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Approaches to early labour

You are at the beginning of an intense experience – possibly long, and most probably painful. Your body works really hard in labour. The uterine muscle has to pull itself open to approx 10 cm. The cervix may also have to soften and thin (efface) if it has not already done so. What you hope to see is a pattern of regular and intensifying contractions as indication of labour settling in for birth of baby. But some women don’t experience this in the short-term. Some impending/pre/early labours can go on for days. In either situation the following ideas may be helpful.

Muscles don’t work when depleted of energy so it’s important to keep body tanked up with energy so need to eat and drink, especially long lasting type energy sources.

  • Big effort ahead – sleep through (if it’s night) it if you can to conserve energy or have a sleep/rest during day.
  • Avoid getting over excited or panicked as these burn up your energy. Try to go about ordinary business, just observing what’s happening. Be careful to avoid doing super strenuous activities which leave you exhausted.
  • Make sure you have your birth arrangements in order. Eg: get things ready for trip to hospital if you are planning on going there, go shopping for last minute supplies.
  • Avoid telling the whole world – it starts people (including you) watching the clock and counting labour time. And it may be a practice go rather than developing into full-on labour.
  • Have a shower or listen to music, sleep, meditate, go for a quiet walk What ever helps you relax physically and mentally.
  • Take note of your breathing – try to avoid over breathing, catching your breath. These keep tension in body.
  • Use comfort devices for crampy pain – hot water bottle, wheat pack– if necessary but try to be matter of fact – avoid high drama. You’ll need to concentrate on your labour later, while it’s not compelling: don’t.
  • Good sign of labour getting a bit more serious is inability to do other things while contraction occurring. Walking – have to stop. Talking – can’t continue.