How To Prepare For Birth: The Ultimate No BS Guide!
Here at The Birth Uprising, we are so bloody passionate about EVERYONE getting to prepare for a positive birth experience!
Many people think that their options are limited when it comes to birth, due to special circumstances, health issues or previous births etc. We’re here to promise you that EVERYONE has choices!
Whether it’s preparing for your perfect caesarean birth, planning a positive induction or having your baby at home, there are so many things that you can choose that will make it yours.
You are the boss of your birth and we are here to encourage you to prepare, to learn and to smash it!
We started our journey into the birth world by practising and then training in hypnobirthing, something that’s often thought to be something it isn’t.
Hypnobirthing courses offer full antenatal preparation including elements such as calming your mind, prepping your body, getting your birth partner trained up to support you exactly as you need, using knowledge of your birth hormones to make your birth environment and everything in it support your body to do what it’s gotta do.
Birth doesn’t have to be a horrible experience like you’ve been lead to believe your entire life, read on to get started on making your birth experience a great one!
How To Prepare The Mind For Birth As Well As The Body
Hands down the one thing that most people worry about when it comes to birth is PAIN!
Except, it doesn’t have to be painful!
You can change your mindset around this and it can make a world of difference.
For a start, you can watch positive birth videos, to show your mind that not every experience of childbirth is lying helpless on a bed, screaming in pain like the media tells you.
Then once you’ve accepted that as a possibility, not just for people but for you personally, let’s look at how we see pain.
You see those videos on the internet about people doing exercise saying ‘feel the burn!’ Or ‘there’s no progress without pain’. The celebration of that pain for the work it’s doing, making your muscles work, tiring them and ultimately, making you stronger.
Pain isn’t always a bad thing, sometimes it’s welcomed. It has a purpose!
Your uterus is doing a workout when you’re in labour too! The toughest workout it’s ever done!
It starts off, contracting, pushing baby towards the cervix to help dilate it and to push baby towards the world. There’s a good chance you won’t even feel it. This will be going on inside your body with no discomfort whatsoever!
Then as things progress you start to become aware of the sensations. Now if you experience these and think, ‘oh no, labour has arrived, it’s going to be awful. It’s going to hurt so much!’ Then as things progress you will be so focused on them and you’ll tense, waiting for the pain to increase, and it will. The anxiety and the tension will make it so.
However, when you start to experience the sensations of labour you could get excited, remember the positive experiences you’ve watched and heard of and welcome the sensations as your body’s badass way of using its power to bring your baby to you safely.
As the surges become stronger in intensity you can remind yourself that your uterus is a muscle that needs oxygen to work comfortably. Breathing in deeply, breathing out any tension you might have.
With the knowledge you gain in pregnancy through antenatal education, you will know that your uterus is contracting. The vertical muscles contracting to pull up the horizontal muscles, this is drawing the cervix up and helping it to soften, efface and then dilate.
We know that the sensations we’re experiencing are ALL doing something. Whether it’s working on that cervix or turning baby into a more optimal position, it’s all working towards the end goal. You have fucking got this!
As things progress into the later stages we can recognise that this increase in intensity signifies that things are going brilliantly. Our bodies are fucking amazing. Everything that we are feeling is bloody magical!
It is possible to go through labour thinking ‘bring it on!’, ‘yessss, another surge! One step closer to baby’ and this positivity alongside practical tools and a kickass birth partner can carry you through the experience feeling calm and badass at all times!
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Nobody can guarantee you a pain free birth, if that’s what you thought hypnobirthing was then you might be in for a shock. What hypnobirthing CAN do is guarantee that you have all the knowledge and support that it takes to change that mindset, pack your toolkit full of tricks and get your birth partner trained up to support you.
The rest is up to you!
Check out Alix’s pain free birth story here!
So How Can You Change Your Mindset?
Hypnobirthing Tools and how to use them.
Get informed about birth– Learn all about the process of birth, the hormones involved, how to choose your birth place, how your environment can help you to feel positive and help the process along, the role of the birth partner, the stages of labour, positions to help aid baby’s position, how to write a birth plan and all sorts of other stuff that if you haven’t been at loads of births (and most of us haven’t) you just won’t know unless you’ve been told it or sought it out.The more you know about birth, the more likely it is that you will feel pre- pared to face it yourself. Knowing what the body is doing and HOW can really help you to see birth as a bodily function like any other and take a lot of the fear away. Between getting as informed as possible and taking in lots of positive information about birth, you can completely change your mindset from one full of fear of what can ‘go wrong’ into one that expects birth to ‘go right’ (whatever that means). Feeling positive and confident at the start of labour can go a long way to helping the process along by keeping away from fight or flight and producing lots of oxytocin.
