12 misconceptions about pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period!

The clichés surrounding maternity are hard to dispel! Whether it's from friends or family, social networks or Google searches, we hear and read all kinds of things... To make things clearer, we have, with the help of the midwives at the Clinique Générale-Beaulieu maternity hospital, selected and debunked 12 preconceived ideas about pregnancy, childbirth and the post-partum period. If you still have doubts or questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

Mother and child lying on the bed

1. Physiological childbirth is not possible in a private clinic!

FALSE
Physiological childbirth is perfectly possible in a private clinic. The mother lists all her wishes in a birth plan or during the prenatal interview, and the midwives will do their utmost to respect them. During labor, she will be able to mobilize freely thanks to wireless monitoring sensors and waterproofs; enjoy the benefits of a warm bath; use mats and balls to encourage mobilization; and put on subdued lighting and her favorite music for a serene, cocooning atmosphere in complete safety.

2. You need to eat for two during pregnancy !

FAUX
Pas pour deux mais deux fois mieux ! Le premier trimestre, les besoins augmentent faiblement de <100kcal par jour (ce qui équivaut à un fruit type une pomme) puis, ils augmentent d’environ 500kcal par jour au deuxième et troisième trimestre (ce qui équivaut à une collation complète en plus par jour comme 2 tranches de pain complet, une barre de chocolat, et un fruit). La prise de poids recommandée pendant la grossesse dépend de la corpulence de la maman mais, en moyenne, elle se situe entre 11 et 16 kg.

3. Having sex during pregnancy can trigger labour!

FALSE
A few uterine contractions may be felt after intercourse, but they are harmless and do not risk inducing childbirth (subject to medical advice). An active and fulfilling sexuality is beneficial and perfectly compatible with a healthy pregnancy. You need to listen to your body and your desires. Certain positions may need to be adapted for greater comfort, but other than that, you're in the clear (smile).

4. When the water breaks, it's a flood!

TRUE AND FALSE
It's called the water sac, but in reality there are two membranes (the Amnion and the Chorion). When the mother ruptures the sac(s), it's not painful, as there are no nerves inside. If both sacs rupture at the same time, there's no doubt that she'll be soaked and warm liquid will flow out. If it's as clear as water, she'll be able to take a shower and make her way to the maternity ward. If it's green or brown, it means the baby has eliminated its first stool, its first meconium, and you need to get to the maternity ward without delay (don't forget to wear sanitary towels, as the liquid never stops flowing). If only the first membrane ruptures, there won't be a large puddle, but rather a continuous, drop-by-drop flow.

5. Bowel movements during childbirth don't just happen to other people! !

TRUE
If the rectum is full at the time of the baby's birth, stool will indeed be passed due to the pressure of pushing. This is a legitimate fear shared by many women, but it's important to reassure yourself that nature does things well. In most cases, a mother going into labour will have a spontaneous bowel movement, and if she wishes, she can ask for an enema.

6. Once a C-section, always a C-section!

FALSE
It all depends on the reason for the delivery, the length of time since the first caesarean and the context of the next delivery (breech, past term, etc.). The gynecologist will decide whether or not to authorize a vaginal delivery, depending on the health risks for both mother and baby. However, it is perfectly possible to have a vaginal delivery after a first caesarean section.

7. I'll love my baby at first sight !

TRUE AND FALSE
Every woman/mother is different, and the maternal instinct is not necessarily innate. It sometimes takes a little time to discover, get to know and love the baby that has spent 9 months in your belly. As the saying goes: "You're not born a mother, you become one".

8. Breastfeeding is a contraceptive method !

TRUE AND FALSE
Breastfeeding can be a natural short-term contraceptive method, provided 3 strict criteria are met: the baby must be less than 6 months old, the mother must not have returned from childbirth (menstruation), and breastfeeding must be exclusive (at least every 4 hours during the day and every 6 hours at night). If these conditions are met, the method is 98% reliable.

9. Breastfeeding makes you lose weight !

TRUE
According to some studies, breastfeeding helps you return to a healthy weight more quickly. However, not breastfeeding won't prevent you from losing weight. Bear in mind that it took you 9 months to put on those kilos, so it will take you around 9 months to lose them! Maintaining a healthy, balanced and varied diet, as well as regular exercise, will help you regain your ideal weight, whether you are breastfeeding or not.

10. Carrying your baby will make him dependent and capricious !

FALSE
At birth, babies are dependent on their parents. The parents' role is to make him autonomous and to give him the maximum to reach his independence. Boris Cyrulnik, who has worked on attachment and emotional security, has said: "Be well attached to better separate. The more empathetic we are with our child, the more we comfort him, the more empathetic he will be with others. Babies don't have the capacity to throw tantrums. Carrying your child will not make him dependent or capricious, if it's a question of bringing him comfort or responding to a need.

11. Wait several days before giving your baby his first bath. !

TRUE
At birth, the baby is covered with a white waxy substance called vernix. Vernix is a natural protective layer with valuable antibacterial and moisturizing properties. It also helps reduce the risk of hypothermia and encourages breastfeeding. For these reasons, the WHO recommends that the1st bath should not be given before 24 hours. However, parents are free to give it earlier or later, according to their beliefs and wishes.

12. Don't let your baby sleep on his stomach!

TRUE
If you let your baby sleep on his or her stomach, there is a risk of suffocation and sudden infant death syndrome. Fortunately, thanks to a major preventive effort by health professionals, this risk has been reduced by 75%. However, some babies appreciate the prone position because it's comfortable and comforting, which is why parents and close friends need to be extremely vigilant! The ventral position is particularly recommended when babies are awake. It will help him develop muscle tone as he twists and turns.

To discover the Clinique Générale-Beaulieu maternity unit and arrange a private tour, please contact +41 22 839 57 01.