It is usually encouraged to stay at home during the early (latent) stage of labour. This is because it can take anything from a few hours to several days to reach established labour and it is more likely that labour will move forward when you are in a familiar environment. Here are some things to consider trying to help you stay calm and relaxed and enjoy your labour.
Bake A Cake
There is an ancient tradition of baking a ‘groaning cake’. It is believed that the smell of the cake helps ease discomfort in labour and is seen as good luck to share the cake with friends and family once the baby is born. There is often time to bake a cake in early labour and many find baking a mindful activity.
Go For A Walk
Fresh air and being in nature is good for boosting endorphins. Walking and being upright can help the baby engage into the pelvis as awell as encourage the baby into a better position for birth. Don’t wonder off the beaten track. Stay close to home with adequate phone signal!
Disco At Home
If in doubt dance it out (Grey’s Anatomy fans will understand!). Listening to music that makes you feel happy releases endorphins – these are your happy hormones and natural pain relief. Create a playlist during pregnancy that you can enjoy when labour begins. It can be an eclectic mix of music. Anything that helps you relax or helps energise you is equally useful. Dancing in labour releases endorphins and helps the baby move down and rotate into an easier position.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation is a method of pain relief. A TENS machine is a small device that connects to sticky pads placed on the lower back during labour. Electrical impulses are then sent from the device to the pads causing a tingling sort of sensation. It is thought that this tingling sensation reduces pain signals travelling to the brain and stimulates the release of endorphins. Birth Mode proudly partners with https://babycaretens.com Use Code 10BIRTH for 10% off.
When the body is tired it will feel more pain. Labour is a marathon in most cases (some are quicker than others). Try to alternate between periods of rest and activity in labour. Follow your instincts and rest as required. If labour begins at night, try to sleep or at least make yourself comfortable enough to rest.
The birthing hormones oxytocin and endorphins love a calm, quiet, unobserved environment. Consider how mammals birth. Create a space that helps you relax. Often this will be a spa-like atmosphere. Low lighting, soft music, essential oils in a diffuser are some ways to get started.
Play A Game
Distracting yourself with a board game or card game with your birth partner will help you connect and have fun during labour. Ideally stay away from electronics if you can.
Use hypnobirthing or yogic breathing techniques. Slow deep breathing will help you to stay calm and relaxed. It triggers the parasympathetic response lowering blood pressure, heart rate and stress hormones.
Hypnobirthing soft stroking massage encourages the release of endorphins. This is perfect to use in early labour as endorphins hang around in the body for a long time- so you gain the benefits hours after the massage itself. Ask your birth partner to watch YouTube videos to learn a massage technique for labour.
Bath Or Shower
Water can be very supportive during labour. A warm bath or shower can help ease aches and pains. Clary Sage and Lavender essential oils can be added to bath water so long as your waters have not broken (please seek advice from your own midwife before using complementary therapies). A cool bath or shower may be preferred if feeling very hot and flustered.