Top 5 Tips for Early Labour
Think your waters may have broken? Found a sticky mucus show (plug) in your underwear? Contractions (a tight, period pain-like feeling) started? If at least one of these has happened, congratulations Mama you are most likely to be in early labour!
Here are my top 5 tips to help you through this exciting time:
Build your nest. Turn those lights down and get comfy! Essential oils like Lavender and Clary Sage are perfect for relaxing you in early labour. You want to get the bonding hormone oxytocin to flow so think lots of cuddles and kisses with your partner or even get Netflix on and find a funny film or tv series to watch together - laughter is brilliant for early labour!
Save your energy. Rest, sleep if you can and don’t go walking for hours and wear yourself out! Sip water or an isotonic drink like Lucozade regularly and eat little and often. Labour is a marathon and not a sprint and can take a long time, especially if it’s your first baby. Contractions or surges may come once or twice an hour then slowly increase to being far more frequent and intense. Trust that your baby will arrive when it is ready.
Contact your Midwife. This is a great job for your birth partner. If you plan to birth at home, your midwife will want to come round now. If you plan to give birth in a midwife-led unit or labour ward they will want to talk to you or in some cases want you to visit the unit or ward to check that you and baby are well, labour is beginning and arrange a room or bed for when you arrive.
Get into position. Make sure that you are not on your back for long periods of time. A birthing ball comes into its element during early labour. Otherwise sitting on the loo is another great spot! Positions that are UFO are brilliant (Upright, Forward-facing and Open hips) and help baby have enough space to move down in the pelvis.
Imagine your body easily birthing your baby. Like a flower blooming wide open and upwards. Visualising what you want your body to do - your cervix opening and being pulled upwards - will encourage your baby to descend. Breathe deeply in through the nose and slowly out through the mouth. This will help you to release tension and get oxygen to where it’s needed.
Once you feel about three surges in a ten minute period then you are more than likely about to transition into established labour. If you are travelling to hospital, this is the point you may want to ring you unit or ward to let them know that you will be arriving soon.
If in doubt about whether you are in early labour, contact your Midwife as they will want you to be reassured. Always trust your instinct and have the confidence to go with your gut. You know your body and baby the best so if something doesn’t feel right, talk to your Midwife or Doctor.
Remember you’ve got this Mama!