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7 Things You Should be Doing in Early Labor

Updated: Jun 19, 2020

One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give you about birth, is to ignore your labor as long as possible. Yep I said it. Believe it or not, one of the best things you can do during early labor is sleep or distract yourself. During my prenatal appointments with me clients, we discuss at length the stages of labor. For most women, early labor is the easiest but longest part. So, take advantage of this time and go on with your day as normally as possible until you can't ignore your labor any more. Here are 7 thing that will help distract you during early labor.

1 Sleep or Take a Warm Bath:

I know you're super excited that labor has FINALLY started and you are full of energy right now, but let me just say, you have no idea how long this labor will be. Fingers crossed that this birth will be 12 hours or less but we have no way of knowing for sure, am I right! So, I really want you to take this time to rest. A 2 hour nap can work wonders on restoring energy. If you are finding it really hard to sleep, try a warm bath with soft music playing.

2 Take a Walk or Go for a Swim:

When the time comes that you are just too uncomfortable to sleep, try taking a walk outside in the fresh air. Sunshine and crisp clean air will help to distract you and I must say, "walking that baby out" is a saying for a reason it works! If it's too hot outside for a walk go for a swim in pool. Cooling down in the water and getting some exercise is just the thing you need right now.

3 Eat Something:

Oh man, I can't stress enough how important it is to eat during early labor! Having enough energy to make it to the end, is the name of the game ladies. You wouldn't be asked to run a marathon without first loading up on some carbs right. Same goes for labor, you need fuel to get you across the finish line. Once things start getting more intense you aren't going to want to sit down and have a full meal, so take advantage of these slower contraction and eat a nice breakfast, lunch or dinner. Keep in mind too, that most hospitals have polices about "no eating while you're laboring" so be sure to get your fill before you head to the hospital.

4 For a Home Birth, Get Your Home Birth Supplies Ready or Clean:

If you are having a home birth, now is a good time to get everything ready. Have you called for the birth tub yet? Get all your extra towels out and ready. Do you have all the things you'll need for your baby diaper, onesies, a swaddle blanket? I don't know about you, but cleaning is something I do personally when I start to feel like I'm not in control. So when I was in labor for the second time with my daughter, I found myself cleaning my bathroom floor with baby wipes. Why you may ask, because I was a crazy lady in labor and this was helping to keep me distracted okay! But seriously, cleaning is definitely a good distraction and part of nesting so don't fight it.

5 For a Hospital Birth, Pack Your Hospital Bag:

I know you probably have had your hospital bag packed for weeks now, but why? Honestly, so many times I have been with a client and she can't remember what's even in her bag because she packed it so long ago! So, why not wait until labor kicks in to get your hospital bag ready? I promise you'll have time, statistically speaking.

6 Bake a Birthday Cake:

What a perfect time to make a cake! After all, it's your baby's birthday today! This is something I suggest to my clients all the time! Think about coming home from the hospital, to a giant chocolate cake waiting for you! Or if you're having a home birth, you and your birth team can all have a slice once you baby is born. How fun is that! This is something I did while I was in labor with Diana and man did that cake taste delicious afterward.

7 Spend Time with Older Siblings by Cuddling or Reading a Book:

Whether this is baby number 2 or baby number 6 this will be the last time you are all a family of that size. So, take some time and spend it together. Cuddle up on the couch, play a game, watch a movie or read a book. Tell your kids about that, the family is about to get bigger and how there will be even more love to spread around.


I hope you find all this advice helpful during early labor. Remember ladies, labor is a marathon not a sprint (for most women anyway) so use this time for distraction. I want you to think of me as your virtual doula! Drop me a line here if you have any questions. Or if you want to stay in the loop and never miss another blog post, just click here. Come on you know you want to!



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