In this episode of The Pulling Curls Podcast: Pregnancy & Parenting Untangled, host Hillary shares five things to do while in labor at home. Whether you’re preparing for a home birth or simply want to make early labor more comfortable, these tips will help you navigate the experience with ease. From getting some much-needed rest to engaging in fun distractions, Hillary has you covered. So grab a snack, sit back, and let’s dive into this episode of The Pulling Curls Podcast!
Big thanks to our sponsor — my Going Into Labor Made Easy Guide! If you’re interested in how your body makes the choice to begin labor, that’s the guide for you!
Links for you:
00:00:40 Episode sponsored by how to go into labor guide, tips on going into labor at home, 5 things to do in early labor: sleep, cook, get distracted, dance.
00:05:42 Fun activities during early labor: add music, stretch, clean, eat and drink water.
00:09:49 Please review, share, subscribe to Pulling Curls podcast.
- Introduction to the episode and sponsorship message for the guide on how to go into labor at home.
- Tip #1: Sleep during early labor to relax the pelvis and regain energy. Discuss the benefits and importance of resting.
- Tip #2: Rest and change positions regularly. Partner’s role in reminding the mother to switch positions. Highlight the benefits of changing positions.
- Tip #3: Cooking as a distraction during early labor if the mother enjoys it. Discuss the benefits of cooking and providing meals for after the baby is born.
- Tip #4: Getting distracted by activities such as watching TV shows or engaging in hobbies. How these activities can divert attention from the pain of labor.
- Tip #5: Dancing as a recommended activity during early labor to keep the body moving. Explain the benefits of dancing.
- Music and its role in adding fun and distraction to labor activities.
- Cleaning as a productive and helpful activity during early labor, particularly in a hands and knees position. Highlight the importance of cleaning the bathroom, which will be used frequently after giving birth.
- Eating small snacks with balanced carbohydrates and proteins throughout labor for sustained energy. Emphasize the importance of avoiding blood sugar spikes and drops.
- Staying hydrated with water during labor. Discuss the reasons for staying hydrated, including preventing false labor and aiding medical procedures. Partners can assist by bringing water and snacks.
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other pregnancy podcasts:
[00:00:00.120] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys. Welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on episode 207, we are talking about things to do while you’re in early labor at home, so let’s untangle it.
[00:00:11.430] – Hilary Erickson
Hi, I’m Hilary, a serial overcomplicator. I’m also a nurse, mom to three and the curly head behind Pulling Curls and The Pregnancy Nurse. This podcast aims to help us stop overcomplicating things and remember how much easier it is to keep things simple. Let’s smooth out those snarls with pregnancy and parenting untangled, the Pulling Curls Podcast.
[00:00:40.950] – Hilary Erickson
Today’s episode is sponsored by my How to go into Labor Guide. It gives my best tips on how to go into labor. It busts some myths and gives you ideas on how to go into labor at home. You can find it under Resources at the Pregnancy Nurse or I will drop the link in the show notes.
[00:00:56.670] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, guys, we are going to talk about the five things to do in early labor. Now you may not love all of these things. Some of these you’re going to be like, Hilary, but they’re ones that I talk about and have reasonings behind them, so keep listening. I think a lot of people, one of the biggest mistakes they make in labor is coming into the hospital too early.
[00:01:16.360] – Hilary Erickson
So the longer you can stay at home, the better. And sometimes you just run out of ideas. So keep this episode the link in the back of your brain. So if you’re in early labor, you can come to these or join the online prenatal class for couples where I have a whole thing on what to do in early labor that you guys are going to absolutely love.
[00:01:33.800] – Hilary Erickson
Let’s get started. First one, sleep. Now, I just wrote an article on sleeping during early labor. And when I Googled it, the first thing that came up said you shouldn’t sleep in early labor because your baby will wedge into your pelvis in a way that won’t be good, and so you shouldn’t sleep in early labor, which I think is a complete lie.
