Everything You Want to Know About Pregnancy, Labor and Delivery and Postpartum, But Are Afraid to Ask!

Are you or someone you know preparing for childbirth?

If you or someone you know is preparing for labor and delivery, this information is a must-read! There are several things to be aware of during labor and delivery, with additional considerations to keep in mind if a woman is 35 or over at the time of delivery.

In this discussion I did with labor & delivery nurse, Kaci Dyson, we talk about everything you want to know about pregnancy/labor & delivery/postpartum!

Induction of labor

Labor can occur spontaneously or it can be induced through one of several methods: a patient may be given pitocin to trigger contractions, the cervix may be mechanically dilated using a device such as a Foley balloon catheter, or softened with various medications. You might be wondering why a patient would be induced.

Here a few of the reasons:

>You are past your due date

>Maternal or fetal complications that warrant induction for best maternal-fetal outcome

>Induction solely for 39 weeks gestation

If you are told you should be induced, do not panic. Some patients fear that being induced will increase their risk of needing a Cesarean section when they had planned or hoped to deliver vaginally. According to recent research, inducing labor after 39 weeks won’t worsen the birth experiences or make them any more likely to need a Cesarean section. You can learn more about this research in this article: Inducing labor late in pregnancy doesn’t increase C-section risk.

Possible complications during labor and delivery for those over age 35

Patients age 35 and over are at increased risk for the following complications during labor and delivery:

  • Increased bleeding, or hemorrhage, during delivery
  • Prolonged labor lasting
  • Dysfunctional labor
  • An increased risk of Cesarean section

To learn more about these complications, watch this short video. This information is not to scare you, but to help you be prepared so you can mentally prepare and ask questions to your doctor as needed.


In this article, I talk about everything a woman should know about labor and delivery.

Here are a few things you should know:

1. If a laceration occurs in your vaginal area with delivery, you should ask questions. Lacerations/tears of your vaginal area do not only occur if an episiotomy {an intentional cut made by the OB/GYN to facilitate delivery of the baby} is done by your OB/GYN. Small and large tears can occur just with pushing and then delivery of your baby. If a tear occurs, it is important to know exactly where it is so you know exactly how to keep the area clean in order to avoid infection or wound breakdown.

2. During labor and delivery, you will see a lot of blood and other bodily fluids. When you are pushing, you may pee or have a bowel movement. Don’t worry or be embarrassed; this is completely normal and expected by the doctors and nurses. Additionally, once your baby is delivered, there is a significant amount of sudden bleeding, especially after the placenta is delivered. This often surprises many patients and any family member who happens to be present for the delivery.

3. If you had swelling before delivery, the swelling will likely get worse AFTER delivery. After delivery, this extra blood volume is diverted away from your uterus {which is now empty} and goes back into your blood vessels. The swelling of your legs may get worse immediately after you deliver and may take several days to get better. As long as the swelling is even in both legs and you have no pain in your calves, there is no need to worry. However, if the swelling is uneven or you have pain in your calves, let your OB/GYN know immediately.

Now these are not the only considerations of labor and delivery, but I hope it helps prepare you. If you are preparing for a vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), be sure to read this article. And if you are in the midst of packing your hospital bags, this checklist is great to help you prepare! Be sure to visit the curated Babies After 35 Amazon shop for you hospital bag essentials!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are your qualifications?

I am a double board certified ObGyn and Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist. I have worked at a large academic center in academic medicine as a clinician, educator and researcher since 2004.  I am currently a tenured Professor and actively manage patients with high-risk pregnancies.

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Please send me an email.
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Do you do private consults? Can I get you to review my medical records?

I do not do private consults or review medical records submitted by patients.

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Yes! Please email me for more info.