Tips to Make Labor Easier for KC Moms
Well, they don’t call it labor for nothing. Bringing Baby into the world is often considered one of the most challenging, yet rewarding, works of a woman’s life. Preparing for labor, then, may be one of the wisest uses of your time as you anticipate your little one’s pending arrival.
Make a List and Check It Twice
Don’t let labor take you by surprise. Develop a plan with the aid of your doctor or midwife so you know what to do when it strikes. While consulting with your medical provider, ask questions: “How long should I labor at home before heading to the birthing center? And when should I call the hospital to inform them I’m in labor?” Schedule a visit to your hospital’s birthing center to familiarize yourself with the facility and keep tabs on what you should bring with you. (Word to the wise: Pack a pair of chenille non-skid socks. Your cold tootsies will thank you!)
Discuss with your husband various scenarios that may take place, such as what you will do if you go into labor at home while he’s at work, whether he will pick you up or meet you at the hospital and just how you will get to the hospital if you do, in fact, fly solo! Also, don’t forget to have a backup babysitter in place in the event you need one for older children. By covering your bases ahead of time, you can breathe easier and direct your energies toward what really matters.
Feel the Burn
No fitness routine has been proven to make labor easier (wouldn’t that be nice?), but according to the American Congress of Pediatrics and Gynecologists, moderate exercise is proven to reap positive dividends both within your pregnancy and your labor by increasing your stamina and helping you manage pain more effectively. Pregnancy is not the time to start a new high-impact workout or set out to break personal fitness records, but it’s a wonderful time to implement mild physical activity such as walking, swimming or prenatal yoga to build the endurance you will need throughout labor. As always, consult with your doctor while developing a prenatal fitness plan.
Conserve Your Energy
Labor potentially can be a long process, so it’s important to pace yourself. Because you will likely spend the early stages of labor at home, try to relax while there as much as possible. Take a warm shower or ask your spouse to provide a gentle message. Listen to a favorite soothing playlist and don’t forget to drink plenty of water and fuel your body well. Healthy snacks full of protein and carbohydrates are ideal. Consume some at home, as you will likely not be allowed to eat in the hospital and will need to keep your energy—and blood sugar—up throughout labor and delivery.
You’ve Got a Friend in Me
Did you know that having good additional support while you labor not only helps you mentally prepare for the hardest parts of bringing Baby into the world but it also can reduce greatly your need for unnecessary medical interventions? It’s true! According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, women who receive continuous care throughout labor from a support person such as a doula are more than 50 percent less likely to need a C-section, 30 percent less likely to use pain medication and, perhaps most impressively, have labors that are 25 percent shorter than those who didn’t have a support team. A doula also can be a wonderful mediator between you and the medical staff when you need someone to speak on your behalf. Determine who you want to have in the room with you when you labor and tell your doctor or midwife so you are sure to be surrounded by those who make you feel your best.
Lauren Greenlee found listening to Scripture Lullabies to be the best medicine as she labored and delivered her last child. She now lays her little ones to bed listening to the very same CD in her Olathe home.
As always, please consult your health care provider with any questions or concerns.