Learn decision making tools– Knowing your rights when it comes to birth (psst, you can pretty much do what you want) and knowing how and where to get all the informa- tion you need, helps you to feel informed and confident in making the decisions needed to birth your baby. This may be during pregnancy, by getting information from third parties such as AIMS or doing your own research. It may be during labour, in which case using decision making tools designed to get as much information about your circumstances will help you to make decisions about your care. Just knowing the questions to ask to find out if it’s safe to take 30 mins to make your decision can make a huge difference. Nobody wants to make a decision in a rush when some time could have been taken to process it and ensure the choices were understood and considered and the best one for the family chosen!
Take in positive information about birth– Now this means reading positive birth stories about your dream birth, watching videos to see how happy people are after their baby has been born and getting an idea of timescales that birth takes as well as visuals of birth that aren’t just people lying in bed screaming, which is all we really see in movies and on TV. It also means steering clear of clickbait articles with scary headlines written to get more views but which are usually untrue or very very unlikely to happen so not worth worrying about. It also means opting to stay away from negative conversations about birth, perhaps trying not to talk at all to your sister about birth if her experience was a traumatic one or asking Sandra down the road to spare you the details when she goes off on one about her birth 40 years ago. These people mean you no harm, they may simply think they are ‘preparing you’. We know however that preparing you to fear the birth process is not helpful AT ALL! No two births are the dame, you just prepare for the birth that you want and try not to focus on the birth that you really bloody don’t want!
Take a look at some positive birth videos HERE
Practise hypnobirthing tools you’ve probably heard about– A great part of birth prep is learning the famous hypnobirthing tools, what comes to mind when people say hypnobirthing (aside from swinging clocks and vagina whispering).These tools are an incredible way to prepare for birth and remain calm and comfortable throughout. However, on their own without all the stuff above, they’re not enough.Add these into your routine alongside all the information and mindset stuff and you have got this!
- Breathing Techniques– These ensure you’re taking lots of nice big even breaths throughout your labour to keep the oxygen flowing nicely, this will help your uterus to be able to do it’s job as efficiently and comfortably as possible. They are also a great way of distracting you from what’s going on around you and giving you something else to focus on. It sounds simple but breathing techniques can do so much to keep you calm and if you practice them during pregnancy you will feel the benefit on the day.
Check Out A Section Of Our Affordable Hypnobirthing Pack Below To Learn A Breathing Technique For Birth. Breathing Techniques Can Go A Long Way To Helping You Achieve A Positive Birth Experience.
Visualisation– This is a way to almost practise birth before its time to do it for real. Thinking in your head about how you’d like your birth to go or saying it out loud, can help you to feel more confident in your plans and trick your mind into thinking it’s nothing new when labour starts for real! This can help reduce the chance of entering fight or flight and keep oxytocin flowing!
Affirmations– Using the law of repetition, you can convince your brain to believe something just by showing it the same information repeatedly. Instead of talking about how you DON’T want labour to go, write affirmations and say things about how you DO want it to go. Giving your brain a bit of cheerleading can help it to believe in you! Instead of saying ‘I don’t want to tear’ say ‘my body WILL stretch to accommodate my baby’. After a while the affirmations sink into your subconscious and help you to have confidence in yourself which in turn will help you feel more relaxed and encourage the hormones needed for labour.
Download some handy colouring in affirmation HERE
Relaxation– As humans living in a world full of things to do, technology etc. we rarely spend time relaxing and doing absolutely nothing! This means that our neocortex, the part of our brain responsible for rational thinking, is almost never switched off.We very much want that part of the brain to be out of the way during labour and not interfering with the process by think- ing of unhelpful scenarios! By practising relaxation during pregnancy, you can make it easier to relax on cue, a skill that’s very handy for labour! Try lying back and doing absolutely nothing, on the sofa, in bed or in the bath, wherever you like! If you find it difficult to switch off then doing something that doesn’t require much thought counts too! Colouring in, knitting/crochet, walking in nature etc. may be more your thing. Do what works for you!
