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What to do when labor starts


Going into labor can be an extremely exciting time. There are a whirlwind of emotions that are going to happen to you from this very moment.

You may have been waiting for this for what feels like forever and you are finally about to meet your baby after feeling them move inside you for so many months.

Once you have confirmed that you are in fact actually in labor and that it is not false labor like Braxton Hicks, its easy to get lost in the moment so I’ve laid out 11 things you should do once labor has begun.


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My Top 11 Things To Do Once Labor Has Started

These are in no particular order


1. Recognize That It Could Be A While

Once your labor has begun you need to understand that it could be a while before you actually deliver your baby.

Watching tv shows where the woman’s water breaks and then minutes later the baby has arrived is not a good measure to go by.  Those programs are nowhere near the truth.  

For 99.9% of women, labor does not happen in that way.

If this is your first baby labor can take even longer. It has been known that with some women from the point of going into labor to actual delivery can take several days. It may not take several days with you but it could take 24 hours before active labor begins so just be aware of that.

Once your labor starts don’t expect that you will necessarily go into transitional labor right away. 

With my first baby, I went into labor on a Friday but did not give birth until Saturday evening.  My subsequent pregnancies were quicker than that.

It is good to be clear on roughly how long it can take for your baby to make an appearance so that you do not get disappointed.


2. Take A Shower

If you are in the beginning stages of labor then it’s a good idea to think about trying to take a warm (not hot) shower.

This can help you with any pain that you may be experiencing but it will also help you to pass the time and feel fresh and prepared for when active labor does start.


3. Go For A Walk

I know this might seem crazy but trust me going for a walk is a great way to feel better about things.

Taking a walk will also help to move labor along as you encourage your cervix to open up more.  Your doctor or midwife will probably encourage you to do this too unless you are on bedrest or for any special reason.

When you do go for a walk don’t worry about people around you, they may stare at you but just ignore that because you are doing what is right for you.

I even went clothes shopping once when I was in labor.  I had to stop every few minutes when I experienced a contraction and had to hang onto a clothes rack but I felt so good.

I really needed the fresh air at the time and to feel normal.


4. Make Sure Everything Is In your Hospital Bag

Take the time to double and triple check your hospital bag to make sure that everything you think you will need is actually in there.

It’s easy to forget important things so rechecking is a great way to make sure that nothing is missed.

Once you are happy that it is packed correctly put in straight into your car or leave it by the front door because once your contractions start to get more intense its easy to begin forgetting things.  You will really need that bag later on.


5. Arrange Child Care If You Need To

It’s a good idea to get your childcare arranged at this point.  Whoever you have allocated to look after your children whilst you go into hospital should know as early as possible that your labor has started so that they can begin making arrangements to get to you even if it may not be for another few hours.

I had a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old when I went into labor with baby number 3 and my husband was at work.

I had to try and hide the pain of my contraction away from the children so I wouldn’t worry them.  It was really difficult to do but not only that I still had to attend to their needs whilst I was in labor. 

It was awful because all I wanted to do was to concentrate on the things that I needed to do.

I was so relieved when a friend turned up to take the children off my hands.  I love my children very much but this was not the time for them to be around as I was on my own.

Even if you have a friend that can stay and look after your children whilst you are in labor can be a big help.  It will mean one less thing for you to have to deal with. 


6. Pack Some Snacks

Packing snacks is something that I like to do when I go into labor.  Not necessarily for myself but also for my husband and my children if they happen to be around.

These snacks even come in handy after you have delivered your baby.

If you deliver in hospital the hospital might give you something to eat but as a back up its good to have your own snacks too especially if you don’t want to spend money in the vending machine.

Having snacks after I had given birth meant that my children weren’t complaining at the hospital about being hungry or just wanting something.

Even if you never use your snacks its a great idea to have them on hand…just in case.


7. Let Your Family Know

You may want your family and friends to know that you have gone into labor once it starts.  Not so that everyone can turn up at the hospital and wait in anticipation (unless of course, you want that) but so that they can do any necessary things around the house for you.

Wouldn’t it be nice to come home from the hospital knowing there is a nice hot meal waiting for you and that your house has been cleaned?

All these little things take the pressure off you so you can concentrate on your new baby.


8. Have Something Light To Eat

This point is a little controversial as some people think that its better not eat once you have gone into labor because that could lead to you pooping during your final contractions.

On the other hand, if you don’t eat you never know how long you will be in labor for and you will need energy once active labor begins.

Personally I think it’s a good idea to have something light to eat to make sure you don’t start flagging.  Stay away from anything spicy and keep the food light.


9. Remain Calm

This one goes without saying really but just in case I’m going to say it anyway.

Always remain calm when you go into labor, tensing up will do nothing to help your contractions and you only want to be sending happy vibes to your baby as well.

The more relaxed that you are the easier labor will be on you.


10. Document This Moment

This is a great time to start documenting your time in labor.  Get your partner to pull out the camera and start to film.

It might seem a bit irritating to you right now but once everything is done and you are settled that video will become one of the most precious things that you own.

You get to relive your moments and see what things were really like.

You won’t regret it.


11. Time Your Contractions

One of the most important things that you need to do when labor starts is to time your contractions.

When you call the hospital to inform them you are in labor one of the first things they will ask you is how far apart your contractions are.

Time your contractions as that will also give you an idea as to when active labor will begin.

You can time your contractions using the sheet below.



Final Thoughts On What To Do When Labor Starts

Going into labor is a special thing but it might seem like there are so many things happening all at once especially if you have never given birth before.

The above tips will help you know what to do when labor starts.


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