It can take ages
In films and TV shows the sprog always pops nimbly out after just few minutes of panting and grunting. But in reality you can be sat there, legs akimbo with people talking directly to your lady bits, for HOURS. Especially if you're a first time mum. Just think of it as an… adventure?… and you'll be fine.
It may hurt
A lot of mums-to-be might assume the epidural will instantly and completely eradicate all childbirth pain and discomfort. Well, maybe. Or it maybe not. The truth is, the epidural might only take the edge off things a bit. Or numb some parts of you while leaving other bits all-too-awake. Or it might start off OK and then slowly wear off during labour, which is about as much fun as you'd expect.
You'll probably do a number two
You've probably heard that some women poo while giving birth. Let's put it another way: you, not "some women", but YOU will probably poo while giving birth. The good news is that you really won't care because your mind will be on more important things, and it's hard to give a hoot about decorum when strangers are rummaging around between your splayed thighs. Also remember, doctors and midwives have seen it all before. So just go ahead and poo.
There may be eggs of blood
There's no point denying it: giving birth does your body a bit of a mischief. And the recovery process will involve bleeding. And not just regular type bleeding. We're talking blood clots slipping out of your vagina – big thick blobby egg-like blood clots which may make you slightly worry you're dying. Don't worry, you're not. It's all part of the "miracle of childbirth". So, you know, enjoy it.
Your waters can keep breaking
Think "waters breaking" and you may get the mental image of a woman standing in a supermarket aisle, minding her own business when suddenly a tsunami surges down between her legs, prompting a frantic taxi dash to the hospital. In reality, in the vast majority of cases, waters break after labour has already started, so it probably won't take you by surprise. Alternatively, labour may not actually start until many hours after your waters break. Plus, it'll probably be more of a trickle than a gush, and may stop and start like an annoying tap. .
Breastfeeding might hurt
Breastfeeding is among the most sacred acts of motherhood, and a powerful way a woman can bond with her child. It can also hurt like crazy. Even if you've got it all straight in your head, and your baby's latched on correctly – it can still hurt in the early days. The sensation will pass, though, and you can get on with the business of being an ethereal earth goddess.
Things can get awfully slimy
Few word combinations in the English language are as unappealing as "mucus plug". And yet, that's what pregnancy gifts you with: a mucus plug, right there in your cervix. It's a kind of jelly-like blob which, around labour-time, will dislodge and plop out and make it look like someone's blown their nose into your knickers. Sometimes it's tinged with blood, so it'll look like someone's blown their nose into your knickers after being smacked in the face. Lovely.
Your baby may look odd
It's not just your baby's skin that's tender to the touch. His or her actual skull is incredibly soft too, which is why many babies are born with pointy or cone-shaped noggins. This can look rather startling to unsuspecting parents, but rest assured that's just what happens when something soft and malleable is shoved through a rather narrow hole. The head should look suitably adorable and angelic in no time.
You have to give birth again
Getting your baby born is only half the job at hand. There's also the placenta, rather appropriately known as the afterbirth. This big meaty organ was your baby's womb-mate and has to come out as well – which means that, straight after delivering your sprog, you'll likely be jabbed in the leg with a hormone to stimulate yet more contractions. Which is great, because you definitely, definitely won't have got tired of contractions by that point.
You may wet yourself for some time after
Try not to sneeze, laugh, cough, walk or do anything whatsoever in the weeks after giving birth. Due to your pelvic floor not being in exactly tip-top condition, you'll likely wee yourself a bit at the slightest provocation. But if you find yourself getting annoyed, we suggest glancing at your baby's little face. Then having "urinary incontinence" will seem totally worth it.