Top Tips for a Great Labour

By Louise Morrison 



Louise runs Antenatal Online, an incredible website where qualified NHS midwives bring antenatal classes to your home. You can use the website to find out everything you need to know about labour, birth, pain relief, relaxation and those first few weeks with your new baby. Watch online videos, get midwife support and chat online with other parents-to-be.


Here Louise gives you her top tips for a great labour…


Pregnancy is an exciting time but even if you are overjoyed about your impending new arrival there may still be that niggling worry at the back of your mind about how you will cope with labour when the baby decides to make its exit. 

There is no doubt that, for first time mums and dads-to-be especially, the thought of labour can be daunting, but believe it or not childbirth can be a wonderful experience if you approach it with a positive mindset and are as prepared as you can be for the big event.


With that in mind, here are ten tips to help you have the best birth possible! 

  • As soon as you become pregnant you will encounter women with a birth horror story that they are all too keen to share. Do yourself a favour and politely tell them that you would rather not hear about it! Their labour and birth may not have been the best but it doesn’t mean that yours will be bad. There will be mums out there who had a great birth and those are the people you need to hear. This site is great for positive birth stories and teams mums-to-be up with a birth buddy which is worth considering –

  • Labour and birth can be unpredictable but it can still help to have some idea as to how you would like your experience to be. If you and your birth partner spend some time thinking about the kind of birth you want it will help you feel a bit more prepared. Who, for example, do you want in the room with you when you give birth? Do you want your partner to cut the cord? Do you want the midwife to tell you the sex of your baby? All of this can be recorded in your birth preferences;

  • Although it appears to be a commonly held belief that walking for miles is a good way to get labour started it really is best that you take it relatively easy in the last few days of your pregnancy. Too much exercise will only wear you out and you need to preserve your strength for labour;

  • During labour remember that each contraction is taking you one step closer to meeting your baby;

  • You also need to make sure you eat - even if you don’t feel like it. First time labour can take a while and the last thing you want to do is run out of steam so making sure you eat little and often can really help. Avoid sugary drinks and snacks though, tempting as it may be to stuff down a cake;

  • You may think that you don’t need or want pain relief and that is great. However no one knows how they will react during labour and if you feel overwhelmed and opt for drugs having wanted a natural birth, don’t beat yourself up! The birth is just one day out of your life. Don’t waste any of your time with your new baby feeling like you have already failed. You haven’t;

  • Think about your birth position! Adopting a more upright position can help your labour for a number of reasons one of which is that it gives the baby more space resulting in less pressure on pelvic joints and nerves and less pain;

  • You can feel vulnerable in labour but try not to let that stop you from speaking up if you don’t understand what is being said or done. If you don’t feel comfortable then your birth partner can help or you could consider using a doula who will attend your labour and offer support;

  • Consider a water birth. It is a great form of natural pain relief and is a lovely calm way for your baby to enter the world;

  • Finally, a positive mindset really can help you have a better birth so believe in your body’s ability to have your baby and remember that women have been giving birth for thousands of years and if they can do it so can you! A good antenatal class will help you understand how your body is designed to give birth and will help dispel some of the fear you may have around labour;

I think there are few that would argue that labour isn’t challenging but it can also be an empowering experience and is of course worth all the effort once your baby is in your arms. Good luck and remember, you can do it!


Twitter:  @AntenatalOnline

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