9 Gross Things That Can Happen During Delivery


Think having a baby looks the way it does in the movies? Guess again!

Here’s 9 totally unexpected and gross things that can happen during delivery.

If you are like me, by the end of the 9th month of pregnancy, you are feeling ‘over it’. In fact, by about 7 months I was feeling pretty ready to meet my little guy. Feeling heavy, uncomfortable, bloated, nauseous and tired, I was eager to get the show on the road.

As a medical student I assisted in many deliveries, and remember some very vividly. I have seen things I never wanted to see and never want to see again. Delivery is a MESS, and isn’t typically the sterile experience many parents envision. Because of my experiences, I always dreaded delivering my own kids. Would it be a bloodbath? Would there be an embarrassing mess? Would I scream and sound like ‘one of those women’ crying and begging for a divorce? I think many health care professionals can relate – delivery is gross and can bring out the worst in us!

 Because we moms don’t often share the yucky side of delivery, and what you can actually expect, I share here 9 things that can happen during delivery that you don’t want to see in your baby birth video.

Pooping on the table

I don’t think I have ever had a girlfriend tell me they did this, but many women do. Think about it: you are pushing a huge thing out of you, and bearing down like you have never had to do. In fact, delivery for me always felt like taking the biggest dump of my life. Many women – likely most women – poo on the table. It is gross and smells bad. But it happens. Poor nurses…

Losing your mucus plug

Gross – albeit not as gross as pooing in front of the health staff and your partner. When you cervix opens to accommodate the baby, mucus that was plugging the opening these last months comes out. Some people lose it weeks before the baby comes, others during labour. It is a gooey, rubbery thing, and kind of yucky.

Golden showers

Most would agree this isn’t nearly as yucky as pooing on yourself, but it’s kind of gross nonetheless. Same idea as before – you are pushing and there is tons of pressure. If you have been getting intravenous fluids during your delivery, you are making tons of pee. It has to come out eventually! Post-delivery, your pelvic floor muscles are stretched out, leading to weakness in holding in your pee.

Water breaking

Did you know that only 10% of women have their water break on it’s own before they go into labour? That typical movie scene when the water breaks and a woman feels the rush and urgently rushes to the hospital; that doesn’t happen much. I had my water break in hospital with each of my deliveries and there is nothing like it. It’s like peeing your pants a hundred times. Boy, there is a lot of fluid in there, and it is warm and wet. Imagine a huge water balloon being broken, inside you. Yuck.

Puking everywhere

Many women get nauseous during labour, brought on by hormone fluctuations, fatigue, and the pain medications. Don’t be shy about asking for a basin – better a discrete puke than a mess on the floor!

Farting with no restraint

We all have gas, really. We fart many times a day, but can typically control the time and place. We can step outside a room when we are with our partner, boss, or friend. We can tense our muscles to make it quieter. We have some control. Add an epidural, pain and hormones to the mix, and well, many pass gas with abandon during delivery.

Are you getting the picture? Delivery is a dirty, smelly mess.

Post-delivery bleeding

No one can prepare you for the amount of bleeding that happens during and after delivery. Imagine your heaviest period, on steroids, times a thousand. Truly, you will bleed a lot, and it’s wet and sticky and gross. Many women continue to have bleeding and discharge for weeks to months post delivery. Stock up on extra absorbent pads now. ‘Nuff said.

Sticky, smelly baby

No one tells you your baby will come out stinky and gooey. Babies are covered with a thick, creamy, cottage-cheese-like discharge called vernix. It smells terrible. I admit, I was grossed out by my kids when I first held them. I loved them and was so glad to be done with the delivery and pregnancy, but I was a bit grossed out. I went to kiss them and was thinking, ‘I need a towel.’ Who’s with me?

Placenta delivery

Did you know that after hours of labour and pushing, after your baby comes out you still have to push out another thing!? After attending plenty of deliveries, I didn’t even remember this when I delivered my first. The placenta delivers food and nutrients to your baby during pregnancy, and it has to come out too. So after all the annoyance of pushing out your baby, you are not yet done. Typically the placenta comes out relatively easily, but does require some work by your delivery staff, and you’ll feel pressure and pain till it comes out. You may have a hand reaching into your uterus, literally, to get it out! If you have twins, you may have 2 placentas in addition to your two babies. Props to you ladies!

So there you have it – 9 gross things that can happen during delivery you (likely) didn’t know. What can you do? Babies are amazing, and I wouldn’t change having mine for anything. But man, it is yucky.

Please share with me what you found disgusting about delivery! And want to read about mine? You can check that one out here.

Dr. Dina Kulik, MD, FRCPC, PEM

Written By: Dr. Dina Kulik, MD, FRCPC, PEM

Dina is a wife, mother of 4, and adrenaline junky. She loves to share children’s health information from her professional and personal experience. More About Dr Dina.

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