Pregnancy - getting through labor
No one will tell you that labor is going to be easy. Labor means work, after all. But, there is plenty you can do ahead of time to prepare for labor.
One of the best ways to prepare is to take a childbirth class to learn what to expect in labor. You will also learn:
Having a plan and knowing ways to manage pain will help you feel more relaxed and in control when the day arrives.
Here are a few ideas that may be helpful.
When labor first begins, be patient and monitor your body. It is not always easy to know when you are going into labor. The steps leading up to labor can last for days.
Use your time at home to take showers or warm baths and pack your bag if you have not packed yet.
Walk around the house or sit in your baby's room until it is time to go to the hospital.
Most health care providers recommend that you come to the hospital when:
At the Hospital
Create a peaceful place for giving birth.
Keep your mind busy.
Get as comfortable as you can.
Speak up. Talk to your labor coach and your providers. Tell them how they can help you get through your labor.
Ask your provider about pain relief during labor. Most women do not know exactly how their labor will go, how they will cope with the pain, or what they will need until they are in labor. It is important to explore all options and be prepared before your labor begins.
Flood P, Rollins MD. Anesthesia for obstetrics. In: Miller RD, ed. Miller's Anesthesia. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 77.
Mertz MJ, Earl CJ. Labor pain management. In: Rakel D, ed. Integrative Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 52.
Minnich ME. Childbirth preparation and nonpharmacologic analgesia. In: Chestnut DH, Wong CA, Tsen LC, et al, eds. Chestnut's Obstetric Anesthesia: Principles and Practice. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 21.
Review Date: 9/25/2018
Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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