job?
The paperwork! So much paperwork, I watch ‘Call the Midwife’ and feel envious of the apparent lack of paperwork. Just turn up, deliver a baby and leave, what bliss.
However, the positives far outweigh any negatives and I love what I do.
What is your top tip for a smooth hassle free labour?
Expectation is the devil. Babies do not work to a timetable or a plan. The best advice I can give is not to plan too much, have an open mind, go with the flow and enjoy it!
Thank you to our lovely undercover midwife for your honest and insightful answers.
Is there anything you wished you’d asked your midwife but were too afraid or embarrassed to? Is there anything you would like to ask our undercover midwife?
Photo credit: Designed by Freestockcenter / Freepik