Hypnobirthing tracks– Listening to hypnobirthing tracks will help you to relax, they are usually written by hypnotherapists and therefore help to induce a state of calm and relaxation. The words will also provide you with lots of encouragement and self belief as they talk you through how amazing you and your body are. Don’t worry if you fall asleep listening to them, they will still be going into your subconscious even if you’re not actively listening. Just be sure you don’t listen when driving or operating heavy machinery as this is not safe. It’s fine to listen to affirmation tracks anytime though for that little boost of confidence!
Download a free hypnobirthing track here.
Anchoring– Whilst you are practising relaxation you can help by setting up cues for your brain to associate with relaxation and therefore help you to do it whenever you want, these are called anchors.Anchors can help you to incorporate all 5 senses and therefore make the con- ditions seem the same wherever you are.You may spray a room spray or have an essential oil that you use whilst relaxing that you then use in labour, you may have a blanket or cushion that you have with you whilst relaxing that you can have with you in your birth space or you may use your hypnobirthing tracks or relaxing music to aid your relaxation, then you can use this during labour and it will all help you to relax despite other things being different such as the location (or the fact you’re in labour eeek!)
Extract From The Birth Uprising Digital Hypnobirthing Pack an affordable option for birth preparation
TOP TIP– Use all the hypnobirthing tools at once throughout your pregnancy and in labour and see how chilled you can feel!
Birth is not about how athletic you are, how much stamina you have or what your pain threshold is like! It’s about you trusting your body to use all the tools it has within it to get your baby to you! The more you know about birth the more confident you will feel and the more you’ll look forward to experiencing labour and this will actually help you birth believe it or not! Mindset is everything so make sure you’re feeling pumped up and ready! If you don’t feel quite that way yet, check out our digital pack and let us sort that out for you!
Check out Louise’s birth story here for how she pulled all her prep together for the birth of her dreams!
Use code ULTIMATE10 for £10 off our Digital Hypnobirthing Pack. Using this code makes the pack £45 ONLY, we wanted it to be cheap and accessible for all!
How Your Hormones Support Your Body During Birth
Your hormones are your toolkit for birth! Each one is very important and they all have their own job to do. There are hormones to help us to feel good, offer pain relief, contract our uterus, make our babies and our own bodies flexible and make sure we care for our babies the way they need us to.
Learning about how our birthing hormones work can not only ensure that there is loads that we can have control over as we prepare for birth and experience it, but hopefully this knowledge will also help you to see how incredible your body is and that it’s already set up to do so much of this already.
Let’s dive into a few of the hormones that your body will produce for birth.
Oxytocin- The Ultimate Badass
Powers- Fills you with love, makes you feel euphoric,
contracts your uterus, tells your breasts to release milk, bonds you to baby. It can do all of this in pregnancy, during labour/birth and after!
Where to find- Anywhere there’s laughter, love, snuggles, mas- sage, wanking and all the good stuff! Try some chocolate and a funny movie!
Weaknesses- Hates being observed, being around strangers and unfamiliar places.VERY shy.
Everybody loves Oxytocin (except that pesky adrenaline), you want to encourage Oxytocin to show her face as much as you can!
Adrenaline- The Part Time Villain
Powers- Makes you alert, blocks oxytocin, increases heart rate and gets ready for fight or flight.
Where to find- In places with fear or anxiety, and at the end of labour where she decides to do some good! Love her or hate her she has her uses and she’s not always evil!
Weaknesses- Can’t help but get involved when they think you’re not feeling safe and calm.
Uh Oh! When it’s not the right time, her presence will slow or stop birth making the process longer and less comfortable.
Melatonin- The Sidekick
Powers- Uses the power of darkness to boost her friend Oxytocin and help labour and bonding along.
Where to find- In quiet dark spaces with privacy. At night, when the hustle and bustle of the day has ended.
Weaknesses- Hates bright lights, screens and being watched.
TIP- Switch off the lights in your birth space!
Endorphins- The Life Of The Party
Powers- Can give you a buzz, a dose of pain relief 200x stronger than morphine. Makes you feel calm and in control.
Where to find- Brought on by physical contact and massage. Encouraged by love and laughter.
TIP- Encourage endorphins in early labour and save them for later!
HERE is a link to our list of things that you can have with you in your birth space to keep your hormones in top form!
Use code ULTIMATE10 for £10 off our Digital Hypnobirthing Pack. Using this code makes the pack £35 ONLY, we wanted it to be cheap and affordable for all!
What Does A Birth Partner Do?
Birth partners have the honour of being present as a baby is born, one of the most incredible moments a person can ever have! It’s up to them to get prepared as best they can to help support someone they love as they birth their baby. They are such a bloody important part in all this! The practical and emotional support they can give and the continuity of care that they provide can do so much to help birth along the way. The way they feel about birth and their mindset will have an impact on the big day.
