3rd Trimester

Freaking out about being so "exposed" during L&D :(

I'm hoping I'm not the only one, but....

I am dreading having to be so exposed during L&D.  Like having my mary on display for the world to see and whichever other parts are going to lose their privacy.  I'm not BFing, so thankfully I don't have to worry about anyone messing with the girls.

I'm also not too thrilled with the idea of a whole parade of people poking and prodding, (I've been told that the hospital I'm delivering at is a teaching hospital, so there are interns and residents and such).  I'm going to include something about this on my birth plan, but I'm sure there are no guarantees.

Moms have told me that in the heat of the moment you really don't care, but I can't imagine myself not.  I'm almost freaking out about this just as much as the rest of the delivery, (but not quite as much as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre which will inevitably befall my poor mary).

I know this is unavoidable in the whole process, but I was wondering if anyone could share some tips on how to maintain some sort of privacy.  If I try to include such requests on my birth plan, will it even be acknowledged or will they just tell me "tough noogies"?



Re: Freaking out about being so "exposed" during L&D :(

  • We live in a college town, so there were tons of nursing students around, but we were given an option if we wanted them or not.  You could definitely decline in order to avoid some of the extras.  But having said that, you really won't care.  I'm a very modest person, and I never felt embarassed or exposed during delivery, even though when I think about it now, I was.  You are so wrapped up in the moment that it doesn't matter at all! 

  • Are you aware that they will be doing internals at your OBs office on your next visit most likely??? It's the same thing really--I was in L&D twice with DS and then obviously the day I went to get induced---they check you fairly quickly---and you generally have a sheet over you---so it's not like you are up in stirrups just waiting-----  you'll be covered up when they aren't checking. 


  • I used to get nervous just going to the gyno. I just tell myself that I'm probably the millionth hooha they've seen and once it's over, they will just go in another room and see another one and forget about me. I view childbirth the same way. Nothing they haven't seen before.
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  • I am a first time mom so I honestly have no experience.  I am very self concious and have some serious body image issues.  I dont even like to be naked during sex.  The doctors and nurses have seen everything before and I am sure that they will try to keep your exposure to a minimum.  I have asked that my mom stay up by my head, and my FI plans to stay up high too.  I have also heard that in the heat of the moment you don't care who is seeing what.
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  • The nurses at our hospital did an amazing job of maintaining modesty for me.  They were geniuses at keeping towels/sheets/blankets in all the right spots.  That being said, I truly didn't care.  I was glad they were thinking about it for me because I would not have known/cared if half of Baton Rouge saw my bottom half.  I know that's hard to believe but it's true.

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  • You are too funny.  The other moms are right, at the time you are in full labor and about to deliver you will not give a F who the heck is looking at your "mary".  I had male nursing student observe my delivery.  It was his first time seeing a delivery and his face sure showed it.  LOL

    You are really only exposed when you are about to push and even then your hospital gown is covering your thighs, sort of like getting a pap.  Though that was my experience. 

    Good Luck!

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  • You have the ability to tell them you would rather not have studen residents in the room. Also let your husband/doula or your nurses know that you would like to keep the door shut. You also don't have to wear the hospital gown. You can get a cotton, knee length skirt that you aren't worried about ruining to wear. Then when you have to get up or move around you don't have to worry about your butt hanging out. In the heat of labor you probably wont care... but the rest of the time lol. I'm pretty nervous about it too :)

  • I will also deliver at a teaching hospital. I'm not thrilled about getting someone I just met to take me through labour, but c'est la vie. The good news is I should have just one nurse and one resident to get me through, and then my actual doctor for the delivery. That's three people (plus DH and a doula), not a parade.

    I really hope your body hang-ups aren't why you're not breastfeeding. If so, that's too bad.

  • The only time you'll be exposed is when you're getting checked (usually only the nurse is there) and when you deliver.  I honestly could not have cared less who was there at all during my entire labor but I am not a self conscious person.  

    They will ask you if it is ok for students to be in the room and you can accept or decline.  I said it was fine and there were probably about 15 people in my room but I don't think that is the norm. 

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  • Seriously? As soon as you're in that much tremendous pain, you really don't give a crap who sees what down there.
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  • Haha, once you're in labour and everything's going down what people see will be the LAST thing on your mind, especially once you get to pushing, all you'll want to do is get that baby out no matter what :P
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  • I assume Mary = Vagina? sigh

    I promise you, you don't care, you just want the baby out and a few random people watching or standing around will not bother you. My hospital isn't a teaching hospital, but the majority of my time pushing was with just one nurse. When he was about to come out, I don't even know how many people came in, didn't care, just wanted him out. 

