What are your suggestions for the best way to labor at home before going to the hospital? Positions, activities, etc.
You know the old burger king saying "have it your way?" That's kind of how you should labor at home. The best way is your way. Various positions, while helpful to know, usually fall by the way side as you find your own groove. Find a position that works, and let your body do what your body needs to do.
But, that's putting the cart in front of the horse. I have heard it said, and I say it to my clients, when you first think you're in labor: deny, distract, rest. (I like to change it to "dream" for the "3d" approach, myself. )
Deny: I've heard a lot of birth stories of women who show up to the hospital well into labor and they tell the nurse "I didn't think it was labor at first, so I just kept working" (or doing whatever it was that they were doing before they noticed contractions.
Distract: Have you heard the suggestions to bake cookies for the nurses (or doula. ahem.) while in early labor? That works great, too. Keeping your mind off the contractions actually helps you relax, instead of focusing on them- semi-wishing for them to get stronger/longer/closer together.
Dreaming: If those contractions start at night, go back to bed if you can! I know this one is hard, ladies. You're pumped, excited, anxious to meet that sweet babe. But, I promise your future active laboring self will thank you if you try to rest. It doesn't have to be actual sleep, though that would be fantastic if you could. But, being still, closing your eyes, listening to soft music, praying, etc. will help keep your energy up later.
There will be a time when you can no longer deny, distract, or dream as early labor approaches active labor. Depending on when you have decided to go to the hospital, you may or may not still be at home. Some suggestions for positions or activities include:
(this is obviously NOT a full list. I just wanted to share a few ideas.)
Tracy Abney is a certified birth and bereavement doula serving Huntsville, Madison and other parts of north Alabama.