It’s no secret: Childbirth isn’t a walk in the park. Of course, every woman’s labor experience is different, but it’s pretty safe to say that childbirth is a mentally and physically challenging experience for every woman — whether it is her first labor or she is a pro at the process.
If you’re worried about your upcoming labor and delivery process, you may be looking for labor tips for easy childbirth. You’ve come to the right place; at UnplannedPregnancy.com, we understand how scary childbirth can be, especially for women who never planned on becoming pregnant in the first place. That’s why we’ve gathered some of the most helpful tips for giving birth here — to help you best prepare for this life-changing experience.
Remember: The best baby delivery tips will come from your doctor. They are the only ones who can accurately explain how to make labor easier in your situation. The information presented in this article is not intended to be and should not be taken as medical advice.
How to Have an Easy Labor: 10 Labor Tips for Expectant Mothers
Wondering how to make labor easier? There are a few common tips for a natural labor that every woman should be aware of.
Keep in mind: If you have a cesarean-section scheduled, your labor tips may be slightly different. Always speak with your doctor about what to expect if you are not having a vaginal delivery.
In the meantime, start your research into tips for giving birth naturally here.
1. Be Able to Recognize the Signs of Early Labor.
Before we even get into how to make labor easier when you’re actually giving birth, we want you to first know the signs of early labor. Labor comes in three stages: pre-labor, active labor, and then delivering the placenta after your baby is born. If you can identify the signs of early labor, it is more likely that you will receive the medical attention you need when you need it — not before it gets too late.
2. Time Your Contractions.
Just as you should be able to identify early labor, you should be able to recognize when your body moves into more active labor. It will be at this point that you will start using the following tips for giving birth.
Childbirth is not always a fast process, and it may take some time for your body to enter active labor. While a nurse or doctor will monitor how dilated you are once you are admitted, you likely will not be admitted to the hospital until you are dilated at least three centimeters. Another way to measure this? Through the timing of your contractions.
Before you rush to the hospital, make sure that you have properly timed your contractions. Your contractions should consistently occur five minutes apart (or faster) and should last 45 to 60 seconds in order to be considered active labor. Once this is true for you, you will be one step closer to giving birth and your labor has advanced enough to be admitted to the hospital.
3. Listen to Your Body.
While there are many tips on easy labor and delivery that you should keep in mind, remember that every labor is different. Only you will be able to identify and describe how your body is responding to the labor process. If something feels wrong, don’t hesitate to tell your doctor. If certain labor and delivery advice is not working for your childbirth experience, talk to your doctor or your delivery professional for more guidance in the moment.
In addition, always be aware of the signs of childbirth complications and inform your doctor right away if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
4. Find a Supportive Birth Partner.
One of the best baby delivery tips out there is to find someone who will support you through your childbirth journey. Many women choose their baby’s father as this person but, if your baby’s father is not in the picture, you should still find a loved one to accompany you on this journey (perhaps your mother or sister or a close friend). Ideally, this person should accompany you to your childbirth classes to learn what to expect during the labor and delivery process and be able to remind you of your preparatory exercises when you are in the midst of your delivery experience.
Whoever you choose as your labor partner, make sure they are just as familiar with your birth plan as you are and that they are comfortable advocating for you should you be unable to advocate for yourself. Talk at length with your birth partner while you are still in your second trimester; make sure they are truly the person you want by your side during this experience.
5. Choose a Comfortable Position.
If you’ve never gone through childbirth before, you may be surprised to find out that labor is not at all like what you’ve seen in the movies. While women years ago often gave birth sitting reclined in a hospital bed, there are many more options for expectant mothers today. Our labor advice to you? Find the position that you are most comfortable in, and don’t be afraid to change things up.
One of the ways to make labor easier and faster is finding the best position for your labor. You may find that certain positions are more comfortable at different stages in your labor. Here are a few to consider:
- Standing supported squat
- Leaning or kneeling forward
- Knees to chest
- On back with legs raised
- On all fours (hands and knees)
6. Be Ready for Unexpected Developments.
In an ideal childbirth experience, everything will go according to your birth plan. But, for the majority of expectant mothers, unexpected developments occur that require a bit of flexibility and change in plans. This is one of the most important labor tips to keep in mind; things may not always go according to plan but, if you keep an open mind, you can still have a successful childbirth experience. Every labor is different, but be reassured that a medical professional will guide you through every step of the process.
7. Use What You Learned in Your Birthing Class.
In the midst of labor, it can be easy to forget everything that you’ve done to prepare yourself for this experience. But, it is incredibly important that you think about the birthing classes that you previously took and implement some of the teacher’s tricks into your labor and delivery process. They didn’t teach you those for nothing!
It may be helpful to write down these tips on how to have an easy labor ahead of time; that way, when you are overwhelmed with emotion during labor, you can simply turn to your pre-written sheet for guidance. This can also be why a birth partner can be so important; they can guide you through your natural labor tips and tricks that you may have difficulty doing yourself in the middle of your labor. You will thank yourself for it later!
8. Get Moving.
The actual laboring process of childbirth often comes at least six hours after you are admitted to this hospital — which is a long time to sit around and wait for your contractions to come. One of the ways to make labor easier on your body is to be active during the process. Instead of lying in bed, get up and get moving; walk the maternity floor, do some stretching (as long as it feels good) and just stay active. Many medical professionals even advise this as part of their birthing tips; walking helps guide the baby lower into the pelvis and can even reduce the pain you feel during contractions.
9. Create a Relaxing Environment.
Some of the more general tips to get through labor don’t focus on yourself at all but the environment that you are laboring in. As part of your birth plan, you will decide whether you will deliver in a hospital ward or a non-traditional birthing center. You should also consider the more detailed parts of the room you are going to deliver in. Most women benefit from a dark and quiet environment during labor, accompanied by some of their comfiest and soothing pillows, clothes and scents. Think about creating a personal playlist for your delivery or bringing in personal pictures to make your delivery room more like home.
10. Always Listen to Your Doctor.
Here’s the most important step in how to make labor easier: Always listen to your doctor’s advice. Whether this is your first or fourth labor (or anything in between), your doctor will always have more experience than you when it comes to childbirth. He or she will know what is best for your situation and will offer appropriate guidance to keep you and your unborn baby safe during this time. It’s 100 percent normal to be nervous for delivery, but having a medical professional that you can fully trust can make all the difference.
Looking for more tips for easy childbirth? Don’t be afraid to speak at length with your medical professional, birthing partner, other mothers and anyone else who can offer tips and tricks for your upcoming childbirth experience. But remember: You are always the one who knows your body and mind best.