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. These tips for labour and birth aim to provide you with a range of simple but effective ideas – 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.
Tips for labour and birth – 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
Tips for labour and birth – Relax
- 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.
Tips for labour and birth – Move
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.
Tips for labour and birth – Drink
Try not to get dehydrated – this can make you tired and give you a headache.
Tips for labour and birth – Wee
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.
Tips for labour and birth – 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
Tips for labour and birth – 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.
Tips for labour and birth – Rest
- 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.
Tips for labour and birth – 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.
Tips for labour and birth – 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.
a specialist in pregnancy, birth and early parenting