Things have changed a LOT over the years, especially when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. Take our own mums’ experience, for instance, which couldn’t be more different. She had groovier (and roomier) ‘frocks’ to wear and almost no one batted an eyelid if she sipped a glass of Guinness!
Here are some of the biggest differences between pregnancy just a few decades ago, and now. Ah, how times have changed…
1. Pee in a cup and wait
Back in the day, our mums would pop along to their GP, pee in a cup and then have to wait at least a day or two until their pregnancy was confirmed.
Now there are all-singing, all-dancing digital pregnancy testing kits that can tell you instantly if you are pregnant – even before you miss a period.
2. ‘Have a drink to keep up your strength, mum’
In those days, it was suggested that mums-to-be drink a small glass of stout to keep up their iron levels during pregnancy as well as to relax them.
Now – if we reached for the Guinness each evening there would be an outcry! Today’s advice says that mums-to-be should abstain from alcohol altogether or only drink a tiny amount, once a week at the most.
3. Sew your own maternity ‘gown’
Maternity wear was HUGE and flowing, with many women sewing their own tent-like, bump-covering garments in groovy fabrics.
Now we don’t hide our bumps, we show them off with a wide array of clingy maternity dresses and tops, all fresh off the high street. And thank goodness – with dressmaking a dying skill, we’d have absolutely no chance if we had to make our own maternity wear.
4. Scans, what scans?
It’s hard to believe that ultrasound scans were not the norm until the late 70s.
Now seeing your baby on the scan is one of the most magical milestones of pregnancy. There are even 4D scans available privately, as well as places that turn your scan picture into a 3D model to treasure.
5. All clean ‘down-below’
When women were admitted to the hospital in labour, it was the norm to shave their pubic hair and to give them an enema to get everything ‘down there’ clean and ready for delivery.
That’s if the castor oil taken during late pregnancy hadn’t cleaned everything out already!
Thankfully today’s mums-to-be don’t have to go through any of these three things. Of course, the downside is that the biggest worry for many modern mums is whether we’ll poop during labour!
6. Childbirth was shrouded in an air of mystery
Sure, there were pregnancy books (many advocating natural birth) but the actual detail of what happened during labour and birth was less ‘in your face’.
Now we’ve seen (and heard!) it all on One Born Every Minute – not to mention being able to follow live tweets of parents detailing every twinge and capturing the visceral detail of their births on camera.
7. Dads paced the hospital corridors…
…then hurried to make last orders, to wet the baby’s head!
As mums laboured alone (with a midwife by their side) there was no place for a dad-to-be in the delivery room, in those days.
Now dads are there, standing firmly by their partner’s side the whole time. In some hospitals they can even stay overnight too.
And it’s not just dads who are around either. The latest trend of crowdbirthing means it is becoming more normal to invite all and sundry into the delivery room.
8. Rest up, Mama
It was the norm for new mums to stay in hospital for as long as 10 days after delivery, to rest up and recuperate. And to help mama rest, the midwives whisked their babies away to the nursery, bringing them back for feeds.
Imagine – all that time to sleep, all those meals brought to your bedside!
Now babies are kept firmly by mum’s side at all times and (all being well) mums are whisked home after a mere six hours.
9. Less pressure to ‘ping’ back into shape
Once safely home with their new baby, there was far less pressure for our mums to immediately bounce back into shape.
Nowadays we’re bombarded with glossy images of celebs who are back in their bikinis two nano-seconds after birth and post photos to prove it on Instagram for us all to see.
How we wish this one was like the good old days!