Labor Tips For First Time Moms
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You’re a first-time mom and you’re overwhelmed by all the information surrounding childbirth.
Do you need a birth plan?
Should you opt for an epidural?
How should you prepare if you want an unmedicated birth?
Trust me, I get it. I was a first time mom once too.
The good news is, you need to give yourself and your body more credit than you are right now, because you TOTALLY GOT THIS!
The other good news is that I rounded up only the BEST labor preparation tips for first time moms to share with you here!
And of course, if you are worried about the commonly talked about “induction” method, do yourself a favor and check out this post all about labor induction.
Labor Tips For First Time Moms
Here are my top 10 labor tips for first time moms:
- Don’t overlook postpartum preparation.
- Take a childbirth class (for you and your partner).
- Don’t stress about making a birth plan.
- Learn & practice various breathing techniques to cope with pain.
- Use pregnancy affirmations.
- Familiarize yourself with different birthing positions.
- Trust your instincts.
- Pack your hospital bag (don’t wait until the last minute).
- Drive the hospital route to see how long it takes.
- Know the signs labor is near.
Now that you know what my top 10 labor tips are for first-time moms, let’s break these down a little further and help you figure out how you can apply them to your childbirth experience!
10 Tips For Easy Labor (When You’re A First Time Mom)
The best part about these tips is that you don’t have to do them all at once.
Well, you don’t have to do them all if you don’t want to at all really, but I do suggest giving at least half of them a go, especially if you want to make labor easier as a new mom.
So, ready to feel more confident about giving birth?
1) Don’t overlook postpartum preparation.
Most expecting moms are so overwhelmed between making a birth plan, figuring out who’s allowed in the labor room, booking maternity photos, and more that they completely forget about a crucial piece to childbirth — postpartum.
Postpartum is the time AFTER you give birth to baby, but can have a HUGE impact on how your motherhood journey begins if you have no idea what you’re in for.
I don’t want to scare you though, postpartum doesn’t need to be scary.
There are some amazing ways you can learn about postpartum such as grabbing a copy of my FREE postpartum planner (grab your free copy here at the bottom of the page).
If you have a history of mental health concerns, that’s even MORE of a reason to prepare for the postpartum period.
You don’t need to spend your minutes and hours after birth feeling sad or guilty about something that maybe didn’t go to plan.
Remember, you got this!
2) Take a childbirth class (for you and your partner).
If you haven’t taken a childbirth class, stop what you’re doing and go sign up for one right now.
No matter how experienced you are (or aren’t) about birth — I promise a GREAT childbirth class (like this one) will teach you something new.
Because let’s be real, birth is not linear and there is always so much to learn!
If you’re stuck because the pandemic has made it nearly impossible to find a birth class in-person, don’t worry, there’s plenty of online birth classes taught by labor nurses and midwives that are just as good (in my opinion, even better).
- Birth It Up (taught by L&D Nurse Liesel Teen)
- Loving Your Labor Academy (taught by L&D Nurse Heather and high-risk L&D Nurse Trish)
- Prenatal Class for Couples (taught by L&D Nurse Hilary)
- VBAC Labor Course (taught by high-risk L&D Nurse Trish)
- Birth It Up — Unmedicated Edition (taught by L&D Nurse Liesel Teen)
Now that you have quite a few birth classes to choose from, which one do you think would best suit you and your birthing goals?
3) Don’t stress about making a birth plan.
I know I know, everyone and their mom preaches about having a birth plan. Heck, even I suggest having a birth plan, ugh!
The thing about birth plans is, they’re great to have for a general perspective of what you wish to experience during birth, but birth doesn’t always go according to plan.
Knowing that, I don’t want you or any mom to stress out about making the perfect birth plan.
Instead, I want you to make a plan that allows some flexibility.
What I mean is, if you don’t want an epidural, awesome. Make that your number one birthing goal.
However, if for whatever reason you change your mind or medically you end up needing pain medication, it’s also a good idea to learn about what other options there are so you can have some backup preferences if needed.
If you would like a FREE Birth Plan Template (it’s even editable online too) to use, be sure to snag this one here!
4) Learn & practice various breathing techniques to cope with pain.
