As you’re getting closer to meeting your baby, there are a lot of things you can do to help your labor along while staying as comfortable as possible.
1. Avoid extra stress and do not pay attention to time – If you are constantly looking at the clock, you will be spending a lot of your energy worrying about what time it is instead of really focusing on your body and what its doing to get ready to birth your baby. Every labor is different and despite hospital policies, most labors have no time limit. It is a very important time, however, and you need to be aware of what your body is going through and the signals that its sending you to help you move through contractions and eventually birth your baby. Same advice goes for any stress starters. Do not worry about cleaning, cooking, keeping family constantly updated, Facebook, etc. This is your time. If you have family or friends available for support, delegate those tasks to them. You just keep on laboring and trying to stay comfortable.
2. Nipple stimulation-Stimulating the nipples helps release oxytocin (the love hormone, also released during orgasm). Oxytocin is the hormone that is needed for contractions. So naturally if you stimulate the production of oxytocin, it encourages contractions. This is a great way to get your partner involved! Allow them to softly rub or pinch your nipples.
3. Stay as active as you can but don’t forget to rest – If you can sleep, do it when you can because soon enough it’ll be like you are running a marathon. If you cant sleep, walk around and move as much as possible. Staying active helps baby move into the correct position needed to birth. Try walking up and down the stairs if you can stand it. If you need to stop for a contraction, face towards the stairs with arms/elbows leaning on one stair and kneeling on another stair with two or three stairs in between. While resting on the stairs move your hips and sway them back in forth-along with gravity, these motions will help the baby to descend.
4. Stay hydrated and eat – Despite hospital policies, it is totally safe and strongly encouraged to eat and drink during labor. You need the energy for labor and you need to stay hydrated. There can be complications due to dehydration and it is very easy to become exhausted during labor so nutritious foods can help you stay energized. I wouldn’t have a huge meal by any means but small bits of snacks such as cheese cubes, yogurt, applesauce, toast, jello, popsicles, things that are easy to chew and swallow. Beverages I suggest would be water, vitamin water, juice, smoothies, shakes, broth, etc.