One of the best things to do in early labor is something you may not realize….its to simply IGNORE IT!
Yes, ignore it. There will be plenty of time in active labor for it to demand your full attention.
But before its time to go to the hospital or to tell your birth team to head over, early labor can be spent doing things you enjoy…especially since these are the last moments you will be spending as a family of 2…or 3, 4, etc.
1. Drink a big glass of water
Dehydration can make Braxton hicks contractions worse, so making sure you are hydrated is one of the first things you should do if you think you are in early labor. If you are, being hydrated will help you through the labor process. This is an athletic event after all!
2. Go for a peaceful walk
Whether you go around the block of your neighborhood or head to a park close by, a walk out in nature can be relaxing and also help labor progress. It’s a great way to stay moving
3. Bake some cookies
I like to recommend baking because it takes focus and concentration to measure the ingredients. This will help you keep your focus on something else besides contractions. If the contractions become too strong to pay attention to baking, it may be time to make some moves…just make sure you turn the oven off! If you are able to finish baking, you can always bring these treats to your nursing staff for an excellent gift of appreciation. I made some cookies perfect for the postpartum period I posted in an earlier blog post from The First Forty Days.
4. Do some light, prenatal yoga
Yoga can be a great way to reduce stress, relax, and help encourage baby to be in an ideal position. Cat and Cow and a modified child’s pose are some great options.
5. Do some last minute nesting
This is not the time to take on any large or labor intensive home projects, but organizing the baby clothes drawer or giving the furniture a light dusting can be very therapeutic and make it that much nicer for when you get home!
Whether you have a silent practice or follow a guided meditation, spending 5-30 minutes meditating can reduce stress and anxiety and also help you feel rested, especially if you are having trouble sleeping!
7. Take a nap or go back to sleep
Depending on the time of day or night, sleep may be more or less accessible. And regardless if you should be sleeping, if you are in early labor, you may be too excited to sleep! You should absolutely try to get some rest, especially if its near bedtime or early morning. Many moms are surprised that they are actually able to sleep through the contractions pretty well! Plus, if things intensify, don’t worry: You will wake up!
8. Check weather/road conditions
I’m not much of a planner myself, but I think its a good idea to make sure that there aren’t any surprise roadblocks (both literally and metaphorically) that could be an issue if you have to drive to the hospital or birth center. If there is expected bad weather or road construction it may be best to leave earlier than expected.
9.Give your care provider and doula a head’s up
Since your birth worker is on call, he or she is always prepared to get the call and drop everything to attend your birth. A little bit of heads up is very helpful though! Even if its not time for them to leave yet, a text letting them know things seem to happening is usually appreciated…even if it ends up being a false alarm
10. Give yourself a pep talk
It may feel silly at first, but sometimes you need to look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how capable you are. Athletes, performers and public speakers have all been known to give themselves pep talks before a big event….afterall, if you don’t believe in yourself, who else will? Well, I will, but more importantly I want you to!
If you want more help on how to plan for labor, consider joining us for our next live Mamaveda Birth Class!!
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