Breathing is a HUGE component to managing pain and contractions throughout labor.
You’ve probably heard about various techniques such as Lamaze breathing, but there are quite a few different options out there.
This video below by birth doula, Bridget Teyler explains 3 of them perfectly.
5) Use pregnancy affirmations & birth affirmations.
Pregnancy and birth affirmations are incredibly powerful ways to get yourself in the right frame of mind as you approach your big day.
If you’ve never heard of an affirmation before, think of them as a very positive and uplifting pep talk. Below, is a list of some examples:
- My body feels tired, but it was made to do great things!
- Dear self, you are amazing for creating and preparing to bring this baby into the world.
- No matter what happens, I will forever be thankful for my body
- My body was made for this. I was made for this.
- My baby is healthy and strong, I’m ready to meet them.
- Each surge brings me closer to my baby.
If you like to be creative, you can also purchase these adorable affirmation cards to keep in your purse, hospital bag, or tape up around the house as a constant reminder YOU CAN DO THIS!
6) Familiarize yourself with different birthing positions.
There’s quite a few different birthing positions out there.
The most common is in the hospital bed flat on your back, however, this isn’t always the best position for every mom!
Keep in mind, the BEST labor position for you will be the one you are most comfortable in.
If you have an epidural or any other medications onboard, your hospital team may have to limit your movement for safety reasons, otherwise most hospitals have the staff and equipment to help you get into just about any position you’d like!
Labor positions I suggest giving a try:
- Side-lying while upright: I absolutely LOVED this position with my 2nd birth because I had an epidural on board, but was still feeling the pain in my back from contractions. Lying on my side in an upright position helped me use gravity to get my baby’s weight off my back, but also allow me to really focus on breathing and opening up the birth canal as he began to lower just before push time!
- Squatting: Moms love the squatting position for labor because it’s awesome to help you open up your pelvis and birth canal to get ready for baby as he/she descends down!
- Standing or walking (with or without water): Standing and walking are great because they fully allow gravity to work on your side. You can draw that baby down down down as you walk around the room. If your contractions are intense and you have access to a shower, you can also try standing in the shower as the warm water hits your back. This can be very soothing for some moms.
- All fours hands and knees: A traditional position that is wonderful if you’re having back labor. Like others, this position can also help you open up your pelvic canal and help baby descend nicely before pushing!
7) Trust your instincts.
You know your body better than anyone else. You also know that baby that’s been growing in your belly like the back of your hand.
Often times, women tend to feel like just because they’re pregnant for the first time that their concerns or questions are invalid.
We’ll I’m here to tell you they’re not.
You HAVE to trust your instincts mama.
If you think something feels off, tell someone.
If you have a question about your pregnancy, ask it! Trust me, you should not be dismissed for trusting and listening to your instincts.
8) Pack your hospital bag (don’t wait until the last minute).
This is a big one, pack your hospital bag (you can use this checklist) weeks before your due date!
9) Drive the hospital route to see how long it takes.
If there’s one thing that can really help ease your nerves, it’s knowing you won’t get lost on your way to the hospital.
Plus, the other bonus to driving there for a practice run is you can time the drive to see just how long it really takes.
If you have a 40 minute drive, you will likely want to head to the hospital earlier than most with a 20 minute or less drive.
This is to help you make it there before baby arrives in the event there’s traffic, you’re simply running late, or maybe your labor is progressing quickly.
10) Know the signs labor is near.
As labor gets closer, you’re probably wondering if every little symptom you experience could mean labor is near.
Well, there are a few signs that could indicate labor is imminent, such as:
- Experiencing TRUE labor contractions (if you’re not sure what labor contractions feel like, find out here).
- Water leaking or completely breaking.
- Losing your mucus plug.
- Have the “bloody show“.
- Dull low back pain that isn’t going away.
- Diarrhea and loose stools.
- Loose, sore joints.
- Extreme exhaustion.
- Have a sudden halt in weight gain.
- Experiencing a jolt of energy.
To dig into even MORE details about how to tell labor could be a few days away, check out this article all about signs labor is near!
What other labor tips for first time moms do you think should be added to this list? Drop them in a comment below!
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