If you are a birth partner reading this, you have gotta do whatever you can to feel confident in your ability to support birth and take an active role.This will mean that the birth space is full of positive energy and lovely and calm. You are going to work as an amazing team and look back on this for the rest of your lives! You’ll have your own positive birth story to tell! Get ready to get that oxytocin flowing!
People often underestimate what a huge part the birth partner has to play in the whole experience, here’s a great big list of the various jobs the birth partner needs to do. Can you see how birth preparation is for them too?
During The Pregnancy
- Get informed about birth by really getting involved with antenatal prep and learning.
- Read birth related books.
- Be involved in writing the birth plan so that they understand it well.
- Listen to the relaxation MP3s regularly.
- Practise the breathing techniques so you know them for both of you to keep calm during labour.
- Watch positive birth videos to show how calm and lovely birth can be.
- Complete a fear release exercise together to get any fears out in the open.
- Do research about the things you may be anxious about for reassurance.
- Practise massage techniques to use in labour.
- Find out the practical details like directions to the birth place, parking and phone numbers you may need in labour.
Use Tools You’ve Learned Together On A Course In Both Pregnancy And The Birth Itself
(if you haven’t done a course together yet, our Hypnobirthing Digital Pack is a great affordable option for an antenatal course to suit everyone.
Aid visualisation with prompts.
Remind of breathing techniques/ do together
Find mp3s to aid relaxation.
Manage environment to support birthing hormones.
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Make the birther laugh
Nipple and clitoral stimulation
Put something funny on (TOP TIP- our number 1 go to is My Dad Wrote A Porno the podcast)
Talk about funny stories/ embarrassing moments from the past.
Dry run of the hospital journey or birth space set up if home birth- know where to park and how to pay for it, what entrance to use etc.
Help to pack bags to ensure they know where everything is when it’s needed
Pack the car to travel.
Set up birth space at home or in another setting with affirmations, comfort items, lights etc.
Do birth plans together and know what everything means and why it has been chosen.
Create a playlist or two for the day, uplifting for early labour and calming for later on.
Make yummy food to give energy.
Spend time being romantic/ cuddling if appropriate.
Watch funny stuff together.
Go for a walk or out for lunch.
Do a silly dance routine (or a serious one if you’re pros!).
Keep an eye on how far apart surges are, if timing, keep the times to yourself. It’s not helpful for the birther to know and not necessary to do at all.
Listen to when the birther wishes to go to hospital/ be seen by a midwife and help sort that out.
When midwives arrive or you both arrive at the birth setting then the birth partner should talk them through what’s been happening so far.
Explain the birth plans and answer any questions.
Set up the space with everything to support the birthing hormones, blackout blind, lights, sign on the door etc.
Manage birth environment- who’s in the room? Must they be there? Are they being kind and quiet?
Advocate with the care providers when needed, remind them of their use of language and the birth plans.
Help with giving food and drink.
Be in charge of the music/ mp3s.
Suggest going to the toilet and regular position changes.
Use cool or warm facecloths to keep the birther comfortable.
Look out for signs of transition and give loads of encouragement.
Provide cheerleading when necessary.
Help decision making using BRAIN to get all the information needed.
Make sure the birth plans are carried out where possible or present plans B or C where needed.
Look out for tension in the jaw, shoulders etc and help to relax.
When Baby Arrives
Help to facilitate skin to skin by helping remove clothes or even helping to hold baby there
Ensure birth preferences are adhered to with choices after birth eg. placenta, vitamin K etc -Help to fetch items from bag such as clean clothes, maternity pads etc.
Enjoy skin to skin with baby whilst birther gets themselves dressed/ uses the toilet/ has a shower etc.
Help facilitate breastfeeding if this is what is wanted, be encouraging, do what you can to take care of the less important things around them.
Be involved in nappy changing, getting dressed and holding baby while they sleep, this helps your bond with baby and also is a great help during recovery from birth!
As you can see, there’s a lot more to being a birth partner than just sitting in the room with you. The birth is not just something that you do, it’s also an experience that they go through alongside you. The preparation that they do will help aid their experience and how useful they feel along the way. The more tools they have in their back pocket, the more helpful they will feel on the big day!
Use code ULTIMATE10 for £10 off our Digital Hypnobirthing Pack. Using this code makes the pack £45 ONLY, we wanted it to be accessible and cheap for all!
