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Don’t Bring Us Your Mucus Plug

...and 9 other things your labor and delivery nurse doesn't want you to do

By chauniebrusie |

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  • Don't Bring Us Your Mucus Plug

    Maternity Wars During a quiet night on the labor and delivery floor, the phone at the nurses’ station rings, breaking me out of a sleepy reverie.

    “Birth Center, this is Chaunie, how can I help you?” I answer. “Um, hi,” a hesitant voice responds. “I think I just lost my mucus plug and I was wondering what to do? Should I save it? Do you guys need to see it?” One of the best—and worst—parts of my job as a labor and delivery nurse is fielding the endless questions about pregnancy that an expectant mother can have. When it comes to pregnancy, labor and delivery, there are no easy answers. (Why does childbirth have to hurt so much? Why can’t guys feel labor pains? How many calories does giving birth burn?) I have, however, learned a thing or two that may help you — and your OB staff — along the way. So to simplify things a bit, here are my 10 tips for what NOT to do as you prepare for your baby’s birthday:

  • Don’t … bring in your mucus plug

    Don’t … bring in your mucus plug

    Maternity Wars I know you may be tempted to whip out a plastic baggie and save that thing, but please don’t. I’m begging you. We congratulate you on losing it, we remind you that labor could still be days, even weeks away after losing it, but we do not, under any circumstances, want to see it. Especially in your Ziploc freezer bag.

  • Don’t …  bring all of your other kids

    Don’t … bring all of your other kids

    Maternity Wars It’s not that we don’t love kids — really, we do — but the labor and delivery environment is really not the best place to have them running around. Not to mention, sometimes stuff, well, splatters. So unless you want a traumatized kid on your hands, leave’em at home.

  • Don’t … come in right after having sex

    Don’t … come in right after having sex

    Maternity Wars It’s a pretty well-known fact that sex can induce contractions. Unfortunately, they may not always last. So please do everyone a favor and wait an hour or so before you rush in with those “O”-induced contractions, okay?

  • Don’t … call every member of your family every 10 minutes with an update

    Don’t … call every member of your family every 10 minutes with an update

    Maternity Wars This is especially troublesome if you haven’t even been admitted to the labor and delivery room yet. Please, let us determine if you are actually in labor before you call your great-grandma to drive in from Nantucket in the middle of the night

  • Don’t … demand we take away all of your pain or you will call the head of the hospital

    Don’t … demand we take away all of your pain or you will call the head of the hospital

    Maternity Wars While I promise you that we will do everything in our power to ensure that you get the pain control that you choose, the truth is, we can’t guarantee you a 100% pain-free birth. Know that labor and delivery is different for every woman.

  • Don’t … call us and ask if you are in labor

    Don’t … call us and ask if you are in labor

    Maternity Wars The thing is, we can’t evaluate you over the phone. Nor do we want to, because it would be a liability. If you’re unsure or you have questions, ask to speak to your OB or midwife first — they can give you the answers that we can’t.

  • Don’t … demand an epidural the <em>second</em> you arrive

    Don’t … demand an epidural the second you arrive

    Maternity Wars I get it, I really do. I’ve had three kids myself. It hurts. Trust me when I say that we are working as fast as we can. We don’t want you to be in pain either!

  • Don’t … expect to stick exactly to your birth plan

    Don’t … expect to stick exactly to your birth plan

    Maternity Wars As a labor and delivery nurse, I am an advocate for you. You want a natural birth, music during labor and no medications? Fine with me. But I’m also an advocate for your baby, and sometimes, things don’t go according to plan.

  • Don’t … decide everything ahead of time

    Don’t … decide everything ahead of time

    Maternity Wars Whether you are a first-time mom or a seasoned vet, every labor is different. What worked for you last time or what worked for your neighbor may not work for you this time. Listen to your body and go with the flow.

  • Don’t … sneak food when we aren't looking

    Don’t … sneak food when we aren't looking

    Maternity Wars Discouraging big meals during labor isn't just something we do to be mean. A common symptom of labor is nausea and vomiting. And trust us, you'll find that out later on — when you barf up that sandwich you thought I didn't see.

