Interesting Childbirth and Delivery Facts

For a fun change-up, I thought I’d write an article on unusual or little known facts about childbirth, delivery and newly born babies. Then you can take your favorites and amaze your friends.

To start out, I thought I would first burst a few bubbles as to how a childbirth and delivery looks on TV or in the movies and how it really is. Water Breaking In Hollywood…

  • On a sitcom, how many times have you seen a pregnant woman’s water break with a huge gush, splashing all over the place, and to boot, she is usually somewhere out in public.

    In reality, your water (which is the amniotic fluid that has been protecting your baby during your entire pregnancy) doesn't break in a large splatter at your feet. It will actually be a slower, more gradual seeping flow. It’s more like you are continuously peeing yourself in a long slow trickle.

    And, only 1 in 10 mother’s water breaks before labor begins. Most of the time, your water will break just before the second stage of labor (the pushing stage), when you will be nearly fully dilated.

    But, if your water does break, it doesn’t mean you have to drop everything and rush to the hospital. You might not even be having contractions yet. However, once your water breaks, your baby can be more vulnerable to infection via your vagina, so, within 24 hours of your water breaking, if you haven’t gone into labor, your doctor will most probably give you something to induce labor.

  • On TV and in the movies, when the pushing is portrayed, the mother pushes a few times, and whoosh, the baby is out.

    In reality, it can take way more than one or two, or even twenty or thirty pushes to push that baby out. And even your doctor, midwife, or birth coach might forget to mention this.

    It is perfectly normal for pushing to be lengthy, particularly with a first birth. It can take one or two, or more hours, and this is all fine.

  • And of course, the newly born baby on TV or in the movies is beautiful when most likely the baby used to portray the newborn is actually a week or so old. In reality your baby, although perfectly healthy, may not be so beautiful to look at. Often times, a newborn baby’s head is misshapen due to delivery. This will correct itself.

    Further, some babies are covered with a fine, sometimes dark, downy hair, called lanugo. This hair may be all over the baby, including on the ears, chin, etc. Usually this hair will fall off before birth, but occasionally it doesn’t. It your baby is born covered with hair, it will most likely disappear in a few days to a few weeks. My beautiful daughter had this hair all over her ears, shoulders and neck.

  • Finally, many times on TV and in the movies, particularly in sitcoms, the daddy-to-be suffers from symptoms that are just like those the pregnant moms are experiencing. This is actually a true phenomenon. It is surprisingly common for a daddy-to-be to start gaining weight, and even get morning sickness. And even feel cramps. This condition is known as a sympathetic pregnancy and it’s a real-live occurrence.
Okay, now how about some fun “amazing” newborn baby facts.

Facts on Newborn Babies:

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  • Only 5 % of babies are born on their due date. That’s a pretty low percentage. So don’t count on yours being right! 50% are born within one week of the due date, and 90% within two weeks. So don’t lose all hope. And the most popular day for babies to be born is Tuesday, followed closely by Monday.

    And surprise, on average, not December or January babies, but May babies are the heaviest.

  • Your baby has no kneecaps at birth! They usually don’t develop them fully until after 6 months; before then there is a structure made of softer cartilage that resembles a kneecap.
  • Your new baby cannot cry. Your baby can scream and holler for what he/she wants or needs, but your baby cannot technically cry. Tears can’t actually be created or released until about three weeks. However, sometimes it can take up to 4 or 5 months for a baby to produce their first tears – and remember, whether 3 weeks or 5 months, this is all normal.
  • New babies have more bones than adults. A new baby has 300 bones. Adults have 206. The newborn baby’s bones will fuse together during growth, eventually reducing the number to 206.
  • Newborn babies can hear as well as you do. When your baby startles at a sound, it is not because it is loud or soft, but because it is new. And your baby can smell really well too. A newborn’s eyesight is just about as good as an adult’s too. The difference is that the baby’s brain cannot process the information as well as an adult brain can.
  • The voice and smell of you, the mother, is recognized by your baby from birth.
  • A baby is typically able to smile a real, non-gassy smile at about one month old.
  • Your baby is really very strong, and in fact, stronger than most animals. An ox is the best example of comparable strength! And, the strongest part of your baby.. his legs. I think the same is true of me.

Just plain fun things to know:

  • The heaviest baby ever born was a boy who weighed 22 pounds, eight ounces. He was born in Italy in 1955.
  • If you want to increase your chances of having twins, eat more yams! A tribe in Africa whose diet consists mostly of yams was found to have very high rates of twins and multiple births.
  • Motherhood makes you smarter. Even though pregnancy can take a toll on your body (largely because your baby eats first – grabbing the nutrients he/she needs and leaving you the leftovers – this is why you should eat healthy), during and after pregnancy, your efficiency, resiliency, perception, and motivation will all improve.
  • And your sense of smell and taste gets sharper. I really noticed this one. Some scientists say that this is a protection mechanism. Your body becomes hyper-protective against possible toxins, making you sensitive to avoid toxin levels that might be fine for adults but could be dangerous to an unborn baby.
  • The bad news – your feet may get larger during pregnancy. The good news is that they usually go back to normal size after the baby is born.
  • And yes, you really are glowing. And no, it’s not just that you are excited about being pregnant. While you are pregnant, the amount of blood in your body will increase by 50%. This extra blood ends up showing through the skin in many areas, particularly the cheeks. And on top of this, hormones cause your oil glands to become more active, resulting in softer shinier skin. So, you definitely “glow”.
  • The youngest mother ever is reported to be a five-year-old girl in Peru who gave birth to a baby boy in 1939. Her father took her to the hospital for an abnormal abdominal growth and tests found she was 7 months pregnant.
  • The world’s longest pregnancy was 375 days – over one year long! And the baby weighed a little less than seven pounds.
  • And finally, there is the poor Russian woman who reportedly gave birth to 69 children in the 18th century, during 27 pregnancies. She had 16 pairs of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four quadruplets. So glad not to be this woman!