Labour Doulas Share 30 of Their Favourite Labour Tips!

If you have been following us on Facebook or Instagram you may have caught some of the Labour Tips we have been sharing for the past while. We decided to put them all in one blog post for easy access! So here are 30 of our all time favourite labour tips!

  1. Placing your hands on the shoulders of a labouring woman can help her feel more grounded and relaxed.
  2. Sitting on a birth ball while leaning on a support person or the bed can be a very comfortable position to labour in. it also provides easy access to your back for massage or counter pressure.
  3. Make a list of affirmations or comforting phases that you feel drawn to. Post them up in the space you will be labouring in or show them ahead of time to your support people. Words have a lot of power in labour!
  4. Make sure you bring your own pillow for a hospital birth. Pick out a bright pillowcase so it stands out. The hospital pillows are flat and slippery and it can be a huge comfort to have something from home!
  5. In between contractions enjoy your break rather than thinking ahead to the next contractions. Imagine yourself in a relaxing place and stay in the moment.
  6. It’s OK to make noise in labour! However, it’s important to keep your sounds low pitched rather than high pitched. Making a high pitched sound can cause the body to tense up. A low pitched sound can help the body relax.
  7. The hospital will not provide food for your support people. Remind them to pack plenty of food! There is a mini fridge in the room where they can store any food that must be kept cool, and there is a microwave available.
  8. Planning to get an epidural? A peanut ball can help shorten labour if your will be laying in bed.
  9. Try to create a pattern to handle each contraction early in labour. As contractions become more intense you can switch up the pattern when it stops working. Having a pattern for what you do during a contraction can help make things feel more manageable.
  10. Light touch massage can be comforting in early labour. In active labour a firmer touch or massage is often preferred.
  11. If you and your baby are healthy, staying at home in early labour can help you avoid unnecessary interventions.
  12. The things you find comforting normally may be helpful in labour. For example, if you often turn to water for pain relief you may find a tub or shower comforting while in labour.
  13. Dim lights, low voices, electric candles, and soothing music can all help create a calm environment for a woman to labour in.
  14. Invite people to your birth who will help you feel safe, supported, and relaxed. It’s OK to say no to anyone who you feel may cause stress.
  15. Write a birth plan. It’s all about the process! As you write it you will learn about each option and your preferences.
  16. Swaying is a great labour technique. It can encourage your baby to move into position for birth and it often feels good. You can sway while leaning up against a support person, leaning on a steady object like the bed, or while on your hands and knees.
  17. Cold can be comforting on the lower back for back labour as well as on the back of the neck, forehead, face, and upper chest. A cool washcloth can be used and if you need an ice pack a glove can be filled with ice.
  18. One of the most important factors in staying calm is remembering that what you are feeling is normal. Have your support people remind you this when you feel overwhelmed.
  19.  Try to use the washroom every 45 minutes to an hour. A full bladder can increase the pain of a contraction and slow down progress. In addition, getting up to use the washroom helps keep you moving which is important in labour.
  20. For support people: if you are providing counter pressure or massage during a contraction don’t stop. Take your breaks in between contractions.
  21. If possible ask for intermittent fetal monitoring to allow for more movement. If continuous monitoring is needed you can ask for the sound to be turned down. Sometimes support people become fixated on the monitor rather than the labouring mother.
  22. Pack high energy foods for labour rather than greasy foods. Some good foods for labour include: eggs, granola bars, fruit juice, toast, muffin, or soup. If you don’t feel like eating you can have honey sticks or lollipops to help keep your energy up.
  23. Pack change for vending machines and parking. It saves you paying the high ATM fees and gives you some additional snack options!
  24. Have someone help you focus on one contraction at a time. Thinking ahead to future contractions can cause you to panic and feel overwhelmed.
  25. Some signs that you may have reached the pushing stage of labour:
    1. Increase in bloody show
    2. feeling like you need to poop
    3. uncontrollable pushing feeling
    4. your water breaks
    5. grunting
    6. feeling that the baby is coming
  26. It can take time to build a trust in your body. Leading up to the birth of your baby take prenatal classes, watch real birth videos, and surround yourself with positivity. This will go a long way in your labour.
  27. Talk to your doctor early and often about your birth preferences. It’s much easier to advocate for yourself and discuss risks and benefits during pregnancy than it is when you are in labour.
  28. Try to remember that it’s OK to take everyone’s time and attention while you labour. It’s not your job to care for your support team! There is no need to feel guilty!
  29. Did you know that you don’t have to wear a hospital gown? You can bring your own clothes if you feel it would make you more comfortable. A nightgown that unbuttons at the top for skin to skin with your baby works perfect!
  30. And of course HIRE A DOULA!

I hope you find these tips helpful!