Updated: Sep 11, 2020
As I approach the end of my first pregnancy, labor is on my mind constantly. I know that it’s coming. I’m trying my best to keep my worries in check, but fears still tend to creep in from time to time.
So, I set out to collect labor tips from real mamas who have been through it fairly recently themselves. I asked each of them to give me their number one tip for getting through labor, in hopes that it could give me some inspiration and hope.
As you read through these amazing labor and birthing tips, know you’re not alone in this! There are so many women who have gone through this intense, life-changing process before. Here is a little collection of wisdom and advice to remind you that YOU CAN DO IT, TOO!
(Also, check out these ladies’ blogs and/or Youtube channels linked in this post!)
Note: This is not intended to be medical advice. I, nor any of the moms in this article, are licensed medical practitioners. Always ask your doctor/midwife about any labor concerns or questions you may have!
This post contains affiliate links provided by the Hypnobabies.com Affiliate Program. I will receive a small commission from products/services are purchased through the links, at no additional cost to you.
“My best tip is to remember the more it hurts, the closer you are to being DONE and having that baby in your arms! Reminding myself of that got me through three non-medicated deliveries!”
-Emily Parker, www.journeyofparenthood.com
“Relax through the pressure and lean into it. Tightening up makes labor last longer.”
-Amanda Kintz, https://www.crunchyhippielife.com
“Visualize waves during each contraction. Rise with it and fall with it. That helped me through them.”
“My advice is have a preferred birth plan but be open to how labour unfolds and go with the flow. For example I thought I would love to be in the tub during labour and delivery and I put it on my birth plan as a must....then come time to get in the tub and I absolutely HATED it but refused to change it up because I was so sure it was what I wanted and needed. My hubby and midwife finally talked me back on the bed and then my labour finally started progressing and within an hour I had my beautiful son in my arms. For my second delivery my only birth plan was to get my baby here safely.”
“I've had 6 natural births. The moment you panic and begin thinking you can't do it anymore? That's the point of transition and your baby will be there soon. There's always a moment of panic. It's normal, and when you can recognize it, you can work with your body and meet your new baby sooner!!!”
-Sarah Wall, www.raisingroyalty.ca
“My recommendation is laboring on all fours (as opposed to sitting/laying down). It gives you much more control over your body. My legs shook so badly the nurse and my husband had to hold them still when I was on my back, but the moment I turned around and got on my knees it was SO much better.”
-Natalie Robbins, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBW4dt_QU8Ueom1ZvNxt9sA
“I have one daughter who was delivered by emergency c-section. Here's my advice: talk through the fear. I wanted a natural birth so badly and all the visualizing in the world didn't make it happen for me. My worst fear was a c-section (as in, I am sorta phobic about surgery). As they were preparing me for surgery, I started to panic and wanted to faint. I told one of the nurses straight up that I was scared. She understood my mindset in that moment and helped me by talking me through everything. The surgery then wasn't so bad! Speak up and ask for help in understanding what's going on. You got this!”
-Jessica Anderson, mamascafesociety.com
“Hypnobabies!! It’s an amazing program and I had a comfortable natural birth thanks to Hypnobabies. I studied Hypnobabies because my mom recommended self hypnosis for childbirth. My mom is an OBGYN who had two natural births. She told me preparation is key - don’t just assume you can wing it.”
-Natasha Nunez, https://natashalh.com/
“I second Hypnobabies. I used it for two natural births and it really helped me focus on relaxing. The more you can relax your body, the less it hurts.”
*If you want to try Hypnobabies for yourself, click this link!
“Don’t get overly attached to your birth plan. It’s nice to know your options and preferences, but if things don’t turn out that way, try not to stress about it too much. You’ve got other things to think about and focus your energies into.”
“My best advice is that it’s only pain. Maybe that sounds weird but I’ve given birth twice, once with an epidural and once without, and if I give birth again I wouldn’t bother with an epidural. Remember it’s only pain and it’s temporary."
-Audrey Wood, https://www.twopinkpeonies.com
“I’ve had 10 natural home births. When you want to quit, you are really almost holding that baby! Patience is key as well, allow your body to do what it was designed to do!”
-Jenn Dynys, https://theeverydayfarmhouse.com
“I’m a first time mom now a month postpartum and what helped me most through labor was breathing exercises! I was super scared of the labor process, but I was able to breathe through contractions at home and when I got to the hospital I was 5cm! There are many different breathing techniques, but what worked best for me was in for 4 counts and out for 7. When I was counting breaths, I was less focused on the pain and anxious thoughts!”
“My best advice is if you think you might need the epidural, don't wait until the last minute to request it. The anesthesiologist might not be available or it might not make a difference, and then you might feel everything as the numbing process takes time.”
“As a mum of 2 boys born 14 months apart, practicing hypnobirthing helped me know that my body was made to give birth. It was very empowering. Also, having an open mind helped me remain calm when complications arose with my first son. I wasn't fixated on my birth plan. Lastly, I trusted God to help me have a safe delivery and He did!”
“The key is breathing properly. 5 small breath outs while you have contractions, 1 long in, 5 small out. And the more it hurts the closer you are usually.”
“Focus on minimizing fear by learning tactics to manage the pain ahead of time.”
“One thing that helped the most was breathing out a low-toned hum through each contraction and keeping a calm mind & environment.”
“I used meditation during pregnancy and in early labor. It helped calm me down during a high-risk pregnancy and birth. And even with all that going on, I would say I had a great experience with labor and delivery.”
“You kinda just do it, it’s weird! If you are going to get pain meds and have a vaginal birth, start taking stool softeners a couple of weeks ahead of time. And get a second nursing pillow to sit on! Oh! And pack chocolates for all your nurses in your labor bag!”
