As you are thinking about the arrival of your new bundle of joy like I was, labor is something that is on our minds. As a second time mom, I would like to share with you some labor tips to encourage you as you embrace this part of the process of giving birth to your beautiful baby.
I’ve recently welcome the newest member of our family, a baby boy.
It was a very different experience of labor from my first experience. My water broke in the middle of the night and I was induced the following morning.
Due to being induced, I went from early to active labor pretty quickly and gave birth within 3 hours of checking into the hospital.
With my first, I had a long early labor which lead to me getting an epidural after 24 hours of early labor contractions.
In this blog post, I’ll share with you some labor tips I’ve learned from my two experiences. I hope that you’ll find it helpful as you prepare for your upcoming labor.
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Here are 8 Essential Labor Tips from a Second Time Mom:
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1. Every labor is different, it is better to be prepared
Your labor may be different from mine. My two labor experiences were definitely very different from each other. I thought I knew what I wanted to do due to my first experience, but it was not what I expected.
Having said that, it is still important to be prepared for labor. Whether it is by natural birth at home, or a planned C-section at the hospital, you want to be as prepared as you can be.
Know that your body will experience discomfort and pain during contractions and think about ways to cope with that.
Hope for the best scenario but be prepared for different situations.
If you are unsure of how to prepare, you can check with your doctor, midwife, or look online for the ample of resources. As you will not know how your labor would be like until it happens, it is always good to remind yourself that you can do this.
2. Practice breathing techniques for contractions
Can I tell you that I did not prepare myself for contractions the first time? As a first time mom (at that time), I knew that it would come and go but I was not ready for it to wake me up at 3 a.m. in the morning.
Also, my mom told me of her different labor experiences which made labor sound super easy. It brings me back to my first point of every labor is different.
Learning from my first labor experience, I was intentional about trying to breathe slowly through the contractions the second time around.
During my early labor the second time around, the contractions came an hour apart after my water broke. I was able to breathe through them and sleep until the morning. It was definitely not easy to breathe through them during active labor. However, my midwife encouraged me to breathe in through my nose and slowly release them through my mouth.
I’m not sure what would work for you, but do some research on how you can practice staying calm and breathe slowly.
You might still want the epidural, which is totally fine. However, they might encourage you to get it after you go into active labor (which you won’t know until your contractions are closer together).
This labor tip is to practice breathing techniques so that you can use them during contractions.
3. Your water might or might not break
My water did not break the first time, but it did this second time. It actually surprised us because the doctor had to break my water at the hospital the last time. Also, it came as a leakage of clear liquid instead of a full gush.
My tip to you is that you should not expect that your water will break and you rushing to the hospital, just like the movies. It could happen or it could just be contractions and having your water broken at the hospital or birthing center.
Ask your doctor or midwife what to do if your water does break.
For me, when my water broke in the middle of the night, I paged my midwife and she offered me options of what I could do. I chose to be induced the following morning and rest up during the night.
Back to my first labor tip, it is good to be prepared in case your water does break. Always ask if you are unsure of what to do or how to prepare for such a situation.
4. Have a birth plan, but be flexible
It is so important to have a birth plan. Check out the free library (you can sign up with your name and email) for the template.
However, as you’ve read in my labor stories, it does not always go as planned but always good to know what you want in advance.
It is also really important for your support person to know your birth plan which I will talk more about later in the blog post.
Whether you use my template or your own, do some research on what you want to happen at the birth. It is also important to voice out your choices and concerns to your OB or midwife so that they are aware of what you want to do.
I chose a midwife with my second pregnancy to experience what it is like to be under their care. They were very informative of the labor process and also the different options that could happen. Some of the questions they asked me were very helpful for me to tell them what I want at my labor.
Do speak to your doctor or midwife if you have any questions or concerns about your birth plan.
I would also encourage you to print your birth plan out and put it in your hospital bag, if it helps the nurses to know what you want for your labor and delivery.
5. Speak to your Ob-Gyn or midwife about different labor options and locations
Most of my labor tips include making intention decisions and preparing for your birth. This tip is no different.
Whether you want to give birth at the hospital, in your home, or at a birthing center, it would be helpful for you to make an informed decision.
Some questions you can ask your OB or midwife include:
- What are the options for labor?
- What happens if I cannot make it to the hospital to give birth?
- What if I want to give birth in the comfort of my own home?
There are different positions for labor, not just lying on your back. Whichever way makes you more comfortable is probably best.
During labor, do you want to lie down, walk around, or sit on a birthing ball? If you are getting an epidural, you are encouraged to lie down and only take clear liquids.
Depending on your situation, your OB or midwife might recommend something that you are not aware of. So, it is better to check with them or do some research online or in forums of what options you have and the locations you can give birth at.
6. Make an informed decision whether you want a natural or medicated birth
This topic of having a natural or medicated birth is based on personal preference.
I can only share with you my own experience.
For my first child, I had an epidural after 24 hours of early labor. A few hours later, I gave birth to my beautiful daughter. The recovery process took awhile as I was really exhausted from the labor and being overwhelmed as a first time parent.
For my second child, my water broke in the middle of the night. This time I chose to be induced at the hospital about 10 hours later with some medical reasons as well. With the induction, my contractions were sped up and I gave birth without epidural (not by choice as the baby came so fast).
The recovery seemed a little quicker this time, but also it could be due to being a second time parent that I am more prepared.
Whether you want a natural or medicated birth, let your health care provider know. There are pros and cons to each, so you will want to know what is best for you. If you think that you do not have a high tolerance for pain, then you might want to consider getting an epidural. Or if your OB or midwife would suggest a certain option due to medical reasons, you might want to consider that as well.
7. Sleep as much as you can during early labor
This labor tip really helped me and make my labor experience a lot better than my first labor experience.
If you have early labor contractions, sleep as much as you can. My midwife suggested to take a hot bath to help relax the body so that you can rest as much as you can.
During my first labor, I did not know this. When I started having contractions at 3 a.m., I started pacing and walking around hoping that it would just go away. I actually thought it was Braxton Hicks and thought I would be able to rest soon.
However, it did not go away and I was just walking around. By the 24 hour mark, I finally got to 5 cm dilated – it was exhausting.
This time, after my water broke, my midwife suggested that I get some sleep if I can. So, I did try to sleep in between contractions. Given that the contractions are not close together, it was a much better experience for me. I felt well rested when heading to the hospital for an induction.
If your water breaks and you want to lie down to rest, you can put down towels or wear an adult diaper while resting.
Of course, your labor experience might not be the same as mine. However, rest as much as you can before giving birth so that you’ll have the energy to delivery and take care of your baby.
8. Choose a support person and inform them of your choices
The most important labor tip you will need to know is to choose your support person wisely.
Whether it is your spouse, your mom, your dad, or your best friend, this person needs to be someone you trust and can calm you down. This is the person who you want in the room with you when your baby is born.
If someone wants to be there but you feel that they might stress you out even more, this person might not be a good choice.
Once you have selected your support person, let them know what your birth plan is, what your choices are, who to contact when this or that happens, and how you imagine your birth to be. When they are aware of your choices, then they can advocate for you during your labor.
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