Tips for a long labor

If it seems like your labor is taking for-ev-er to get started, or to move along, here are some tips that might be helpful.

Don’t assume something is wrong There is a wide range of normal, and not every labor is going to be efficient and straightforward.

Eat and Drink Food is fuel. And without it, you can run out of gas and the body can’t labor well. If you’re hungry, and there’s no reason to avoid it, eat. Most hospitals are fine with clear fluids like juices, popsicles, etc. in labor that can provide quick fuel for labor.

Rest as much as possible Rest and/or sleep in between contractions, especially in early labor. Some people use a lot of energy trying to make things happen, and flare out before labor is over.

Don’t focus on the clock Sometimes it creates too much pressure. Just let it be the pace it wants to be. Definitely don’t watch the pot.

Stay home as long as possible Moving to your birth place does not move you farther into labor. In fact, the opposite can be true! Moving to a place that increases stress can slow or stop contractions. And going in too early increases the chances of unnecessary interventions.

Move around It’s possible that baby’s position needs to be fine tuned, so if you’re awake, swaying on the birth ball, a casual stroll around the neighborhood, or dancing to fun music can help pass the time.

Fresh Labor Support If things are going long, and your labor support is losing energy, call in a friend or family member who can come in with fresh energy to support you while the others take a nap.

Change it up If you’ve been laboring in your bedroom all day, go outside and get a new perspective. If you’re tired of the hospital room, go hit the hallways or go get in the tub. A change of scenery can be (literally!) an invigorating breath of fresh air.

Clear the room Take some time for privacy. Be alone in the bathroom, or alone with your partner in the bedroom.

Use medication This could mean a dose of narcotic to give you a therapeutic nap or an epidural for longer sleep.