Inside: Use these 13 techniques to distract yourself during early labor so you don’t go to the hospital too soon!
I rolled over restlessly as I tried to find a comfortable position in bed so I could fall asleep.
All of a sudden I felt it…my water broke!
Immediately my adrenaline kicked in and I called my midwife who said, “well it’s your first baby so get some sleep. You probably won’t go into active labor until tomorrow and you’ll need your energy.”
Umm…go to sleep?! Are you kidding me?? There was no way I would be able to sleep now that I knew MY BABY WAS COMING!!
(Also not long after that phone call I was in active labor so there was definitely no sleep!)
There’s nothing quite like the excitement and anticipation that happens when you go into labor.
All of a sudden the last 9 ish months of preparing to meet your baby is here…it’s happening!
But it doesn’t usually happen like the movies where your water breaks and almost immediately the baby’s coming out.
Because of the adrenaline and excitement, you probably want to rush to the hospital as soon as you realize you’re in labor to make sure you’re all set up and ready to have your baby.
But there’s some reasons why you may want to think twice about going to the hospital right away.
In many cases, (not all but a lot) early labor takes awhile especially if this is your first baby.
If you go to the hospital too early, they may send you home because you haven’t progressed far enough to be admitted. Or you’ll end up sitting around in your hospital room impatiently waiting for active labor to kick in.
There’s also the possibility your labor could stall because you’re now in an unfamiliar environment and that stress can slow or stop the progress of your labor. Relaxing your mind and body is key to allowing your labor to progress, and usually the most comfortable place for you to relax is in your own home.
Also in many instances, when you go to the hospital your healthcare provider will ask you if you want interventions. There’s also some interventions that are standard procedure once you’re admitted to the hospital.
Medical interventions can sometimes cause labor to stall. For example, if you get an epidural you’re not allowed to walk or stand or move around.
But laboring in different positions and walking can actually help speed up labor!
So if your goal is to have a natural birth without interventions than you probably don’t want to be at the hospital longer than you need to be.
So how can you distract yourself during early labor so you stay as relaxed as possible to encourage your labor to progress and avoid going to the hospital too early?
These are some great techniques for distracting yourself during early labor!
Take a shower
The warm water can be soothing when you’re having contractions. Plus you’ll be fresh and clean before delivery!
You can go for a walk with your partner around the block, your yard, or even inside your house. The movement and gravity is great for encouraging a quicker labor.
Bounce on an exercise ball
Again, the gravity will encourage your labor process and there’s something about being able to bounce during early contractions that makes them less painful.
Play a board game
This is a great technique to focus your mind on something else besides labor and to pass the time.
Play with your kids
If you have other kids spend some time playing with them. It’ll be the last time it’s just you guys, (without the new baby) and your kids will love getting some last minute play time with you.
Watch a movie
You can treat this like a date with your partner. Snuggle up on the couch and enjoy a new movie or an old favorite as a way to pass the time.
Music can be really soothing, which can help you relax. Or you could listen to some high tempo, upbeat music to put you in a good mood.
When you go into labor, you may suddenly get nervous or fearful of childbirth. Saying positive birth affirmations out loud or to yourself, is an amazing way to uplift and encourage yourself that you can do this. You can have a positive labor and birth experience and these are a great way to remind yourself.
Clearly sleep didn’t work for me, but that doesn’t mean it can’t work for you! Or if sleeping is out of the question for you too, you can try resting with the lights off and meditating.
If making food is something you like doing then this can be an enjoyable way to distract yourself. Plus you can make some freezer meals for after you have the baby!
This can be a fun activity to do with your partner or kids, (or by yourself). And it can really get labor going too!
If someone you know is funny, having them tell funny stories or jokes can be a great way to take your mind off of what’s happening.
This is a great stress reducer and promotes relaxation.
When you first realize you’re in labor, it’s thrilling, exciting, and even nerve-racking! But don’t let that adrenaline and nervous energy send you to the hospital too early.
(Be sure you’ve shared your plans to stay home during early labor with your healthcare provider so in case something comes up, they can let you know to go in to the hospital).
You could end up getting sent home, stalling labor, or receiving medical interventions you didn’t necessarily want.
Instead, use these techniques to distract yourself during early labor. Reducing stress and movement can speed up your labor so in no time, you’ll be meeting your sweet baby!