Midwife explains why first birth is the hardest
A GLADSTONE midwife of 25 years has explained why the birth of a woman's firstborn child can be so long and painful.
Jill Everest has seen plenty of women in labor before and says women generally have their most difficult birth the first time around.
She said generally the birth of the second child would be fast, and the third child would be faster than the mother's first but slower than the second.
"You could go from having a 24 hour or more labor for the first time around, and three hours the second," she said.
"It's because it's the first time these things have happened within your body. It's the first time those body parts have acted that way.
"The second birth is easier because your body has gone through the process before and it knows how it works."
Ms Everest said during the birth of a third child there would usually be a long "pre-labor".
"You wonder, am I in labor, am I not ... and then once you're actually in labor, it's fast," she said.
"Your contractions will change and suddenly they're very strong, regular and increasing in intensity, whereas in the pre-labor they may have eased off and started again."
The midwife said the difference between the birth of a first and second child astounded some women.
"Women are pleasantly surprised after their second baby, because they've done all the hard work the first time and they don't have the same long labor."
The Gladstone midwife blamed movies for some of the misconceptions surrounding birth, including how a pregnant woman's water breaks.
"It gives a false impression ... they always show them as the water has broken, and after the first contraction they rush straight to the hospital," she said.
Ms Everest said childbirth was predominantly a happy event and the women were well and healthy.
"Being at a birth is a privilege. It's such an amazing occasion," she said.
- For most women, their water doesn't break
- Your body has its own form of pain relief that kicks in when contractions start
- During the war English sailors and navy personnel would keep the bag from their partner's water breaking because they thought it was a good omen