    After paps, internal exams for the month or so leading up to delivery, all the checks in early labor, the least concern is when the baby is actually coming out.  

  • Having done this twice before, I can tell you with the upmost confidence that you will not care once things get moving who is taking a gander at your vagina.  Alot of women find clothes to be really obnoxious during that labor process, that's why there are so many naked or just a sports bra pictures and videos of labor...they aren't crazy naked, un-modest people, they're just in labor people.  I also really hope that you body issues are not the reason you will not try breastfeeding, that would be a shame.


  • The only time you'll be exposed for a long period of time is while you're pushing, and you probably won't be thinking about it much. Also, if you have anyone in the room aside from medical staff and your dh you can have them closer to your head so that they aren't able to see much.

    The internals are relatively quick and most of the time they feel and don't look.

  • My dignity went out the window long ago.  I've had so many people peering between my legs it's not even funny.  I really couldn't care less who sees me now. 

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  • I am a nurse in L&D so I have always been on the other side of things. The nurses will keep you as covered as possible during labor. There obviously has to be some exposure for delivery. Try to keep in mind that while you feel like your "mary" is exposed, we see this everyday. At no point during a delivery have I ever thought 'hehe thats her vagina'. Tell your nurse your concerns. Don't be afraid that you are being judged or stared at though. It is just part of the job, and we've seen it all (literally).
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  • The L&D nurses and your ob see a lot of vaginas, and I'm sure your husband has seen it before or you wouldn't be KU. Active labor isn't a time for modesty. My primary concern was getting my DD out ASAP because it wasn't the most comfortable thing ever. I'll be delivering at a teaching hospital this time and if I decide a resident is not someone I want in the room I'll speak up. Fwiw you're not just "all hanging out". You wear a gown and they have a privacy curtain for your room. It's just you and your SO and medical staff.
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  • Listen to those of us with experience... you REALLY won't care. At all. Not one bit. Not only did a bunch of different nurses, Drs and students see my vaginal area (not like 20 people all at once - it's not like a "show" lol, but I mean over the course of your stay...), but then when I was EPing during my stay, I sat around in my bed with my top totally exposed because at that point, who gives a rat's ass. I was so exhausted, bruised and swollen from the c/s that I wasn't going to try for modesty when it came to pumping - I just wanted to get it done conveniently and if they walked into my room unannounced and got flashed, well too bad lol.
  • I'm sorry, I got held up at the use of the word 'Mary'. It is a vagina. It worries me that you can't even write that word out.

    You won't care when the time comes. You aren't hanging out naked and uncovered for your whole labor.

    DS 02.10.2008 * DD 04.05.2011

  • Lurking....but I was the exact opposite the second time around. I was practically throwing the sheets off begging them to check me.

    My first time around I was a little like you, but then the real labor kicked in, and I couldn't care less who saw my vag.


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  • image gymnst1013:
    My dignity went out the window long ago.  I've had so many people peering between my legs it's not even funny.  I really couldn't care less who sees me now. 

     This, plus it's there job. They have seen it all. So there's no reason to be embarassed. Remember you are paying for it, so if you don't feel comfortable with something, talk to you doctor and see what they can do to make you feel more comfortable. I have never gave birth before, but I'm sure I'm not going to care who is in there. I just want my LO out of there safely.

  • You won't care!  I never saw a man gyno until about six weeks before my DD was born.  At which I LOVED my gyno and he has been the only one I have been seeing so far with this DD and I hope he is the one that gets to deliver DD2 also.  That being said, when I was in labor with DD1, I had an epi and it was an incredibly relaxed birth.  In between contractions, he was hanging out at my crotch, waiting to catch a baby and we were talking about wedding gifts (he had a wedding to go to that following weekend).  For me to look back and think about how comfortable I was to have a normal conversation with someone I barely knew hanging out by my fully exposed vag....I never would've imagined.
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  • Well just a heads up, even if you aren't breast feeding, most hospitals encourage skin to skin contact soon after baby is born, so they will take naked (diapered) baby and pull the front of your gown down and put baby on your chest.  So your boobs may be exposed if you don't tell them you don't want to do that.
  • At the time of DD's birth, I was fine with the college students and all, and there ended up being about 15 or so total people in the room. about 10 or so just observed. 1 was the OB on call, 1 was a resident that did my internals, 1 was my L&D nurse, and there were 2 nurses that came in towards the end to take DD to wipe her clean, weigh her, etc. Looking back on it, I have decided to tell my L&D nurse to keep all non-necessary staff and students out, but just because I felt the crowd took away some of the intimacy of the moment for DH and I.

