Tips for labour and birth

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Labour is unique to every woman. There is no right length of labour to aim for – some labours are short, while others are long. Some labours are easy and others are tough going. 

Labour can be a brilliant experience but you may need to dig deep if you experience a tough part in order to stay positive, to keep calm and in control.

Keep Breathing

  • Use your breathing to stay calm and in control, to head off any feelings of anxiety or panic.
  • Allow your breathing to be your focus during your contractions –it can be a positive distraction
  • If you need to make decisions, or if you are feeling overwhelmed, focus on your breathing to help clear your head



  • Be aware of your body and try to let go of any tension you may be holding on to. Tension will produce adrenaline which can slow labour, it can make the contractions hurt and it can tire you out.
  • As you are breathing out – especially during your contractions – relax your shoulders, your jaw and your hands.


Gravity is your best friend in labour – it can help you be more comfortable, it can be a distraction, it can help you to feel in control and it can give your baby more space.


Try not to get dehydrated – this can make you tired and give you a headache.


As you are drinking often, you need to be going to the loo often as well. Having a full bladder can be uncomfortable and it can slow down labour.

Accept your contractions

  • You need your contractions to bring you your baby and they need to be strong and powerful, although not necessarily excruciating.
  • Accept, even welcome them, because you need them

One at a time 

  • Take your labour one contraction at a time.
  • No one knows how many contractions you will have so just focus on each one. Enjoy the pause in-between and then get ready for the next one.


  •  It can be important to conserve your energy if you can.
  • Find a comfortable position to rest in-between your contractions.
  • If you are exhausted and if it is comfortable, lie down for a while to rest and conserve your energy.

Dig Deep

  • Labour can be tough at times, try to stay positive and calm, keep going and focus on your baby.
  • Believe in your ability to do this
  • Ask for all the support you need to keep going.

Do what feels right

  • Labour is a time of trusting your instincts and going with the flow, rather than doing what you think is expected.
  • It can be of real benefit to listen to your body – get into the positions that feel right and comfortable for you.



Written by Janine Rudin
a specialist in pregnancy, birth and early parenting |

Birth & Baby

The Birth & Baby Network

About Janine 643 Articles
As an experienced and qualified practitioner, I specialise in pregnancy, birth and parent support - my aim is to listen, inform, support and reassure when needed. I have worked with parents since 2002 and I set up Birth, Baby & Family in 2011 to provide good information, different voices and links to the best products and services for families.