5 Things to do While in Early Labor

As active labor approaches, it may be harder to focus on this practice but your doula will be right there to help bring you back and center your focus.You’ve waiting months and months for the big day! Daydreaming about it, researching, trying to prepare mentally, emotionally, and physically in the best ways you know how.

As your due date nears we know you’re R E A D Y and you likely want to try anything you can to safely meet your baby as soon as possible. When those first contractions are felt and you’re convinced it is labor there’s a surge of emotions and adrenaline that hits you. Families who have birthed babies before usually know the drill and can be a little more relaxed and at ease in the early stages of labor. For first-time families; however, the emotion and excitement can be overpowering!

Our job as your doula is to support you in your choices and help guide you in your journey. If you need some guidance in early labor we’re here for you. Conserving your energy, hydrating, and nourishing your body might not be on your immediate to-do list, but it is important to keep these objectives in mind as you have a literal marathon ahead of you.

 

As active labor approaches, it may be harder to focus on this practice but your doula will be right there to help bring you back and center your focus.

 

Unfamiliar with the stages of labor and how they’re different? We always recommend a comprehensive childbirth class to help prepare you. In short; early labor is usually the longest and slowest part of labor where the contractions often feel like cramps and you may feel mild discomfort. Mobility usually isn’t hindered, and most people can still walk and talk through the contractions.

Here are our favorite suggestions for early labor.

1) SLEEP.

Yes, really. As difficult as it might be to do, try to sleep and rest as much as you can since your body will be doing a lot more work once in active labor. Take it easy and try not to deplete your energy–to include emotional, mental, and physical energy–early on. Even 30 minutes can make a huge difference.

2) Bake.

Doing something you enjoy that is low on the activity level scale can help pass the time and keep you relaxed. Baking or some easy meal prep is a great activity because you’ll have snacks to throw in your labor bag, or come home to when you bring baby home.

3) Eat and Hydrate.

It is important to listen to your body while in labor, and this includes early labor. Avoid dehydration (which can greatly affect the effectiveness of your contractions) by drinking water, tea, coconut water, etc. Eating small easy to digest healthy foods is always a great idea too–try eggs, nuts, oatmeal, cheese.

4) Shower or Bath.

Water is an amazing way to help relax and get your mind focused on the task at hand: having a baby! The warm water can be soothing to your back and/or abdomen and relieve some of the aches or discomforts associated with early labor.

5) Practice Breathing.

Hopefully you’ve been practicing relaxation techniques throughout your pregnancy! Now that you’re feeling contractions, you can use early labor to expand what you’ve been doing. As you feel the contraction coming, draw in a deep breath, and as you begin to exhale drop your shoulders, relax your jaw and face and let any tension or worries you have fade away. As active labor approaches, it may be harder to focus on this practice but your doula will be right there to help bring you back and center your focus.

Early labor can often drag on and feel like a slow and frustrating process. Don’t forget that your body is doing important work to prepare for the birth of your baby, listen to it. Embrace early labor as something that is bringing you one step closer to the end!

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