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Keeping your birth positive and normal

Women who experience the start of labour (latent phase) at home have better birth outcomes.

Preparation for labour

If the baby is in a good position this may ease and shorten the labour. The ideal position is with the baby lying head down with its back towards your abdomen rather than your back. In order to encourage the baby to lie this way, helpful tips can be found by clicking here.

Early labour

Labour does not begin until your cervix starts to open but that does not mean you feel nothing until then. You may feel your uterus tightening regularly for hours or longer.
What helps:

  • Move gently about if you feel restless
  • Go for a slow walk
  • Rest and sleep if you can
  • Have a warm bath
  • Distract yourself; watch a film, play cards, play music
  • Eat small light meals.

Active labour

As your cervix starts to open, your baby presses down on your cervix, nobody can tell exactly how long this will take. The contractions strengthen as the cervix stretches and you may feel hot and tired.
It is well documented that the more anxious you are during labour the slower the progress. Privacy is very important; as if you feel inhibited it can interfere with contractions.

What might help: 

  • Changing position – rocking, swaying and circulating the hips
  • Hydration – have a sweet drink, isotonic drinks are good
  • Showering with water on your back to relieve backache
  • Using a bath/birth pool at home or in the birth centre or hospital, supporting the body, is a great form of relaxation
  • Essential oils such as lavender can aid relaxation
  • Subdued lighting
  • Leaning over birth balls, cushions or the bed for supported positions
  • Being aware of your breathing – breathe the contractions away with a long, slow out breath.
  • Listening to music, sound to help you relax
  • Resting and conserving your energy between contractions.
  • Keeping moving and adopting different positions in labour can increase space in the pelvis and gravity can increase pressure on the cervix.

You might find these positions help you in early labour :

  • Sitting on a birthing ball
  • Waling sideways up the stairs
  • Leaning against the wall
  • Straddling a chair
  • Leaning against your partner
  • On all fours
  • Leaning over a bean bag
  • Foot elevated on the table