10 Life-Saving Tips When You’re in Labor for the First Time

Or maybe you’re just doubting your own strength.

If you’re freaking out about the pain of giving childbirth for the first time, you’re in the right place. I’ve rounded up 10 life-saving tips to help you cope when you’re in labor.

You can start using some of these tips right now to help you prepare for labor. And you can keep some ideas on standby for when the ‘big day’ arrives.

Hang in there, mama-to-be. You got this!

Oh and if you know you’re going to have a C-section, make sure to check out my post on C-section recovery tips to help you enjoy your new baby.

Before I get into this post, I want to let you know: I am not a medical professional and this should not be taken as medical advice. Although lots of women have found these tips to relieve pain, each birth is different and so they may not work for you.

And to help you with your labor for the first time, here are some pain relief lifesavers for you mama!

1. Try Some Breathing Exercises

How can breathing help with labor pains?

I know you might be sceptical.

But some simple breathing techniques really can relieve pain during labor.

And as an added bonus, when you focus on your breathing you’re also distracting your mind from those contractions. Double win!!

My Natural Baby Birth has an awesome guide to correct – and incorrect – breathing techniques in labor.

But wait!

There is another breathing exercise that can help you cope in labor.

I got this tip from my friend Lois over at Foxglove Avenue. She raves about this simple ‘breathing colors’ vizualisation exercise.

Close your eyes and listen to the video – it’s narrated by a woman with a cute British accent! Once you’ve nailed the technique you can use it in labor or anytime you’re stressed or anxious.

I’m going to try this one next time I visit the dentist!

2. Listen to Music

 

Here’s another lifesaving way to cope with pain during labor – music!

We all know that music can relax us in stressful situations. But a recent study showed that music can actually relieve pain during labor. Pregnancy has all the details of the study.

Playing music in the delivery room has the added bonus of drowning out those irritating hospital sounds – beeping machinery, noisy neighbors and the coming and goings of hospital staff.

Wondering where to start choosing your birthing playlist? This post has some incredible tips from a mom of four.

3 Create a Calm Environment

Creating a calm birthing environment can help keep you calm.

And when you’re calm, your body can produce the hormones needed to keep labor moving and get you through it.

If you’re planning a homebirth, you’ll be able to plan your surroundings to the smallest detail.

But is it possible to create create a calm environment in a hospital room?

Definitely!!

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Play music to block out all those irritating hospital sounds
  • Use the same essential oils you’d use at home
  • Dim the lights
  • Ask hospital staff to be mindful of how much noise they make in non-emergency situations
  • Wear your own clothes instead of a hospital gown
  • Use your own pillows and blanket
  • Bring some photos to put round the room
  • Put your phone away.

4. Distract Yourself

 

It’s very exciting when you start to feel those first contractions.

But don’t get too excited yet, mama – first time labor can last a long time!

And in those early stages of labor, one lifesaving tip is simple distraction.

One friend of mine was determined to clean through early labor. She distracted herself for a while – and she had the cleanest baseboards ever!  Double win!!

If you’re looking for other ways to distract yourself in labor, Lisa from Miracle Maker Mom has an awesome list to help you.

5.  Use Affirmations

We all know how powerful our words and thoughts are, right?

So give yourself a pep talk with some reassuring, and confidence-inspiring affirmations.

Take your time to choose some affirmations that really speak to you and practice them ahead of ‘the big day’ for maximum impact.

Here’s an awesome list of 21 birth affirmations to get you started.

And if you prefer a more badass affirmation, check out this list – fair warning, there is some bad language.

6.  Change Your Thinking

Giving birth has to be painful, right?

We’ve seen the movies and heard the birth horror stories.

But there are lots of stories of women birthing comfortably and even pain-free.

Change your thinking about what labor is like by watching inspiring videos on YouTube, like this one.

And this one. And search for pain free birth stories to read, like this one.

And this one.

If you want to read more about fear-free childbirth, here are two inspiring and empowering classics.

 

Changing your mindset can be so powerful – instead of dreading contractions, you’ll be welcoming them!

7. Change Your Position

We know now that one of the worst positions for giving birth is lying on your back.

So get walking, squatting, leaning over, and sitting. Move around and find a position that suits you. Check out this awesome post on birth positions for the different stages of labor.

You could even belly dance your way through labor. That actually looks like fun!!

8. Try a Water Birth

Who doesn’t love a nice relaxing bath at the end of a long day?

And studies have shown that water births reduce the pain of contractions.

And some claim that getting into the water is just as effective in relieving pain as an epidural!

If you don’t want the full water birth experience, Fit Pregnancy suggest using the shower to help relieve labor pain.

9. Hold Hands

 

This is such an easy one!

Yes, holding hands with your husband during labor is scientifically proven to relieve pain.

10. Make Some Noise

If you’ve ever watched a birth video, I’m guessing you’ve immediately pressed the ‘mute’ button.The sounds of labor can be distressing, right? But did you realize that moaning – not screaming – through labor can help relieve pain?

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