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About chauniebrusie



Chaunie Brusie is a freelance writer and a young mom of three (soon to be four!). She is the author of Tiny Blue Lines: Reclaiming Your Life, Preparing For Your Baby, and Moving Forward in Faith in an Unplanned Pregnancy. Find her on her blogFacebook, and Twitter. Read bio and latest posts → Read Chaunie's latest posts →

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7 thoughts on “Don’t Bring Us Your Mucus Plug

  1. SB says:

    This is a patronizing and disgusting article. How about writing that supports new mothers instead of looking down at everything “they are not supposed to do”. I hope I NEVER end up in your care.

  2. Cortney says:

    I dislike this whole article. I’m sorry but we go to a hospital and pay out the butt to have our baby and I feel we can ask all the questions we please even if it’s not pleasing to you. We do pay you, not vise versa. So all these things you dislike about nervous, sometimes terrified mothers about to give birth, you might want to get over or realize you chose the wrong profession and find a new one.

  3. Jenny says:

    This is a very condescending and patronizing article. It really conveys the God complex that many doctors and some nurses and midwives seem to have. I’m sorry you are so bothered by the laboring women who are entrusting their care to you.

    As for “let us determine whether you are labor”, that is just the dumbest statement I have ever heard. Most women, especially second time moms know when they are in labor and don’t need you to tell them. Sorry but you are not the experts you make yourselves out to be. You’ve medicalized something completely natural and then look down on disdain at mothers who want to go natural. I disliked your comment about how things don’t go according to plan sometimes, and that you are also an advocate for the baby. The very complications that occur in hospitals are usually caused by the excessive monitoring and fear mongering and constant pressure on laboring moms to perform. Leave well enough alone and nature will do the job, except in rare circumstances. You cannot control something natural and something natural like birth is very difficult in an environment where the mother is second guessed, stressed, ordered around and undermined.

    Not every family has educated themselves as well as my husband and I did. Had we not, we would have had a whole different scenario on our hands because of people like you. Thank God we knew our rights and insisted on natural birth, despite the hurdles medical professionals tried to make us go through. This time, we are having a homebirth. Do yourself and the laboring women a favor and find a different profession. You have no empathy and no knowledge of how the human body works or how laboring women really feel. If you did, you wouldn’t write such a disgusting article.

  4. jenny says:

    And one more thing. Birth should be a family event. Kids do not get traumatized by birth especially if properly prepared. It’s normal and natural. This time our kids will be present for the birth if they so choose, in the comfort of our own home. Screw your hospital policies! It’s our family, our birth, not yours, and you don’t have the right to dictate who can and cannot be there, to deny children the experience of seeing their sibling enter the world. Because of stupid hospital policies, my husband missed the birth of our second son because he had to get our oldest from daycare to take him to the babysitter, because you wouldn’t allow him into the hospital. These policies help nobody, and lead to difficulties with the other parent and siblings bonding with the new baby.

  5. Tiffany says:

    I get the feeling that you think very highly of yourself, and mothers in labor are “nobody’s”. I hope to God that I never have to deal with a nurse who thinks so little of her patients.

  6. L.M. says:

    Can’t say that I see much in this article that I dont understand the reasoning behind… :) Don’t be so sensitive

  7. ZeeBee says:

    The comments above illustrate why I don’t gravitate toward the L&D area of nursing. People just seem to lose their minds and any sense of good judgement – particularly the idea of bringing young children along (and occasionally most of their extended family) to this event. The most important reason – it doesn’t always have a perfect, happy ending. Even a pregnancy that has progressed without any indication of problems with the baby or the mother – can result in heartbreak. How do explain to a 5 year old why they aren’t going home with their new sibling, which is all this child has heard for the past 6 months. Childbirth can be an amazing event, but it’s serious work for the mother and the nursing staff – and it should be treated as such.

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