Labor Tips for First Time Moms
If you are reading this post it is likely you are pregnant so congrats mama! I am so glad I can share my best Labor advice with you.
Don’t get me wrong labor and delivery is probably one of the hardest things you will go through and my advice won’t make it easy or work for everyone. Instead this is meant to help you throughout the process.
If you are nervous about giving birth for the first time don’t be! Our bodies were made for this and you will be surprised at how you handle your first labor experience.
I’m sure you have a million questions going through your head especially if you are a first time mom. I hope I can relieve some of your anxiety about labor and delivery. You are already so far ahead of where I once was because I did not do ANY research before the contractions started.
So coming from a mom who did not have a single clue on what to expect during labor and delivery it turned out just fine.
Find out how my second labor and delivery compared to my first here!
Now I can’t tell you exactly what to expect during labor because it is different for everyone but I CAN provide excellent Labor tips you can use.
So here is what I have learned from my labor experience.
Disclosure: I am not a doctor and the information provided is based on my personal experience only.
This post contains affiliate links which means if you purchase a product through my link I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information you can read my disclosure here.
How to prepare for labor pain?
There are several ways to cope with the pain of contractions without medicine. Of course there is nothing wrong with using medicine for labor pains like an epidural.
Do what YOU are comfortable with.
If are looking to have a natural birth or want to go as long as you can without medicine here is what you can do to make the best of your labor experience.
Manage pain with breathing
Now I am not talking about the breathing you see in movies. What I am really talking about is deep breathing exercises. This will help ease your mind and minimize pain. Contractions are the most painful part of labor and delivery. If you learn how to manage contractions you will set yourself up well for making it through labor.
Find out what works for you by changing positions. You can walk, use a birthing ball, lay in bed, sit in a rocking chair, take a bath, etc. Ask the nurses because they will have some great ideas too!
Changing positions is the best way to make labor easier and faster. Of course you cannot control how fast you dilate or how long it takes to push but moving around has been shown to help speed things up.
Have a support person
You will want at least one person to be there with you throughout the whole process. Doesn’t matter if it’s your significant other, mom, friend or doula having someone for support is essential. Once you know who this person will be have them do a little research so they can support you in the best way possible.
Set out a focus item
Select an item that you can focus on while going through a contraction. This can be any baby item, for me it was this, that reminds you of your end goal – getting to see your baby! This will help significantly with pain management.
If you would like to learn more about having the best birth experience I highly recommend reading this book!
Birth is no joke so to best prepare yourself read as much as you can, take courses and talk with other moms.
Also remember that every labor is different so you should never compare yourself to others.
Instead the most important thing you can do is to listen to YOUR body and do what YOU feel comfortable with.
Now onto the more technical aspect of labor.
What are the stages of labor?
It is important to know the 3 stages of labor so you will have an idea of what to expect.
Stage 1: Early Labor and Active Labor
In Early Labor your cervix begins to dilate and efface. You may lose your mucous plug which is what blocks the cervical opening to your vagina. Early labor is unpredictable and can last from hours to days. Active Labor is when your cervix dilates from 6cm to 10cm. Your contractions will become stronger and closer together and can last from 4-8 hours or more.
Stage 2: The birth of your baby
When you reach 10cm dilated it is time to push! It can take minutes or hours before your baby makes it into the world.
Stage 3: Delivery of the placenta
The last stage is the delivery of the placenta which happens not to long after your baby is born. It is likely you will be oblivious to this part of labor and delivery because your sole focus will be on that precious little newborn of yours!
You can read about the stages of labor in more detail here.
How to prepare for Labor and Delivery?
Eat before you go to the hospital
You may not be hungry but trust me you will be thanking yourself if you eat something. Labor can last a long time and once you get to the hospital you won’t be able to eat. Your body will be working hard during labor and food is fuel.
This is easier said then done and mostly for those who have a planned induction or are at home waiting for their labor to progress.
Make it clear who is allowed in the room
Decide who you will want present BEFORE, DURING and AFTER delivery. I really thought people understood when it was acceptable to go to the hospital but I was wrong. I had family show up before my baby was even born so save yourself the grief of having to kick people out and make it clear from the beginning. For me, my husband was all I needed and I made sure of that during my second labor and delivery.
Prepare for the pain after delivery
After your baby is born you will be sucked into this indescribable state when having those first precious moments with your newborn. Then a few hours later the exhaustion will set in and so will the pain.
You will have contractions again…yes I said again. Your uterus will begin contracting back to its normal size. The contractions will not be as bad and as often but it will hurt.
Then you may have pain in your back or tail bone. You will be given pain medication like Tylenol and ibuprofen which helps but I suggest making sure you have lots of pillows, comfy clothes and anything else you can think of to make yourself comfortable.
You may also be interested in my Postpartum Tips here.
Learn about breastfeeding
Time will fly after your baby is born and you will likely be told to breastfeed not long after delivery. The nurses will help guide you and the hospital will have lactation consultants available, however, breastfeeding will feel a lot less foreign if you do some research beforehand.
Milkology offers amazing courses on breastfeeding! Their Ultimate Breastfeeding Class will have you breastfeeding your baby with complete confidence and will empower you to successfully reach your lactation goals. Do yourself a favor an invest in this course. You can check it out here!
Take it all in
Last but not least take it all in. Birth is hands down the most amazing experience you will go through. Take lots of pictures during the entire process. You may not look great or feel like taking pictures but you will be so thankful you did.
Every one experiences labor and delivery differently but regardless of how it went nothing beats those first moments with your baby.
I hope I was able to give you some helpful advice. Good luck, you’ve got this!
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