How to write a birth plan?
Firstly, writing a birth plan is NOT a silly idea or an invitation to be disappointed. Anyone who thinks that way is not yet informed about how bloody important a birth plan is! A birth plan is not a prescription or a set of instructions, its just a clear presentation of what you want! It will help your care providers to know exactly what you want without asking you a million questions but most importantly it will help YOU and your birth partner/s to learn all the options available and know what you want!
Find out what options there are to consider.
Have a look online for lots of varied birth plan examples, these may be ones that have been created by professionals or fellow birthers. These are a great way to have a first look at what all the options are. There are likely to be lots of things that you hadn’t considered or have just never heard of before. Find out what they all mean if you’re not sure, knowing what all the options are is a great way to start figuring out what you would like to choose!
Use code ULTIMATE10 for £10 off our Digital Hypnobirthing Pack. Using this code makes the pack £45 ONLY, we wanted it to be accessible and affordable for all!
You are looking to create AT LEAST 3 birth plans.
Think about what changes could happen. Eg. Home birth to hospital, spontaneous to induction etc. You would then create birth plans for each scenario with plan A being your ideal birth and plan C being a caesarean birth. Someone planning a Labour ward birth may do a plan A for that ideal birth they are working towards, a plan B for if they decide to have an induction or any augmentation (waters being broken, the drip etc.) and then a final plan C for caesarean. If plan A was a home birth or birth centre birth then there may be a plan B x2 for a change of birth place too!
Think about what you want!
What’s important to you? What birth have you always thought would be lovely? At this point it doesn’t matter what type of birth you think you are limited to, for now you are just getting an idea of the type of birth you would love to have. The next steps will help you find out how you can make this happen or what alternatives there are.
What special circumstances do you need to consider?
Find out everything you can about these- Places like Evidence Based Birth, Sara Wickham’s website, the NICE guidelines, AIMS. These may be health issues of your own, pregnancy related issues, health issues for baby. Not all of these will affect your birth choices but now is the time to find out which ones do if you have any!
Find out others experiences.
For example, If you would love a home birth and you have gestational diabetes, Join a FB group like Home Birth Support Group UK and look for others experiences with GD. This can be a great way of getting some insight into what other people have found useful when making their decisions and the different care provider opinions others have come across. This might show you that it’s not as black and white as you may have been led to believe. No matter what it is always your choice.
Talk through your options with knowledgable folks.
Your instructor or the AIMS helpline would be a good start, they can tell you what they know, any relevant research and help you come up with a list of questions for you to ask your care providers as well as stuff to read up on.
Discuss with your care provider.
This may be a midwife or a consultant, do not be disheartened if you don’t hear what you would like to hear, you can still chat through your circumstances with a Professional Midwifery Advocate and they can talk you through if what you are after is REALLY out of the question or not.
Consider what things are super important to you and you would not like to miss out on unless theres an emergency.
This may be remaining upright throughout labour and for the birth, skin to skin after birth, avoiding ‘the drip’ or any other intervention or medication etc. How can you try to make sure that you can have these things? Can they be worked into all your birth plans? Eg. Remaining upright- even in the case of epidural use you can be assisted into various positions that support birth. Skin to skin after birth, can it be arranged that your birth partner holds baby on your chest for skin to skin EVEN after a Caesarean under general anaesthetic? Avoiding ‘the drip’, this may mean you opt for a caesarean if you would rather. There are so many possibilities we’re not always offered, if you aren’t sure how you can still incorporate certain things then talk to your instructor!
Create the birth plans for real!
Consider everything you’ve learned about any factors concerning your pregnancy and chats with PMA or midwife etc and bring it all together to create your plan using whichever format suits you best, try to ensure it will be easily read by the care providers and explained by your birth partner.
Create your plan methodically by first considering your background such as how you feel about birth, how many babies you’ve had, any special medical or cultural requirements. Then move onto the things that you would like to include in your environment such as low light levels, quiet, who you would like present (eg. Are you happy to have student midwives present? A doula?).
Next consider what you would like for each stage of labour, comfort measures you’d like to have available, what monitoring or interventions you would like to choose or avoid. Make sure to include what you would like your midwives to do, whether you would prefer them in the background or if you would really like the reassurance of having them right next to you when they’re in the room. Include how you would like baby to be born, whether you would like direction from a caregiver or not and if you would be happy to accept forceps etc if thought necessary.
