So often our clients ask "what is normal labor like?" Or “why am I not progressing normally?”
There is no normal when it comes to labor and birth!
Labor and childbirth can look very differently from person to person, and that is why we avoid using the word normal. The word "normal" in itself does not mean anything, but abnormal has a negative connotation that be laced with judgement if not carefully worded. Furthermore, receiving the news that you, your birth, or your baby is not normal can feel really hurtful.
There is a spectrum of normal when it comes to childbirth. Normally, a birthing person will begin to feel pain, followed by some pain and they can either decide to use medication to decrease the pain or not, then there is a birth. Within that timeline, many different events can take place, and not take place, which all help to lead to your unique birth story.
Unbiased and professional doulas in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill
We are lucky to live in an area where not only are the seven local hospitals very well equipped to handle all types of births, we have two amazing birth centers that focus the attention on the birth person’s unique experience rather than what is defined as normal.
Outside of the range of normal
The only time we use the word normal, is when it comes to something that does not feel right. With no medical training, doulas are not able to diagnosis or give medical opinions about various conditions, but we are trained what is outside the scope of normal.
Our preferred answer to give often when it comes to labor and delivery, is “it depends.” There are very few set standards when it comes to pregnancy, birth, or even parenting, and the correct answer is “it depends”.
Our clients will often ask when we will show up to support them during labor. And the answer is always “it depends”. Some clients who are being induced find they do not need us immediately and know they want to wait a few hours, or even days, before we join them. Other clients know they have fast labors, and want us to be at the birthing location prior them arriving so we are ready when they get there. Other clients aren’t sure prior to birth but feel confident in their ability to know when the right time for us to arrive is while they are in labor.
Another time we give our famous “it depends” answer is when a client asks how labor will progress for them. Will their water break prior to contracts? It depends. Will the contractions start days before actual labor? It depends. So much of labor and birth are unknown until labor starts, and that is completely fine. We give our clients so many resources to be ready for how to navigate the onset of labor that an answer of “it depends” is satisfying and there is less of a need to ask what is normal.
Having a doula will allow you to feel like your labor is yours, and there is no need to compare it to others.