[00:01:54.720] – Hilary Erickson
As a nurse, I found that when you actually sleep, and I’m talking about actual sleeping, that baby drops into your pelvis nicely because you’re relaxed, the pelvis is relaxed. It’s just good times all around. You also fill up your gas tank after your nap for labor and pushing, and you get more energy and you just feel better after a small nap.
[00:02:17.100] – Hilary Erickson
Now, most people aren’t going to sleep for hours on end. I hope you are. But sleeping is a great thing to do in early labor. Now, I got labor every evening at eight o’clock. I would start to contract. I would go to bed and it would stop. Was sleeping stopping my labor? No, I just wasn’t in true labor. If you’re in true labor, sleep is not going to stop it for you.
[00:02:38.560] – Hilary Erickson
Now you need to be really honest with yourself between resting and actually sleeping. We know the difference, but sometimes we fake the difference to ourselves. I do agree that resting can come to a point that isn’t helpful because you aren’t changing positions. You’re just in the fetal position clenching up with the pain. So changing positions, that can be a great job for your partner to come in every 30 minutes, remind you to change positions, and then you can get another 30 minutes in.
[00:03:08.150] – Hilary Erickson
Or I would encourage you to alternate the rest periods with the other things that I’m going to mention here. So you get 30 minutes of stuff and then 30 minutes of rest. That way you are changing positions with each change of activity. Great job for partners to do to keep track of all that, because if you’re actually asleep, I would not encourage them to wake you up to change positions. Your body will do that naturally, and the relaxation is awesome for you either way.
[00:03:34.260] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, the second one, you guys might hear this, is to cook. Now I would only do this if you love cooking. I love to cook, and so it came to mind. I know a lot of people love to cook. Two caveats. If you don’t love to cook, first off, don’t do this one. Second of all, I would have your partner in there with you. So if you mid-casserole decide this is not for me, they can finish it up for you. You’re doing it together and they can finish it up so you can go rest.
[00:03:59.630] – Hilary Erickson
Because I know being like 600 miles away from the cutting board and you’re chopping things up is sometimes not fun. You could be cooking things to eat while you’re in labor. We’re going to talk more about that. But also you could be cooking things like getting freezer meals ready or casseroles that you can eat after the baby. It’s productive in addition to moving around. You can sway your hips while you’re at the stove, stuff like that. I think cooking can be a great thing to do when you’re in early labor as long as it’s something that you are enjoying.
[00:04:27.890] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, this next one is an umbrella for lots of different things, and that is to just get distracted. I think a lot of times in early labor, you start counting your contractions.
[00:04:37.150] – Hilary Erickson
You’re so focused on the pain. What is it feeling? What am I feeling? Is that a contraction? Oh, it’s been 10 minutes. I actually don’t encourage people to start counting contractions until they’re hard enough to take your breath away. I think it’s good to notice and notice that they’re increasing about staying the same, but I probably wouldn’t focus so much on them to count them until they’re painful enough to take your breath away. If you have any questions, of course, always ask your provider.
[00:05:01.780] – Hilary Erickson
But I think that focusing so much on the pain in early labor doesn’t do you any favors. So distracting yourself, TikTok, movies, TV shows. If it was me, I would start all the Ted Lasso episodes again just to distract myself and do something while I’m in labor. So find something to distract yourself. In the online prenatal class for couples, I encourage people to talk about things that they could do during early labor so that they’re prepared when the time actually comes.
[00:05:27.990] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, number four is one that you see on social media quite a bit, and that is to dance. I love it when I see these mamas dancing when they’re in early labor or even in labor in the hospital. Like if you have an induction, you’re able to walk the halls, dance it out, girl. I love that.
[00:05:41.990] – Hilary Erickson
A lot of these activities, I think, can be more fun and take away more distractions if you add music to it. If you’re music that you love, add that. I think that is awesome. You can also stretch. Just moving your body is a different thing. But I think when you add music to things, it can be really fun. Again, you’re seeing movement is a key in a lot of these.
