Here we go again!
“Breastfeeding won’t hurt.” This one is a bit of a controversial and complicated take. In this situation we’re talking about putting the baby directly to the breast/chest to nurse. It can hurt for a variety of reasons like the sensitivity of an individual, possible oral tethers of the baby, and anatomical concerns like inverted nipples but it shouldn’t hurt. In most cases pain is an indicator that something isn’t right and the nursing person should seek additional assistance from a certified lactation counselor who can assess the nursing person and the baby, as well as the process of latching and nursing, to look for issues. The really good news is that most of these things can be fixed and nursing can continue! However if the nursing person is uncomfortable and unhappy there are many other options for getting the baby human milk if you so choose. (I’ll detail these in another post!)
“Heart rate indicates gender.”
This is another one of those things that have been passed around for years and years, but there’s no scientific evidence at all. In general a baby’s heart rate is higher at the beginning of pregnancy and settles down further in, just as a child’s heart beats faster than an adults. They’re growing so quickly they need that circulation moving quickly to bring nutrients. A study published in Fetal Diagnosis and Therapy found that the average heart rate for a male fetus in the first trimester was 154.9bpm and a female fetus was 151.7bpm. There’s no significant difference there and that busts this myth.
“Subsequent babies come early and fast”
One of my early births I attended as a doula was a mother due with her seventh child. Her whole care team and the mother herself was expecting her to deliver around 36 or 37 weeks and for it to happen fast, so I was texting her daily for check-ins at that point. The weeks came and went, came and went, and I finally got the call when she was 40+6! Labor did go quite fast once contractions became regular but this little one definitely did not come early. First baby or seventh, they always arrive on their own schedule but typically labor does go a bit faster because your body has done this before. Things like positioning, hydration, and stress can slow down the process though (and that’s when a doula is really useful!)
There’s the second part of this mini-series! The third part is coming, and we might even make it to a fourth! Stay tuned.