Then consider what you would like to happen once baby is here, would you like to find out the sex yourself? Who will cut the cord? When will it be clamped (if at all)? What about vitamin K injection for baby? Let those reading know how you would like to feed your baby and what you would like to happen with baby when they are born, would you like uninterrupted skin to skin? Would you like baby wiped down before you hold them? This is all up to you! Finally, how would you like to birth the placenta? What would you like to do with it after?
Do this with your birth partner ideally so that they understand it all and know the reasons for your choices. At the very least, go through it in detail with them, they will then be able to help relay it to your care providers on the day.
Change your birth plan any time you want, we often learn new things and make new choices. Finally, you can change your mind on the day if you want to!
Check out Jade’s birth story here where she used her knowledge to make decisions on the day when things changed.
Use code ULTIMATE10 for £10 off our Digital Hypnobirthing Pack. Using this code makes the pack £45 ONLY, we wanted it to be accessible and affordable for all!
What does early labour feel like?
This is a tricky one that we can’t really promise you a definitive answer to. I suppose the first thing to think about is what the start of labour really means and when that happens!
You see, your body is preparing to birth your baby from when you first conceive. As pregnancy progresses, you may notice changes that are signs of labour such as surges that come and go, the loss of your mucus plug and your baby feeling very low in your pelvis.
There may be changes to your cervix before you become aware of labour but who would ever know unless they popped a hand in and checked ay? As a society we are very focused on dilation as a sign that labour has ‘begun’ or progressed but we think that’s bullshit!
If you experience surges at the end of pregnancy, it may make you wonder, ‘is this labour?’. Well yes! Yes it is! Does that mean your baby will be here today? Who bloody knows! This can mean it’s hard to identify if things are really underway!
Some people may just have ‘a feeling’ that things are happening. They may sense that they need their birth partner with them, that they should stay at home or get childcare for older children if that’s what they want.
The frequency and intensity of surges can be a big giveaway that things are really progressing, particularly if they start coming very regularly and don’t stop. Although it can be normal for labours to stop for various reasons even when things have progressed.
We often see labour begin with waters releasing on the television but more often than not, that isn’t the first sign of labour, this can be something that happens right at the end before baby is born. It can also happen a while before any surges so bear this in mind before rushing to get to your birth space.
Most people don’t really realise that they’re in labour until they look back in hindsight, so you may not recognise that your labour has been going on for a while. Perhaps hours, days or even weeks have passed and it’s not until you look back and realise that that is the case.
Labour is usually not something that happens super quickly for most people, so being able to pinpoint when things are happening isn’t really necessary. Similarly, it’s very dismissive to be labelled as ‘not in labour’ when you are feeling any changes. We can assure you that you are in labour. We just can’t give you any time frame for how long that will last.
If you are fairly certain that Labour has begun and it’s not you needing a poo or braxton hicks…. then by this point you are likely to be having regular surges that don’t seem to be getting further apart or stopping.
Care providers would measure this part as from the beginning of labour until around 4cm and a rule of thumb being until surges are around 3 or 4 in 10 minutes and would advise you not to head to your birth space until after this point.
However, human beings don’t fit into a box like this and if you begin to feel like you would very much like to get to your birth space, be seen by a midwife or receive a form of pain relief that isn’t available to you alone at home, then this is probably the right time to call for a midwife to come to you or start making your way to your birth space.
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Here Are Some Tips For Early Labour
Changes to your environment or the people in it and stresses can easily slow or stop labour at this stage so be mindful of your environment. Try to tailor it to support your hormones by making it as dark, calming and private as possible.
You may begin to think about your comfort measures such as getting in the shower or bath, massage and TENS machine.
You may choose to be alone during this part in your own little bubble or have a partner, friend or family member with you. This may be helpful during the day if there are other children around or for providing food and drinks.
Try to remain upright, forward and open throughout early labour but if you want to rest then do so.
In early labour it can be really helpful to just go about life as usual if you feel able, this can help things to progress as well as making it easier to cope with mentally by switching the focus from labour progression to other things.
Your birth partner (or yourself if you really would feel better knowing everything is ready) should gather together the bits and bobs that you will need for you and baby after the birth or at your birth space. HERE is a handy list of what to pack in your bag if you’re not sure (we do advise that you do this before labour has begun but hey!)
We really hope that this guide has been useful to you in showing you how to prepare for labour and birth alongside your birth partner of choice! There’s so much you can do to get informed and be in control of your birth experience. This birth is yours and yours alone, go with what you want to do!