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Writing Pet Peeve: The Dramatic and Suspenseful Pregnancy and Labor

God Damn it. That's it. It's driving me damn batty. These stories that talk about pregnancy and labor are getting on my nerve and I have to blog about it in writing. I understand the dramatic suspense, but God damn it, it's getting old. I want realism or as real as can be! So if you're a writer and you want to write about pregnancy and labor either do research or read this blog.

Number One: Most women don't wake up the next day after having sex and start feeling sick and take a test and figure out their pregnant. God Damn it. That takes time! Unless a woman is actively trying to get pregnant, and it's even rare then, most of the time she won't notice until at least two weeks after conception that she is pregnant (which would be about four weeks pregnant. This is around the time she misses her period.) Or she may just happen to get a blood test a week after and they find out. Look up the facts. A woman gets pregnant during ovulation which is approximately two weeks after the first day of her last period (It varies. Some are shorter or longer).

Number Two: Morning sickness despite it's name does not just happen in the morning. It's called morning sickness because it's usually at it's worst in the morning because the woman has gone most of the night without eating something to settle her stomach. Alas, I don't mind if the woman has sickness just in the morning. A lot of them do. But for God's sake it doesn't just magically stop around noon. It may settle but the feeling doesn't go away. And it doesn't happen the day after she has sex. It can start but... hold on that leads me into my next point.

Number Three: Pregnancy symptoms can start very early but for first time moms, most don't notice until the sixth week not because they haven't had the symptoms but because they almost always attribute it to something else unless they have actively been trying to conceive which in most novels and stories I read, they're not. Throwing up, gaining weight, and bigger breast can be the result of numerous medical things. The flu, late puberty (I should know. I had no chest when I was a teenager and then all of a sudden they began to shape up), stress, etc. The biggest indication is a missed period, and that's not always an indication either. It could just be late or it might be a thyroid problem or the woman didn't ovulate in some cases and skips a period. Some woman even have bleeding while pregnant so while it is a reliable indication. It's not always.

Number Four: Time the symptoms correctly. Although it does happen, most women don't start gaining all their pregnancy weight until after the third month. It drive me nuts when I read a book or story or look at a movie or show and a woman gains five pounds in a week in her second month. Mind you, it does happen, but not commonly. Let me help. Nausea starts usually in the sixth week, peaks at ten weeks, and subsides at twelve weeks (again, not always accurate) and some unfortunate woman have it all nine months. Weight gain and swollen breasts usually pop up in the second trimester up to two cups sizes bigger. Mind you, some women don't get bigger breast at all. Movement for first time mothers is after sixteen weeks, approximately four months and sometimes it's much later. In a second or third time, it can be as early as ten weeks.

Number Five: LABOR TAKES TIME! I can't begin to count how many books and stories I've read and TV shows and movies I've watched where the water breaks and in an hour, for a first time mother no less, we have a baby. Mind you, it does happen, but usually for second or third time mothers, rarely for first. It can sometimes take a full day or longer. At least six to eight hours. My mother was in labor with her sixth child for twenty-four hours! And they don't rush to the hospital after the first contraction. There's a such thing as false labor people. False Labor! Many first time moms have it. Contractions can be painful and then they go away. That's why most doctors want consistent contractions over an extended period of time before they take a woman to the hospital. Mind you, there are a lot of exceptions. Oh and most mother's water doesn't break until well after they've been in labor, sometimes it doesn't break at all and doctors do it! I know that's how it works in television, but it's drama and there's a reason I included TV shows and movies in my rants. It's never accurate. They have to raise the suspense. Oh and when labor starts, it's not always this excruciating pain starting from the first contraction. It builds up gradually over a few hours. Again, there are exceptions, but every book, story, show, etc. can't be the exception. I'd be more impressed that you got the facts right and it's much more interesting. Oh and pushing takes time unless the woman is like my mother and can birth a baby in three pushes. (She's one of the exceptions to this, as are some other women.) The pushing can last for hours itself.

I know I'm generalizing this, but I must give credit to the authors who do have accurate info. Every woman is different and there are some exceptions that every woman has and no woman has a perfect by the book pregnancy, but for God's sake there is no woman who is an exception to all these rules... Wait, there are. Some woman don't even know they're pregnant, but it's not common, and I get tired of reading it in stories and watching it on TV where someone obviously hasn't done their research. Again. There are exceptions and I would appreciate it if people didn't fill up my comments claiming that I'm wrong because I clearly stated there are exceptions. I have no doubt. But I had to get that out of me. Right after this I'll have a post about things I don't want to see in storylines anymore (and things I'd never write about) but for the love of God this is on the top of the list and needed it's own post.

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