[00:06:00.860] – Hilary Erickson
Okay, this final one, once again, you guys might hate it, is to clean. This is actually one tip that I bring up quite a bit when I’m on other people’s podcasts. I think initially everyone’s like, What? You’re in labor, you shouldn’t have to clean.
[00:06:13.500] – Hilary Erickson
Which I agree, you shouldn’t have to, and I don’t think anybody has to. I also think that your partner should be cleaning whatever it is with you or kid or whatever. But hands and knees is a great position to be in when you’re in labor and swinging your hips. If you’re actually cleaning, in addition to that, you’ve got the productivity portion taken care of and you’ve got the different movements.
[00:06:40.940] – Hilary Erickson
So I think cleaning can be a good thing. I also think cleaning your bathroom can be awesome because you might be more likely to ask your mom or a friend to clean your kitchen, less likely to clean your bathroom, and you are going to be spending a lot of time in your bathroom after you have your baby. So having it clean when you come home from the hospital is going to be a big win.
[00:06:59.280] – Hilary Erickson
So again, it really is more about being in that hands and knees, shifting your hips. Cleaning your shower or something like that would be awesome. Obviously, you don’t want to clean with some serious chemicals, but if you have just some vinegar water and you might want to turn on the exhaust fan or open a window, but I think cleaning can be a great way to distract you and get things done in early labor along with moving your body. So it’s not a tip a lot of people do, but that’s probably because I love to be productive. And having a clean bathroom is going to be such a win after you have your baby.
[00:07:29.920] – Hilary Erickson
The bonus thing is to eat and drink. We talked about this weaving it in between the other things. Make sure that you eat a snack that balances carbs and proteins. You really don’t want to just have a brownie. I mean, you’ll want to have a brownie unless you’re diabetic, but you want to have a brownie and some string cheese or a brownie and some yogurt or a brownie and… You want to add some protein to this because what you don’t want to do is to raise that blood sugar and then plumb it back to the Earth, and then you’re just not feeling well.
[00:07:59.190] – Hilary Erickson
You got to think that you’re like, running a marathon. You want to eat something that really gives you the nutrients you need as you’re in labor. I also encourage you not to eat large meals because you might see it again as your stomach is like, Oh, uterus is contracting. I want to get contracting too. That’s not a great feeling to heartburn, throwing up, all those different kinds of things. I encourage you to have small snacks frequently that balance carbs and proteins.
[00:08:24.390] – Hilary Erickson
As far as hydration, first off, water can stop false labor, which nobody wants to be contracting if it’s not doing anything for you. Water can also help you if you go into the hospital, have nice plump veins, so it’s easier for us to get your IV, grab your labs, things like that. Make sure that you’re drinking lots of water. That’s super important while you’re in labor.
[00:08:43.470] – Hilary Erickson
That’s another great job of partners is to bring you your cup so that you’re making sure you drink when you’re awake, wouldn’t wake you up to drink water. I would encourage you if you’re in early labor and planning to go to sleep is to try and drink water before that. Take the last hour before going to sleep off so that you can get some rest because our bladders just aren’t friends to us when we’re pregnant.
[00:09:04.610] – Hilary Erickson
So, those are the things that I recommend to do while you’re in early labor. I think they can be huge wins. If you guys have a plan that you’re going to do in early labor or you already had your baby and there was something that you did that you loved, tell us over on Instagram. I would love to start a conversation over there. And of course, if you have any questions as to if you’re in preterm labor or labor is not safe, be sure and talk with your provider, obviously. That goes without saying, I hope.
[00:09:29.830] – Hilary Erickson
Stay tuned because we have some great episodes coming up. Next week we are talking about the birds and the bees from a birds and the bees expert. Not actual birds and bees. Hopefully you understand that. And then the next week we are talking with an expert about five things that moms should avoid during pregnancy. So be sure and stay tuned for those episodes coming up.
[00:09:48.060] – Hilary Erickson
Thanks for joining us on The Pulling Curls Podcast today. If you liked today’s episode, please consider reviewing, sharing, subscribing. It really helps our podcast grow. Thank you.
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