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Practical tips for labour- horror stories not required.

(84 Posts)
TheBuggerlugs Mon 16-Jun-14 18:34:26

Hello. I am currently 22w pregnant with my first child. I have recently started pregnancy yoga to support my posture etc during pregnancy and to support me through labour. The class I've joined closes for summer so there will be no classes for July and August.

I'm looking for honest tips that helped you get through labour. I'm not scared about it but I'm a realist. If I know what to expect I can plan for it and deal with it. I know every labour is different but I'd be interested to know what things helped you get through it.


Swimming - try to go twice a week. It'll help with your stamina, fitness and keep your legs etc healthy as your bump grows. Good for your circulation too.

Do what feels right for you. And don't worry about things not going to plan.

TheDudess Mon 16-Jun-14 18:46:18

I did an active labour course at my local children's centre which I found really useful. Gave me the confidence to go with the flow when I felt the need to give birth on all fours rather than lying down.

I also found that having a vague idea about a birth plan was better than having a rigid idea of what I wanted.

Get lots of pads in for after. My friend gave me loads of tenna lady and I thought she was a bit nuts but they were really useful.

Other useful things:

- baths with lavender oil in nice on the weeks after birth
- sipping lucozade or water throughout labour (get some straws so you can drink it in any position)
- pack some sugary snacks into your hospital bag
- have a hospital bag even if you're planning a home birth
- freezer meals

Some of these are for after really but they do help!

Whatisaweekend Mon 16-Jun-14 18:52:43

Three things stand out for me:
1) make sure you do a tour of the maternity ward and it's position in the hospital well ahead - you want to know where you are heading (ditto trial run of route to hospital)
2) take your own pillow to hospital as the NHS ones are flat and horrid and goodness knows what dribble is on them (bleurrrgh)
3) make sure you have a good book/several mags packed as the wait to be discharged can be a) very long and b) incredibly tedious.

Good luck!

Hollycopter Mon 16-Jun-14 18:52:54

I don't know if it worked or it would have happened anyway but my midwife recommended raspberry leaf taken from 36 weeks onwards. I did have a very quick labour so it's worth a shot.

Also, as soon as your contractions start, bounce on a birthing ball to encourage them to keep going!

whitepuddingsupper Mon 16-Jun-14 18:55:41

Get a couple of those water cooling sprays for your hospital bag, magicool I think they are called, I found the hospital ward really hot. Get some light, short sleeved pyjamas (with buttons up the front if you want to breastfeed) even if it will be cold outside when you go in, the postnatal ward is hot. Maybe a cheap pair of flip flops for the shower too, some of them can be a bit manky.

fledermaus Mon 16-Jun-14 18:55:55

Stay at home for as long as you possibly can - until contractions are really close/strong and you can't take the pain anymore.

mrsleomcgary Mon 16-Jun-14 18:56:18

Some people (midwives/medical professionals) included will tell you any pain relief is the devil. Others will say go straight for the epidural as that's the only thing that will work.

I would say as soon as you feel niggles get on the paracetamol then progressively move up through the various options until you are comfortable. I certainly wouldn't say I have a great tolerance for pain but I had some liquid morphene then used gas and air alone. I did try to get an epidural but to be honest that was only because I was exhausted and wanted to sleep but as it was they couldn't get it in and I progressed REALLY quickly so they ran out of time, baby was coming epidural or no epidural!

bronya Mon 16-Jun-14 18:58:40

Stay in charge. Don't rely on your DH/DM/whoever to make decisions, and don't take anything mind altering. Take advice, yes, but stay in control.

Ellisisland Mon 16-Jun-14 19:00:50

Food - take snacks in with you ( I had Oreo cookies smile) you will be starving afterwards

Energy drinks - my labour was long and in the middle of the night so I had almost 2 days with no sleep so I drank the lucozade non fizzy energy drinks to keep my energy levels up

Make sure birth partner is aware of the labour process and has a rough idea of stages etc - my DH was a lifesaver for me because at one stage I was so far gone I had no idea what was happening and it was my DH who calmly but firmly said to the midwifes that I needed some help as I was exhausted and could not push anymore. They wanted to wait for another half hour but he pushed for help earlier and he was right I couldn't have kept going with out help so you need someone with you ( if you want someone obv) who can speak for you when you can't!

Hobby2014 Mon 16-Jun-14 19:02:41

Watching with interest.

WilliamShatner Mon 16-Jun-14 19:04:04

Keep calm and stay in control. I did not want and did not have any pain relief and noticed that if I started to panic, then the pain was worse.

Yes it's painful but not unbearable and if you concentrate on breathing and understanding that there is an end to your labour, a beautiful baby it does help immensely.

Keeping calm is the best advice I can give you.

TeWiSavesTheDay Mon 16-Jun-14 19:04:17

Birth skills by juju sundin, brilliant book.

Even if you decided you wanted all the drugs (fair enough!) you won't get any until your 4cm dilated. Which can take a while, especially with a first baby. Above book has loads of good tips to do with physical and mental pain management. I read it when I was pregnant with my 2nd and it made such a difference to how I felt during labour.

