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Readers Respond: Making Your Labor Work for You

Responses: 7

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Updated December 14, 2009

Labor and birth can be a wide variety of lengths. Long labors still tend to surprise people. A labor might be longer than normal because of many factors from mom to baby and beyond. So what's the best advice to thrive during a prolonged labor? Did you rely on your doula? What comfort measures did you use? Did your husband or partner do something that really helped? Was it something physical or mental?

Don't Tell!

Another mistake I have seen Moms make is to let everyone know when they have even the earliest signs that labor may begin. Then they inevitably have person after person calling, texting, and facebooking to see. "what's going on" and "is the baby here yet". It can really wear you down psychologically! Only call and let your birth team know what's going on. Leave everyone else out of the loop until birth is imminent, or better yet, after baby has arrived and had time to nurse and recover.
—Guest Bethany

Thank you

Your advice to take advantage of the calm periods in a long labor really helped. I was in labor for 2 days and 3 nights and at one point my contractions stopped and I was so upset labor had stopped. This post gave me encouragement, and yes I slept (which I had not been able to do through the contractions), which gave me energy when the contractions returned full-force a few hrs later. When I was discouraged by labor stopping I actually took a screen shot of the post so I could refer back to it, and wouldn't you know! - the next picture on my phone is my husband holding my new son 15 hrs later! It is true - calmer periods in labor or even labor 'stopping' is simply an opportunity to rest and don't worry - it will continue soon enough.
—Guest Deb

Eat, drink, and move!

I was in true labor for several days. I dilated a few cm's everyday and finally stayed at 9cm for a couple of days. The most important thing was to have husband and midwife be supportive. The next was food, drink (very important to keep eating and drinking!), and walking, stretching, and squatting, basically just keep moving and alternating moving with rest. Remember that each contraction is only one minute long. One minute. And then a break. Try to keep a perspective. Your body is built for this. It knows what to do. Let it do it. Hot baths, hot packs, massage, stay IN your body. Don't get distracted. Cozy up with your man, let yourself be erotic. All part of having a baby!
—Guest Lin

Labor

My one labor lasted 50 hours. I decided to never go through that again. How can anyone have more than one child? Had "tubes tied."
—Guest naoma

thanks

I am expecting my second baby soon. Thanks for those wise words. I feel much more comfortable now.
—Guest parvathy

holy moly

My labor lasted muuuuch longer than I'd "planned." haha. Not paying attention to clocks is best -- but watching that sun set and rise and set and rise kinda clues you in. My doula was amazing and gave my husband the short break he needed too (I could tell he was wearing down, so he left and came back in 10, which made me feel like he was refreshed and rested). Having a homebirth, we utilized freedom of movement, various positions, a labor/birth tub, eating, drinking, music, low lighting, and Privacy. In my case, I think fear and performance anxiety played into my long labor. It look me a long time to Let Go. My doula finally gave it to me straight and told me I had to go through this, not around it. After that, I feel like I surrendered and let myself labor.
—Mabycakes

Slowly...

You can't really be thinking about time. You've got to focus on it one contraction at a time. My childbirth educator told us this and I didn't get it at first. But every time I'd start asking how long it had been or how much longer, I'd feel panicked. My husband would have to calm me down on top of the contractions.
—Jana

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