3 Tips for Managing Early Labour at Home

Pregnancy. Pregnant. Early labour signs. What do I do when I go into labour? Maternity.

What should I do when I first go into labour?

It can be overwhelming when labor first starts, especially if this is your first birth. Trying to figure out if you're really in labor, how long it will last, when to go to the hospital or call your midwife, can be intimidating and confusing.  There will be so many thoughts swirling in your head around this time. Here are some of the things I suggest to moms during the early labor phase to help you stay calm, rested and to keep labor progressing.

Check out these guided meditations for Early Labour on YouTube.

1. Exercise

It may seem like the last thing you want to do but walking and movement is one of the most proven ways to keep labor moving along because:

- It stimulates the hormones that conduct labor contractions,

- It helps to dilate the cervix and get baby's head engaged

Some ideas include:

- Curb walking to create space and movement in the pelvis. Walk along the curb, one foot on the curb, alternating up and down.

- Another great exercise is to do circles on an exercise ball, drawing big circles with your hips clockwise and then counter-clockwise.

- Cleaning your house can be a good way to get some movement in your body and distract you from the early labour pains- vacuuming, dusting, cleaning windows. Bonus is that you'll have a clean house for when baby arrives!

Or check out this Youtube Video for some ideas on labour inducing exercises by Nourish Move Love.

Exercise for pregnancy. Safe pregnancy exercises. Exercise ball. Maternity. Labour.

2. Rest and Digest

I always suggest that moms (and their partners) get as much rest and sleep as possible in the early labor phase.  If you start labout at night, try your best to get some sleep. Sometimes early labor can last as long as 3 days. It is important to stay hydrated and fueled before contractions get more intense- sipping on water and electrolytes, eating small bites of toast or crackers - will help ensure you'll have enough energy for the long run. It's always good to plan ahead, one thing I recommend to have on hand for labor is a water bottle with a straw for easy sipping. Stanley cup anyone?! 

Woman in labour. Safe labour tips. Pregnancy. Maternity. What to do in labour.

3. Ignore!

As crazy as it may seem to someone starting labor for the first time, the best thing you can do is ignore early labor...until you can't anymore. Distractions are key, house cleaning, cooking, baking, walking, Netflix or reading, whatever will keep your mind off the discomfort of early labor. Need some more ideas on what you and your partner can do to help you move through early labour?  Check out this list of ideas.

When preparing for your birth make a list of things you can do in early labor that will help distract you. 16 Tips Here.

Woman in labour. How to labour at home. What to do when I go into labour. Maternity. Pregnancy.

What are some indicators that it is time to head to the hospital?

- When your contractions are intense to the point that you are no longer able to talk through them- this is a good indicator that you're transitioning into active labor. 

- 4-1-1,  When your contractions are coming regularly 4 minutes apart, each contraction lasts at least 1 minute, and they have been following this pattern for longer then 1 hour, you have most likely progressed enough to head to the hospital.

Learn more here.

Of course, always consult your care provider if you suspect something is wrong.

Wherever you are, whatever your birth plan or situation, I hope you feel empowered and educated to have the birth that you want, and that you deserve. If you have questions or want to learn more about how to prepare for your birth you are always welcome to contact us @jessandleematernity or conect with us through our website.



Ondeck M. Healthy birth practice #2: walk, move around, and change positions throughout labor. J Perinat Educ. 2014 Fall;23(4):188-93. doi: 10.1891/1058-1243.23.4.188. PMID: 25411538; PMCID: PMC4235058.

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