KatamariDamacy Mon 16-Jun-14 19:04:31

Hire a doula. I had one for my very straightforward birth of DC2; wish I'd had her when I had DC1.

I found my NCT antenatal class invaluable. Not so much for what it taught me (although it was good). I don't know how I would have got through pregnancy, birth and early motherhood without having a bunch of friends who were going through it at the same time as me.

Toadsrevisited Mon 16-Jun-14 19:04:39

I practised certain ideas for visualation with DH- a but hippy for me but they really worked. So he could remind me through contractions that they're like a wave- build up, peak and pass. I found that helped. Also massage oil and massager toy thing. A birth pool was the most effective pain relief for me. And enjoy it- it is the most incredible experience!

Buy almond oil and rub in into your perineum. It helps it become more elasticated during crowning.

I've had two vaginal births either side of a emcs and no stitching required despite small tears.

I thank the almond oil.

HappyGoLuckyGirl Mon 16-Jun-14 19:07:04

My only piece of advice would be to speak to each midwife who treats you (shift change etc) and tell them that if things start to go a bit pear shaped then you want to be fully informed immediately.

I ended up yelling at a room full of midwives and doctors because no one was telling me what was happening, which was frightening me.

Once they told me what was happening I was much calmer. smile

Oh and gas and air is your friend!

Pooka Mon 16-Jun-14 19:08:20

What worked for me:

Change positions. Keep mobile. Once in active labour try different positions out. I did antenatal yoga with second child and having an idea of a 'circuit' really helped. So would rock for a while against a wall. Then bounce on ball. Then hands and knees. And so on.

I also found concentrating on something/anything else in early stages meant that I didn't make the mistake of 'believing' I was in active labour too early. I tried to put the initial tightenings to the back of my mind until I was unable to. By which stage I was well dilated. With first, I focused on the early contractions too much which meant that it felt (to me) like the labour was longer than it was. I almost seemed to talk myself out of it if you see what I mean.

I did hypnobirthing with an antenatal hypnotist which really helped too I think. Basically was all about the 'woo' second time round. While it may just have been an easier labour and delivery, I certainly found having other things to think about (including homeopathy) took my mind off the labour.

Pooka Mon 16-Jun-14 19:09:31

Read Ina May gaskin. That was a really positive read in the later months, even though I knew that things don't always go to plan etc.

sadsaddersaddest Mon 16-Jun-14 19:10:50

Stay at home as long as you can.
Move. Walk, walk on all fours.
When it is time to push, choose the position that feels most comfortable for you. Don't let the MW intimidate you.

ContinentalKat Mon 16-Jun-14 19:12:33

Have a birthing partner you trust completely, and tell him/her what you want and don't want. He or she might have to make decisions for you.

Do not tell anybody your due date or when you are going into labour! A phonecall or text when your baby is here is fine.

SimplyRedHead Mon 16-Jun-14 19:13:10

Take lots of change with you - you need coins for the vending machines, parking etc etc.

Take a change of clothes for your partner - he/she may end up covered in sweat / puke / poo / waters etc.

Try to visualise something like a repetitive movement to help with pain (mine was a lilo bobbing on a wave).

Stay upright if possible - gravity will help (and giving birth on your back is horrible and hurts!).

Try not to panic.

Take flip flops - the showers / floors etc are gross!

YellowYoYoYam Mon 16-Jun-14 19:13:24

Frozen CapriSuns. During labour DH wrapped them in paper towels and I used them as ice packs then drank them.

Baths during labour.

Tried various techniques from JuJu Sundin's Birth Skills book.

sezamcgregor Mon 16-Jun-14 19:13:40

Oiling your perineum would be a great idea - I didn't and tore, and wished I had spent some time preparing before the birth now!

My top tip is just to stay as calm as possible. In my ante-natal classes, we watched a woman giving birth in her own home with no pain relief - she was so calm and collected, it was wonderful to watch and gave a real "if she can do it, so can I!" effect!

Also re noise - my midwife told me that while I was screaming, I was not putting that energy into pushing and to stop the noise and push properly! - it worked much better her way ;)

For all of the stuff that comes afterwards, bear in mind that every man and his dog will have an opinion on every aspect of how you choose to parent your child - smile, nod and categorise as "rubbish: to be ignored" or "potentially useful: to try if current strategy fails"

You'll know from these boards that there's no "one rule fits all" for bringing up a child, but instead that you do what's best for you and your family at the time. It's also fine to make mistakes.

MoreKopparbergthanKrug Mon 16-Jun-14 19:15:51

If you go into labour in the middle of the night, do not leap out bed straight away and pace round the house "keeping mobile", carry on resting for as long as you can. Otherwise you'll end up giving birth having not slept for 36 hours straight. The keeping mobile advice is really for later in labour I think.

Also, definitely pack a small hospital bag even if planning a home birth and make sure you know where everything is at home so if you get kept in for any length of time after the birth for any reason you can give instructions on where to find clean nighties/bras/sleep suits.

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