1. EDUCATION is key!
2. IGNORE contractions until you can’t any more
3. DISTRACT yourself
4. MOVE around
5. Find your breathe and BREATH with intention
6. EAT & DRINK
7. Know your COMFORT MEASURES and use them
8. Have a TEAM (partner, doula, midwife)
9. Set your ENVIRONMENT
10. TRUST your intuition
Education is power. We honestly don’t know how labor is going to unfold, but getting as educated as possible helps empower you to make the best decisions for yourself and your baby. Take several childbirth education classes and see which one resonates with you. Try Hypnobirthing, Bradley Method, or Lamaze. And one of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to take a class outside your birthing hospital – you’ll get a lot more tips and tools for you and your partner!
Number 2 and 3 on the list go hand-in-hand. The best thing you can do for yourself when you feel surges begin is to go about your day as usual. Don’t get out your phone and track your contractions! For me, I arranged a day to go to a blueberry farm with my friends and I picked blueberries all morning while I was in labor with my daughter. It’s the best story and one of my favorite memories of her birth!
You want your baby to be in the optimal position for birth – that means head down and facing your spine. Your movement, whether it’s walking, stretching, lite housework, gardening, helps to get baby in proper position for birth. If you know your baby isn’t head down facing your spine, you can check out www.spinningbabies.com for movements that will encourage baby to get in the right position for birth.
Going inward and finding your breath, tuning into it, maybe even making sounds with each breath will help you tremendously. Don’t be afraid of what sounds want to come through – they could sound primal! That’s great – you’re a powerful being going through a powerful transformation. Use your breath to allow the transformation to take place.
You wouldn’t run a marathon on an empty tank so why would you go into childbirth hungry or thirsty. Listen to your body! If you’re hungry – eat! If you’re thirsty – drink! Easy to metabolize foods, like carbohydrates are great, but ultimately listen to your body. It knows best!!
Not all bodies are built the same. If your best friend shares her story of having back labor and the only thing that soothed her was a warm compress on her back, that doesn’t mean you’ll have back labor and need a soothing warm compress. Be open to experiencing ANYTHING and know what works for you when it comes to comfort. The better you know yourself, the better you’ll be able to speak up for what you need.
Gather your tribe! And make sure your tribe is made up of people you love, trust and can fully lean into with all the good, the bad and the ugly. Be sure the people you choose help you feel grounded, safe, supported and empowered. And don’t be afraid to speak up if someone’s in the room who needs to leave. This is YOUR birth story so be the author of a story that you’re proud to tell!
Is your space conducive to birthing? Have you ever wondered why a mama cat will find a dark quiet space to birth her kittens? I had a friend tell me that she couldn’t find her cat for a couple of days, until one day she heard some sweet little meews from a linen closet that was generally unused. While the house was chaotic with the usual activity of family life, mama cat found the perfect dark, quiet space to labor and birth. That’s her instinct and intuition guiding her. Which leads us perfectly to the last tip…
Trust your inner guidance. Personally, I found I was super-charged with heightened intuition while pregnant and I trusted that little voice inside, which never led me astray. When I was in labor with my third baby, I fully trusted my body’s wisdom to move how it needed to move, to vocalize, to get in the bath tub, to find a dark quiet space (outside and inside) to surrender and birth my 9 lb. baby boy, unmedicated and 10 days past my estimated due date. Anything is possible!