    You might be better with talking to your L&D nurse about it when the time comes. I "wasted" my time writing a whole birth plan, b/c the OB who delivered DD just skimmed it and put it aside. My nurse asked me what I wanted/needed every step of the way.  


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    I was really uncomfortable about the idea of random people seeing me naked.  At two weeks past the due date, I went in for an induction and I had no idea what to expect.  I assumed my (small-handed female doctor) would be there and the baby would be born by the next morning.  It took two days of being fisted (I know that's crude, but seriously, that's how much it hurt) by a parade of strange men checking to see how dilated I was/to insert the drug, a race to the OR to have my water broken with my gown flying open and everyone in the hall seeing my ass (thanks DH for telling me that) when H's heart rate dropped too low, and then finally it was time to push.  They asked if a med student could come in and by that point, I said "why not."  He was amazing and helped me count to three before each push, and I really didn't care that he and the other eight doctors/nurses in the room were seeing me naked.  Two hours later, I had the c-section and finally got to hold my baby.

    My point is that you might feel really uncomfortable at first, and it does suck when you're really modest, but after a while you won't care.

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  • Funny story about an intern nurse in the room with my bestfriends doctor.  My bestfriend was in the L&D room and her nurse came in and asked if it was ok that the intern could come in and observe her doctor checking her vitals and the baby's heartbeat.  Her doctor leaves the room for a quick minute or two and the intern is just standing there looking lost, and my best friend said, "OH MY GOSH!! I have this really big sudden urge to push!"  The look on the interns face was priceless!  She didn't know what to do and left the room. 
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  • I feel the exact same way.. Especially now that I've got so many unwanted stretch marks down there. I'm not the best at shaving down there at the time with being belly blind either! haha. I guess when the time comes let the people around you know where to stand and let your doctor know that your not a science project!!! Good luck! :) I've already arranged to have the babies father and my mother in there. Also my doctor has assured me no more than two assisting hands (nurses for baby) will be in the room unless its an emergancy!
  • You will only be as exposed as you want to be until it is time to push, honestly.  You can be covered neck to knees if you like and wear socks.  I'll wager you are more exposed on a summer day in shorts and a tshirt.

    I'd talk to your doctor about this concern.  It's the last thing you will need in the back of your head during labour.  You should be trying to relax as much as possible to let your body do its job. 

    The BFing thing I hope (again) is not a choice made of modesty.  Consider your options.  And, I'm no expert here (both kids were breastfed) if you choose not to breastfeed, your breasts are going to need attention regardless.  The milk will come.

    It's weird the first time around.  But like so many others before me have said, you will be surprised at what you won't care about.  I remember my doctor inviting my mom to have a look when DS1 was crowning.  A few people crouched on the floor looking up to check it out (I was squatting during most of the pushing phase).  Pretty funny looking back on it. 

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  • image michaels_lovely:

    Having done this twice before, I can tell you with the upmost confidence that you will not care once things get moving who is taking a gander at your vagina.  Alot of women find clothes to be really obnoxious during that labor process, that's why there are so many naked or just a sports bra pictures and videos of labor...they aren't crazy naked, un-modest people, they're just in labor people.  I also really hope that you body issues are not the reason you will not try breastfeeding, that would be a shame.

    This. I'm not the type to go spreading my vagina in people's faces, but we're talking about a medical procedure here, not a first date. Everyone in that room is going to be doing their job, nothing more, including you. You don't have to give up modestly protecting your "mary" in every other situation, but I would say that labor is an extraordinary circumstance.

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  • what you've heard is absolutely true. in the heat of the moment, you won't care. yes, when you're in the early stages, it IS embarrassing, however, they're there to help you and you'll be glad they're helping you when you're weak. i had to sit on a toilet with a nurse hovering over me for like 5 minutes trying to get me to pee after i delivered and they took out the catheter. i was also HAPPY the nurses were there to help me get on a toilet in recovery and were there for anything i needed. i'm more afraid of pooping on a nurse/dr haha. i didn't with my first but you never know
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