“I’m pregnant with my second right now. My biggest takeaway from my first daughter’s birth was don’t be too attached to your birth plan. It was hard, but the important thing is that we both came out of it fine. I’m hoping to have my ‘ideal’ experience with my second in January.”
-Kate Martin, https://mamasworkingonit.co
“You really never know how it’s gonna go down once you get to the hospital. Well my birth plan went out the window. Don't be scared just let nature do its thing! If I were to have another baby I would do prenatal workouts and yoga. I probably would have had an easier birth if I had.”
-Alexis K Flores, RocktheMword.com (Not up yet, but will be sometime in October 2020)
“As a mom of 8, my best tip is prayer - before and during!!”
Sarah Avila, https://www.myjoyfilledlife.com
“I suggest Yoga, meditation and hypnobirthing breathing techniques. They all really helped me calm the mind and release any fear of childbirth. Yoga also really helped me to keep my body fit during pregnancy and feel so good about myself!”
-Monica Greco, https://muminthewoods.com
“I wish I had researched good breathing techniques to get through the pain and also pushing tips for baby #1. I think I didn't bother with pain management tips since I knew I wanted an epidural. But it gets pretty painful before the epidural ever gets there! And since I couldn't feel anything, I wasn't quite sure the most effective way to push. Baby #2 should be here next week and so I've done some more research this time around.”
-Amy Winkler, www.livingfreewithamyt.com
“I've been through it three times, all unmedicated labors (one ended in c-section). My best advice is to work on your birthing mindset, which to me means focusing on one contraction at a time, also known as being in the moment. It is something that you can practice NOW! Be present in the moment, taking one contraction at a time instead of worrying about how many more there are to come or when it's going to be over.”
-Bridgetown Doula, www.bridgetowndoula.com
“I wish someone had told me beforehand that the pain from the contractions stops as soon as you start pushing!”
“My best advice is to know that when it gets to the point that you think you can't do it anymore, you can, and that you're almost there. Everyone hits a wall in labor, and it's in that moment that you need to remember how close you are to meeting your new little one. Also, don't forget your hair tie and chapstick.”
“You CAN and WILL get through this. The craziest thing is that when it's all over, it's almost like it never happened. You'll get over the distress and you'll most certainly survive it.”
“I used the Bradley methods of visualization and breathing and had no pain during my contractions. I could only keep this up for a couple hours because it requires very intense concentration, and then I got an epidural. With that combo, birth was literally painless. Do plenty of kegels from now until then.”
“I'm into taking action and being prepared, so naturally I created a birthing plan. My biggest advice is be prepared and know what you want and don't want, but also be ready to change things. I was adamant about no epidural and ended up getting one, but it was very much needed. It's okay to have a plan but be flexible, and there is no shame in doing things differently. I also wish I would have said no visitors while going through the laboring process. It kinda throws off your focus trying to breathe through contractions when you have an audience, especially if they are vocal in their opinions on how you should do things.”
“Try not to scream when pushing. Know the feeling of pushing poop out? Just poop. There won't be actual poop maybe, just a baby's head.”
“The moment the baby comes - the pain mysteriously is gone and you will never even remember it. The first thing I said after giving birth was, ‘oh, there’s no more pain.’
“Every birth is different. You do what is best for you and your baby. Listen to your midwife or doctor’s suggestions - she has done this often and has a whole bag of tricks if something is not working for you. I found a bath helped me relax. And if bubs is overdue and doesn‘t seem to want to come, wash the windows. Slow and rhythmic and relaxing. I know at least 5 mums this worked for, and if it does not work, at least your windows are clean.”
“Don’t be afraid to question things that are suggested by medical professionals. Everything is your own decision, they’re just there to advise you on what’s recommended. If you don’t want a sweep, an induction, an IV line or anything else, then that’s your own decision.”
“Educate yourself on c-sections, even if a vaginal birth is the goal. For reasons beyond our control, sometimes a birth doesn’t go to plan, and a snap decision is made for a c-section. Educate yourself and demystify the procedure as a precaution, and it will be a lot less scary if it does happen.”
“Stay active when contractions start. Try to labor away from the hospital until you are close. When my contractions started I went to get my nails done, get groceries, taught a class and then went to the hospital. I had a successful VBAC a few hours later.”
“Staying active is the key to easy labor. I took prenatal yoga classes and walked for 2 miles a day which really helped in relaxing & strengthening my muscles.”
“For me, it was most important to really, truly have no expectations and allow myself, my body, my baby, and my doctor/nurses to do what we needed to at each step of the process without judgement from myself. I think there’s a lot of stigma around medicated vs. unmediated, vaginal vs. c-section deliveries. Truthfully, there’s enough pressure being a mom without that judgement surrounding how you even get your baby earth-side and what worked best for you and your baby.”
“My heart was set on no c-section because I was terrified of it. My advice would be that you just created this beautiful little baby, and If it comes down to needing a c-section, you can do it! Trust in your support team and medical team. Most importantly, believe in yourself! Mothers do amazing things, and you are a mother at conception. As soon as you hear that tiny heartbeat that’s it. I had an emergency c-section, but once you hold them for the first time none of it will matter. All that mattered was that you did it and now you have a beautiful baby nestled into you. Birth is birth.”
“I have had two completely different birth stories! I had a planned c section with my first and a VBAC with my second! I am grateful for each experience because it’s how my babies got here - every birth story ends with a baby! I love birth.”
While your unique birth story will be one-of-a-kind, take these helpful tips and insights with you into this amazing, new experience of bringing life into the world. Just remember, you've got this!
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