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
1. 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.
2. 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)
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.
4. 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)
5. 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.
6. Remember to breath.
It’s 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.