Photo courtesy of Hannahbphotographyuk.com

The essential tool kit for labour…

  • Try not to be too distracted, the big moment has arrived but it’s okay. Start drawing on your mental strength early on to maintain your mindset.
  • Try to turn off mental processes and allow your body to instinctively labour. You’ll find this easier if you’ve been doing yoga or hypnobirthing
  • Have a warm bath, or use a hot water bottle on your lower back it really does help ease the height of contractions.
  • How you breathe is essential for managing labour, start practising your breathing in a calm relaxed environment during pregnancy. Relax your jaw completely, on the in breath take in clean nourishing oxygen. On the out breath, breathe away the pain and any fear or anxiety you may have. Focusing on your breathing relaxes the mind, increases the flow of oxygen and provides a helpful boost of energy.
  • Adopt good positions, upright, leaning over a counter or hold onto your birth partner, you want to have your pelvis slightly tilted back and mobilise. This combination provides space for your baby’s head to descend and allows gravity to take its course.
  • Cuddle your birth partner between contractions, literally lean on him/her and or hold hands, research shows that touch reduces pain. Your birth partner can and should help you stay focused on your breathing and keep reminding you of your techniques.
  • Pre-warn your birth partner that your needs may evolve as your labour progresses. At some point you may just want to internalise. Some women simply need peace and space to tap into their primal self. There’s nothing wrong with this and it’s not uncommon. 

What to do if you are scared of a hospital environment and medical intervention.

Do you need to give birth in a medical environment first off? Can you go to a midwifery led unit or have a home birth? If not, then the best advice I have is don’t worry about something you can’t do anything about. If you build up a fear in your head prior to going into hospital it will become a big scary moment when you do, so just surrender to your circumstances and accept that’s the safest place for you to give birth.

You can make the transition to hospital less daunting by doing small things like bringing your own pillow in with a few drops of lavender oil and having a labour playlist you’ve already put together. Listen to this playlist during your pregnancy in your favourite room in your house, with your eyes closed whilst focusing on your breathing. That way, when you’re in hospital you can put your music on, close your eye’s and you’ll be back in your favourite room.

Top 5 essential items to pack in a hospital bag

Hair bands
Not everyone needs them, but those that do will really appreciate these in labour! You may get hot and having hair stuck to and around your face in labour is irritating. If you are breastfeeding, you want to make sure that you can see your babies attachment properly. Plus, you can pop the hair tie on the wrist you last fed from so you don’t have to write it down or try to remember!

Really big maternity knickers
They should come up high to cover the abdomen in case you need a C-section and they are more supportive even if you have had a normal birth your tummy doesn’t go down right away. Honestly, everyone loves Bridget Jones style knickers postnatally.

Buttoned maternity nightshirt, perfect for breastfeeding
Nightshirts are great as they unbutton for breastfeeding mummies and are also really accommodating if you’re struggling to bend over to sit on the loo. Not glamourous but you can simply stand and wee if you need to. Also if you do have a C-section you won’t have Pj bottoms irritating your wound.

Nipple and nappy rash cream
Dual-purpose creams for cracked nipples and nappy rash are great. Skin is the human body’s largest organ and neonatal skin is 5x more permeable than yours so whatever you put on your newborn babies skin will be absorbed. 

Natural, unbleached maternity pads
They are more gentle on your skin and the environment. Your pads should be 100% chlorine free because this prevents the formation of dioxins – highly carcinogenic pollutants within the product. You may be sore and sensitive so it’s important not to expose your delicate down below to harsh chemicals and bleaches.