1. DO NOT OVER EXERT YOURSELF
So many women get super excited as soon as they start feeling those first contractions. They want to jump up and get things going! I don’t blame them, but what they don’t know is that resting is just as important as movement when things really get started. Yes, being upright and frequently changing positions helps with your comfort and promotes better positioning of the baby (which can in turn help speed things up), but periods of rest are equally as important. Since labor can take many hours and sometimes days, you don’t want to burn out before you can reach the end. This is why resting in between periods of activity is the best thing to do for your mind and body.
2. DO NOT GET TO THE HOSPITAL TOO SOON
That is, if you are having your baby at the hospital… If you’re having your baby at home, no worries! If you are having your baby at a birth center, you don’t want to get there too early either since you can get sent home. But if you are having your baby at a hospital, you definitely don’t want to get there too soon.
You want to wait as long as you can while in active labor before you start driving to the hospital. Why? If you get there too soon, the hospital staff may send you back home, which is pretty frustrating to go back and forth. (I’ve heard of families being sent back home three times before they finally got admitted!) But even worse, the hospital could keep you there even when it’s too early for you to stay and they could decide to give you pitocin or break your water to help speed up the labor process. And if you have been reading my posts, you all know that doing these things too early in labor tremendously increase your chances of having a c-section. (Unfortunately, I have had a few clients that have had this happen to them so I can speak from experience. Read why you don’t want to be induced.) So make sure that you don’t get to the hospital too soon so you can avoid being sent home as well as avoid some unnecessary interventions.
3. DO NOT FEEL STUCK
When you’re in labor, don’t feel like you have to stay in one position (unless you want to). Sometimes the hospital staff will want you to stay in the bed in a certain position because they want a good, continuous reading of your baby’s heart-rate all throughout labor. That can be incredibly uncomfortable for you and can cause your labor to become more painful and can even cause your labor to stall out. If you want to move into another position because you’re uncomfortable, go for it! It’s your body and your labor so listen to your instincts and do what feels best. The nurses will be able to work around you and keep moving the monitor until they have your baby back on the monitor.