Early Labour

How can I help myself at home?

Before you are fully established in labour your cervix (the neck of your womb) has many changes to make. It changes position, thins out and dilates. While these changes are occurring pains are mainly felt in your back or may be described as ‘period like’ cramps. These pains tend to remain irregular and have no real pattern.

During this pre-labour period there are many things you can do at home to help yourself to have a normal birth. Firstly avoid using comfort techniques too soon. If your contractions are mild enough to ignore them do so. Go about your daily routine, when it is time to pay attention your body will alert you.

  • Try to stay as relaxed as possible- it is normal to be anxious.
  • Listen to relaxing music.
  • Take a walk with your birthing partner.
  • Take a warm bath or shower at regular intervals (baths are only allowed if the waters are not broken).
  • Ask your birthing partner to give you a back massage- this helps with the backache and relaxes you.
  • Eat small light meals and drink plenty.
  • Empty your bladder every 1-2 hours. (a full bladder can block baby’s descent)
  • Sleep – if the contractions are mild or stop, sleep or nap between contractions (being tired reduces a body’s ability to handle stress).
  • Breathing - keep your breathing deep, steady and slow during a contraction. Once the contraction is wearing off close your eyes and allow your body to rest before the next contraction.
  • Try to remain upright once the contractions become strong. Gravity will help your baby to be born. Being upright doesn’t have to mean standing- you may also try squatting, kneeling or leaning/sitting on a birthing ball. You may try rocking your pelvis gently, swaying your hips, walking up and down stairs.
  • It is safe to take a painkiller such as PLAIN Paracetamol (if you are not allergic). You can take two (500mgs) tablets every 4-6hrs. Do not take more than 8 tablets within a 24hour period. This helps with mild pains, allowing you to have some rest.