You’re in the homestretch, you’ve been through the first semester triumphs and the second semester burst of energy, now it’s a few more months and you get to finally meet your baby! So, how do you prepare for labour? Everyone is different, who knows, you could be one of the lucky ones and have a super fast birth.
Or, you could have the total opposite. Let’s face it, most births are pretty lengthy, especially if it’s your first. The average length of a first birth can range between 12-18 hours. This doesn’t go to say, yours will be longer or shorter. Some woman can have 45 hour long births! It’s better to be prepared for a long birth then to not be.
Truthfully, you’ll probably forget everything you learned once labour hits, but as long as you remember a few key tips and tricks, it can help you out tremendously. We found some of the best tips and tricks to get you through a long birth.
7 Remember Your Breathing Techniques
If you chose to attend any Lamaze classes during your pregnancy, then you probably learned a lot about different breathing techniques. Unless you burn this into your brain, you’re probably going to forget it, when the time comes. From mother to mother, the best advice to remember is just to plain breathe. Don’t hold your breath.
Holding your breath during contractions and pushing may seem like it helps, but it actually makes it a lot worse. Allowing air to circulate through your body, while you are in labor,actually helps minimize the pain. If you remember all those different breathing techniques, then good for you!
But, if you don’t, just remember to breathe! Focusing on your breathing also helps you take your mind off of the feeling of labor, just breathe through those contractions (however you may want) and it’ll make the process a lot easier to handle.
We love this video on Labor Breathing Exercises, it gives you options, is easy to follow and straight to the point. Honestly, just pick one and go with it. It’ll help relieve stress and relax your body during labour, which in turn, will make it a much easier process.
6 Stay Home As Long As Possible
The first instinct when you go into labor is let’s go to the hospital. If you are having mild contractions and your water hasn’t broken yet, try to stay home as long as possible. Staying home makes you feel much more comfortable. You can move around freely, doing what you want to do, being as loud as you want and not having to worry.
You also have your own bathroom or tub, you can have a nice warm relaxing bath. Having a nice bath in the comfort of your own home helps get the labor going and eases the pain of the contractions. If you go to the hospital, chances are they’re going to make you wait or tell you to go home anyway, unless you are in active labor. Plus, it’s a lot easier to pass the time at home. Staring at the clock at the hospital, while you are waiting for a room, will only make your contractions feel more tense, and make you feel more stressed, and the time will go by a lot slower.
Make a labor and birth plan. This will help you stay focused and find things to do that will help ease your contractions and help speed up the labor process. Not to mention you’ll feel much more in control, which equals less stress, which equals less pain. This customizable birth plan is a great resource to help you stay stress free during labor.
5 Use Loved Ones To Your Advantage
When you’re in labor, the last thing on your mind is probably letting anyone touch you, let alone help you. Most mommy’s-to-be, start off their labor by wanting to go at it alone, and that’s totally understandable. But allowing your loved ones to help you could be one of the best decisions you make. Let your loved ones help you relax and feel comfortable.
This could be something as simple as rubbing your back, holding your legs while you push, and motivating you through your delivery. Staying calm during labor is so important, is utilizes less energy, and believe us, you need all the energy you can get! Remember, the more relaxed you are, the easier the birthing process. If it’s going to be a long labor, having your loved ones to be there to support and help you is a big bonus.
The best places for your midwife or loved one to massage you are the shoulders, feet, hands and most importantly the back. If you cannot bare to be touched during labor then think of other ways that you can utilize your support system. This can simply be by supply you with water, helping you move around or even simply just holding your hand throughout the process. Little things like this, go a long way, especially if it’s going to be a long go.
4 Move Around
We can’t stress this more. When you are in labor and things just aren’t progressing as fast as you would have liked, get up and move around! Some mommas (especially first-timers) are hesitant when it comes to moving and walking, because they don’t know what to expect. Well, guess what, no matter how many times you give birth, you never know what to expect.
Ask a loved one or a nurse to accompany you for a short walk around the hospital. Walking around and keeping mobile as much as possible is great for helping your baby make their way down. If you can walk through a contraction, even better.
Though this may be difficult, walking up and down stairs is proven to help with the labor process, because it gives your baby room to squeeze through your pelvis and behind your pubic bone.
