Here we look at some popular misconceptions about labour and birth and give you the facts.
The thought behind this is that these will stimulate the digestive system, and in turn the uterus, but there is no evidence that any of these will work. You are much more likely to end up with diarrhoea or heartburn.
A ‘show’ is when the blood-tinged plug of mucus that has been protecting your uterus from infection during your pregnancy is discharged from the vagina. It can appear as a single blob or in several bits.
Although a show is a sign that the cervix is softening, it doesn’t mean that labour has begun. Labour may not start for a few days, and in some cases, a few weeks after a show.
Having your waters break unexpectedly in the middle of the supermarket or at work is a very common worry, compounded by TV shows and films where labour is often depicted as starting with a theatrical, public whoosh of amniotic fluid. In reality this is pretty unlikely to happen.
When the amniotic sac, the bag of fluid your baby has been growing in, ruptures the amniotic fluid drains out through the vagina. This is more likely to be a slow or constant trickle, certainly at first – a big dramatic gush is a lot less common.
Your waters may break before any contractions start, but it’s more usual for it to happen when you are in labour, so you are unlikely to be in a supermarket or at work!
Once your waters have broken there is a risk of infection, so if your contractions haven’t started naturally after 24-48 hours induction of labour may be offered.
The cervix, pelvic floor muscles and birth canal have already been stretched by the first birth so it’s true that second and subsequent labours tend to be shorter. But this doesn’t make them any less painful – they just don’t last as long.
Even though you have spent hours planning how you want you labour and birth to be managed, your birth plan should be viewed as a birth strategy rather than as a plan that everyone has to stick rigidly to.
Things can change when you go into labour and you may want or need to change your plans. Not having the birth that your planned doesn’t mean you have failed in any way – it’s what best for you and your baby that matters
Internationally, in the UK more than half of all twins are born by Caesarean, however, it is perfectly possible to have a vaginal birth if there are no complications. If the first twin is in a head down position a vaginal birth should be possible.