5 most asked questions as a Midwife
Written by Lauren Brenton (@OneMamaMidwife), Clinical Midwifery Specialist (CMS)
Midwives are perfectly positioned to support and help women throughout pregnancy, the birth and the postpartum period. This means that we get thousands of questions a day and I can confirm none of them are “silly questions”.
Here are my top 5 most frequently asked questions:
1. Will I have any milk?
The short answer is yes!! Colostrum is the first milk that is produced by the breast and it is produced between weeks 14-16 of pregnancy. This means that you will have some colostrum there ready for your baby. Whether you can express some out before, or whether you leak colostrum in pregnancy are not indicators that you will not be able to feed your baby. When your baby is born, your breastmilk is produced in from supply and demand, meaning that the more you feed your baby and stimulate your breasts, the more milk you will produce. This explains why babies cluster feed lots in the first 6 weeks of life.
2. How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?
The best indicators that baby is getting enough milk are:
- That they are putting on weight as expected for their age
- That they are having at least 6-8 wet nappies in a 24 hour period
- They are settled in-between most feeds
- They have a good colour (pink not pale)
- They have good tone, meaning that when they are awake they have good muscle tone and don’t appear lethargic.
Remember, you know your baby the best and if you are concerned it is always a good idea to check with a healthcare professional.
3. Am I going to open my bowels during labour?
Yes, no, maybe… truth is no one really knows. Generally, most women will have nausea and diarrhoea prior to going into labour or in early labour, meaning that you generally don’t open your bowels during birth. When you push your baby down the birth canal, it feels as though you are opening your bowels. This is a great sign for midwives as it means you’re pushing in the right spot!! If you do happen to open your bowels, the good thing is that midwives are so used to this (that it’s really not even a thought to us) and we wipe it away quickly so that you don’t notice. The important thing is that you keep pushing and don’t worry about if you open your bowels or not.
4. Will I still have postpartum blood loss if I have a caesarean?
Yes, postpartum blood loss comes from the placental site once the placenta has been removed, along with shedding of the uterine lining that is no longer required after birth. As the uterus contracts back down to normal, you will have postpartum bleeding regardless of if you have a vaginal birth or a caesarean birth. Postpartum blood loss after a caesarean can sometimes be lighter than blood loss after a vaginal birth and can last 6-8 weeks after birth. It is important that if you are soaking more than one maternity pad an hour that you let your midwife know.
5. If you have sex during pregnancy can you hurt the baby?
The neck of the uterus (the cervix) is closed during pregnancy and the baby is well cushioned in the uterus. As long as your water’s haven’t broken, you will not harm your baby by having sex during pregnancy. Once your water’s have broken your risk of infection increases so, it is recommended to not have sex. The most important thing to consider when having sex with your partner during pregnancy is that you find a comfortable position and that you are not lying flat on your back.
As midwives we have heard every question under the sun, so if you ever have any questions or concerns always ask your healthcare professional.