Written by Karli Steenkamp
When you are in labour, you have finally made it to the end of your pregnancy. You are so close to holding your baby in your arms. Unfortunately, it can be a couple of hours or even days before that happens. Labour has different stages. If you have period pains, backache, nausea or vomiting, diarrhoea or a small amount of bloody discharge then you are probably in labour. There is no rush to get to the hospital straight away unless your water has broken, you are bleeding more than the small amount of discharge or your contractions are more than five minutes apart.
It is always a good idea rather to phone a midwife and they can tell you exactly what is normal and what is not and if you should go to the hospital. To go to the hospital straight away might just mean that they send you home until your contractions get more frequent. Labour can last on average about 18 hours for a new mum. It goes quicker with the next child. If you have been in labour for about 20 hours, they will classify you as being in pre-long labour. When labour starts, no one can tell how long it will take, so it is good to have some ideas on how to get your mind of it by distracting yourself.
1. Work on your to-do list
There is never enough hours in a day. This is the perfect time to focus on things you have not had time for, as long as it is not too strenuous. You do want to keep your energy levels up. If you have not packed your hospital bag, it is a great time to do so. You can cook a few meals to put in the freezer to make your first couple of days with the newborn a little easier. If this is your second child, you can write little notes and make little gifts for him or her while you are in hospital, so that they can feel just as important and have something extra to look forward to.
2. Rest, Sleep, Relax
You are probably tired of people telling you that you need to sleep before the baby comes, because sleep will be something you do not get much. The reality is that they are right. Whether you have a baby that sleeps through the night or one that wakes up constantly, you will have to adjust to their schedule. So, in your last few hours of having your baby nestled inside your tummy, allow yourself to put your feet up and rest or sleep.
You are about to have a baby and may feel nauseous or want to devour anything you see. Have a good meal before while you are waiting. You can also snack on food so that you can build your strength up for labour. You and your partner can go out for a last supper before the new addition comes into the world. Make sure it is one not too far from home and the hospital, just for when things escalate faster than you thought.
Make a list of things you enjoy before you go into labour. You can prepare and get everything ready so that you can choose what you will be in the mood for. A movie could kill a couple of hours or binge watch a series you have always wanted to see. Something light and funny always makes time pass faster and laughing will help ease the nerves. Get a board game or two that you could play. If you are competitive, it could keep you entertained for hours. Art is always good therapy. Another idea is to start your baby’s first album. You can put sonogram photos in and pictures from your baby shower.
Going into labour is exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. You are going to need support to help pass time. Whatever you do, just relax and try to enjoy the moment. If you are unsure if anything is normal, phone the hospital and speak to a midwife. They will guide you and know what is best for you and the baby. Labour is your body preparing for this amazing miracle. Don’t rush it, your body will let you know when it is ready.
Webmd Queensland health Better health