7 Tips For an Easier Labor


Windy City doulas is proud to support over 100 birth clients every year. While every labor is different and every family has a different labor plan, her are some professional tips for an easier labor

-Rest while you can!! The number one reason clients get epidurals when they didn't plan on it is exhaustion. We encourage all our clients to stay in bed or laying down until it's too intense to rest. You may not get a ton of actual sleep, but you're conserving energy you'll need later.

-Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: dehydration causes stronger contractions that are not more productive. We encourage a rotation of water and something with calories (gatoraid, coconut water, laboraid)

-Distraction: In early labor try to ignore your contractions, rest, shower, bath, light hearted TV, music, packing, dance. Only start to time them when they have a clear beginning and end. Time 5-6 to see the pattern and stop again until something about them feels different.

-Splish splash (hydrotherapy): use water for coping. Baths in early labor is a wonderful way to get some more rest. As things get more active the shower can be to relax your body in between contractions, the water provides a good distraction and some nipple stimulation to help things along. If you want info on what hospitals have tubs see our blog on water labor and birth (link to it)

-I like to move it move it: once resting is no longer an option change position every 30-40 min to help keep your labor active and your baby spinning through the pelvis. You won't love every position, but give it 2-3 contractions before you decide. Things to try, the ball, swaying, hands and knees, squats, belly lifts, side laying just to name a few.

-Remember to breath: its so cliche, but man does it work. Take deep breaths, in through your nose, out through your mouth. If noise is needed low deep moans can help you relax and not tighten your jaw or pelvic floor. Some clients find forceful breaths out, like blowing a candle out helpful, while others like to count breath in for three and out for three.

Treat Yourself

Being a new parent is hard! Babies are amazing and magical, but also SUPER demanding (think dictator vs democracy). As a new parent taking time for you can really help you recharge you and make the demands of new parenthood easier.

Outside of our normal recommendations for self care (eat real food, shower and put on new yoga pants daily, nap when baby does at least once a day and get outside every day). We recommend that once healed all of our clients engage in some "me time". Living in Chicago we're so lucky to have so many different ways to accomplish this

Our top 5 "treat yourself" recommendations


1. Get a makeover! Postpartum hair loss is real (we promise you won't go bald) get a new hair cut and style. You'll feel better about you. On a budget? The Aveda school at Clark and Diversey does $16 blow outs (crazy right???)


2. Get body work. Massage, acupuncture, chiropractic care. Whatever floats your boat and makes your feel more relaxed and rejuvenated. Fun tip some chiropractor like our office mate Back Home Chiropractic has in house massage therapists that they can bill to insurance!


3. Go out alone! Go get a hot meal by yourself, a coffee, a cupcake or even just a stroll. Being alone can be magic! Our postpartum team is happy to stay with babe while you do this!


4. New clothes. I hear so many moms say "this isn't my forever size" when they're in between maternity and pre baby wear. Get yourself a few outfits that fit and make you feel good about your current body!


5. Be active. Walks with baby, at home work outs, mom and baby exercise classes, get those endorphins going. It's not about losing the baby weight, but about getting your body moving! Tip: the drop in Yoga at Monica and Andy in Lincoln Park is supposed to be pretty rigorous!

Also for all our pumping/nursing moms get a hand pump, this makes adventures alone much easier without worrying about where and how you'll pump. That said dressing rooms are great! Also Prentice has multiple lactation rooms if your treating yourself downtown!

Top 5 baby gifts for the 2nd time family

1. Restaurant gift cards(to places that deliver): when you have a new baby, a partner back at work and a little person (or 3) to feed, dinner can feel overwhelming to say the least. While there's nothing wrong with the plopping a bunch of random things on your toddlers tray, a hot meal can feel oh so amazing!! Giving the ability to just call and have something yummy, hot and worry free delivered to your home in 30 min is magic on those hard days.


2. Postpartum massage: while 2nd+ deliveries tends to be a little easier on the body, you still just had a baby come out of your body. A massage to help relax and recovery is such an amazing act of self care! If you gift an in home massage make sure the little people can be taken care of!


3. Date night: being a new parent is hard (even the 2nd time around) and couples need a chance to reconnect. Get them a gift card to a close by, but yummy restaurant and pay for their sitter (hint postpartum doulas can do this) once they're ready to get out of the house.


4. Cleaning: after coming home with a new baby the last thing they want to do (and last thing they should be doing) is cleaning. Take that burden away by hiring someone to come do the big stuff! A clean house can take so much anxiety away from a new parent!

5. Postpartum help: you probably saw this coming! Gifting a family a postpartum doula or night nurse can mean sanity! Having someone come in cook you a hot meal, clean up the kitchen, do laundry, sit with you while you feed baby and validate all your emotions, let you sleep/shower/pee in peace, let you have some one on one with your big kid! It's a gift that keeps giving!

Is a doula right for me?

Is a doula right for me?

At Windy City Doulas, one of the things we hear all the time when interviewing with clients is, “I think the idea of a doula is great and we’re interested, but….”

-I am having my baby at the hospital

-I am delivering with an OB

-I want an epidural

-I’ll need to be induced early

-I’m planning a csection

These statements are followed by, “Do you work with families who are planning this type of birth?.” Our answer? Of course, we do!!!!!!

What’s up Doc??

What’s up Doc??

Are there amenities that are important to you? Each hospital has its unique attributes, so deciding which amenities are most important can narrow down your hospital choice. Some things that are important to our clients at Windy City Doulas are.....

Long term postpartum care, a day in the life!

Long term postpartum care, a day in the life!

Client and I text back and forth with her new sleep and pumping concerns as she and the baby snooze off and on in the other room. 

While the meal cooks, I restock the baby’s room and strip and remake the beds. About 30 minutes before the end of my shift, the baby is up and we read stories and play while mom gets 30 minutes to shower in peace. As I leave we schedule two more weeks of service.

Splish Splash, I Want to Have My Baby in the Bath

Splish Splash, I Want to Have My Baby in the Bath

Living in the Chicago metropolitan area, we are lucky enough at Windy City Doulas to attend water births at multiple birthing facilities. Here’s a break down of your Chicagoland options:

How to Survive & Thrive Postpartum

How to Survive & Thrive Postpartum

All of a sudden, it’s 9pm and you haven’t slept all day and your baby has barely fed. Just as you settle into bed, hoping to get some sleep, your new little one suddenly wants to be on you ALL night nursing, and the hospital still need labs, vitals, newborn weight, and so on.

Hi-ho Hi-ho Hi-ho off to the Baby Factory We Go

Hi-ho Hi-ho Hi-ho off to the Baby Factory We Go

We at Windy City Doulas want to say that there are some pretty awesome things happening at Prentice (Northwestern), and we’re not just talking about the flat screen TVs and views of Lake Michigan.