Sick of walking? Try using a birth ball, some mommas like to call it the ‘miracle ball’. Birth balls are basically like a giant workout ball. (Just buy the workout ball, no need to pay more for a birth ball). This is a great addition to your labor because it helps keep your body mobile, while also easing lower back pain. Bouncing up and down on a birthing ball with your legs spread apart is a great source for labor relief.
Try making different moves such as leaning forward,pelvic rocking, swaying and doing hip circles. Believe us, a birth ball can be your best friend when it come to having a long labor. Once again, if you could keep bouncing while you have a contraction, even better.
3 Don’t Focus On The Clock
Now, this point tends to be a common mistake made by most mommies, and we don’t blame you. After being in pain for a long time, why wouldn’t you be eager and looking forward to it to being over. Our advice, try to restrain from looking or asking what time it is. When you’re in labor the time goes by a lot faster than usual, but sometimes not fast enough. It’s so tempting to want to look at a clock or know how long you’ve been in the delivery process.
Doing this will not only stress you out more but it will make everything go by ten times slower than it was. If you can remove the clocks near you, do it. Or ask your loved ones not to show you. A great way to keep your mind relaxed and not focusing on the time is by doing things that will distract you, such as breathing or listening to music.
Whether you like motivational music to make you feel empowered, or mellow tunes, listening to music is known to help ease the process of labor. If you don’t want the annoying feeling of headphones, then ask a nurse to attach an iPod or a pre-made playlist to a stereo.
Most nurses will be more than happy to help you do this. Spotify is a great app that helps you create your own playlist or even download other moms birthing playlists (if you want to save a little time). You can also try using cordless, bluetooth earphones, to avoid the annoying wires getting in your way, and eventually being ripped out.
2 Change Positions
Sometimes once your doctor or nurse lays you in bed, you feel like you’re strapped down and unable to move around. Most mom’s feel this because once one position provides a bit of relief they are scared to try anything else. Well, don’t be! Changing positions is very important when it comes to having a long labor. This will not only help you feel better, but it will motivate your little one to change positions and move further down the canal.
Sometimes all you need is for your baby to find that perfect position and out she comes! If you are laying down, try sitting up a bit, or moving to your side. Upright positions help your contractions do their job, and it makes you feel more stable and in control.
If you get really tired and lying down seems like the perfect option, then try to use lots of blankets, or wedges to lay down on your side. Before you do move, make sure to ask your nurse for help, depending if you have chosen to get an epidural or not.
If you find you are having back labor, there are certain positions that may benefit you better than most. During back labor, it’s most likely that your baby is in a posterior position, meaning that they are pushing down on the nerves of your spine. This causes a lot of pressure on your lower back. To get some relief from this, try changing your position into the all fours position, with pillows under your knees and hands. This position can relieve some of that back pressure and encourage your little one to move into the proper position.
1 Don’t Be Afraid To Relax
When most people think about delivering a baby, they imagine a brutally painful and stressful event. This isn’t always true, especially if you have a long labor. As said before, there will be times during labor when you have a little down time. During this time, don’t be afraid to have a nap, or even jump in the shower.
Napping during the birthing event is a great idea because it helps the time go by quicker, plus you can’t feel the pain as much when you’re sleeping right? You need to try to utilize your energy and build it up as much as possible. You’re going to need it, when it comes time to start pushing.
Having a shower is also a great relaxation technique, the warm water helps soothe your tense muscles and eases your pain during a contraction. The water can also cause breast stimulation, which releases oxytocin into your bloodstream, causing your body to speed up the birthing process.
If you choose not to have an epidural, or even before you get the epidural, ask your nurse if they have a birthing pool. Birthing pools do the same trick a shower does, except you can lie down and relax instead of standing up. Some birthing pools even have jets that help massage your back and tense muscles. This is definitely a great way to kill some time and help soothe the delivery process.
Those are just a few tips and tricks to help you get through the process of labor. Labor is one of those things in life that will definitely test your patience, but if you keep thinking to yourself what you get in the end, it’s totally worth it.
Most mommies don’t even remember the whole experience afterward. The most important thing is that you try different things to help you remain as calm as possible. The more relaxed mommy is, the sooner baby will make their debut. Take your labor step-by-step, stay positive and try to enjoy these last few moments you have of being pregnant.