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What Should I Be Doing During Early Labor?


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When labor begins, conserve your energy for as long as you can.  Drink a cup of strong chamomile tea, and go to sleep if you can.

Eat high-quality, non-constipating foods, complex carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, yogurt (no other meats or dairy).

If your waters have broken, put nothing in the vagina, and make sure that when you use the bathroom you clean yourself up extremely carefully.  Also, take 250 mg Vitamin C every 3 hours.

Drink lots of liquids - filtered water, juice, or herbal tea with honey - nothing with caffeine.

Loosen up by doing non-reclining exercises.

Take a warm bath.

Move your pelvis rhythmically during contractions, either rocking to and fro, side to side, or in slow circles, as this will aid dilation of the cervix and descent of the baby.

Walking sometimes shortens labor and increases efficiency of labor contractions.

Squat during or between contractions.  This helps widen your pelvis and encourage baby's descent.  Squatting can tire you out if you have not practiced it during pregnancy, so you may need to rest between contractions and conserve energy.  A supported squat can be restful, where the woman's partner sits in a chair and the woman squats between the open legs of the partner, hanging her arms over the partners knees and leaning back against him/her.  Some women prefer to save squatting until the very end. Even though squatting is beneficial, always pay attention to what your body is telling you. Perhaps there is another position that you need to be in at the moment to help the baby move down, and you need to get quiet and listen to your body so you can learn this.

Continuing with some routine tasks helps keep the focus off labor.  Focus should be on others and your environment.  When the big contractions start to come later on, they will require your total attention.  Focusing on early labor contractions will make later contractions seem difficult to deal with and you can very easily become out of control.

Spend some time cuddling with your partner and getting tuned in to each other.

Making love is an excellent way to stimulate labor contractions.

Choose an early labor project.  Some projects that others have chosen are:

baking bread
playing monopoly
sewing a baby quilt
cooking meals to freeze for later
surfing baby sites on the net
making love
painting your nails

If you have used other early labor projects, I would love to add them to my list.  Just email me and I will possibly include them in a later version of this article.

If you are planning a Autonomous Birth, just follow your intuition.  Listen for promptings from your body and spirit.  Now would be a good time to find a secluded place, relax, and begin visualizing your perfect birth fantasy which can help bring your body in line with what you are thinking.

Early labor is, in general, from 0 to 4 centimeters dilation.  You usually know you have passed from early labor to active labor when you are no longer able to carry on a conversation during a contraction.  When you must stop what you are doing and focus all your concentration on the contraction, your body may be trying to tell you that it is time to stop whatever projects you are doing, and give more attention to the process.
 

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