Early Labour: Tips for Coping at Home


When labour starts in the films and tv shows, they rush to the hospital as fast as they can. But the reality is you should stay at home during early labour. Sometimes this can be hours, sometimes it can be days! During my first pregnancy, I had nearly 7 days of on/off contractions when I was at 2cm. So I had to try and stay busy before labour finally progressed on the day. It can feel nerve wracking staying at home during early labour when you need to try to distract yourself while you are in discomfort. I feel like second-time around I managed it quite well during the big day. I woke up with bad back pain and I started getting twinges. Here are a few things I did to cope at home before finally going to the hospital later in the afternoon.

Have some snacks

I know you don’t feel hungry during early labour but it’s so important to have some food to keep your energy up. Rather than having a big meal, you should try to consume some snacks to keep your energy up. I had some toast with just butter and then I had some crisps a bit later. Whatever you can manage, do try to eat and remember to have drink too. If you can have squash or even a hot drink, do make sure you hydrate and it’s a great distraction too.

Watch some tv

I watched This Morning while I was in early labour. You want something that’s an easy watch to help you to pass the time. Don’t put anything too dramatic/scary/emotional on. Just watch something lighthearted that will keep you distracted for a little while.

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Have a bath

A bath is a great, initial pain relief during early labour. I went in the bath then I came out and then an hour later I had another bath. It helps to ease the back pain and I found it a calming way to relax in early labour. I shut my eyes and just concentrated on my breathing. It’s so relaxing and a great way to help you cope at home. In fact, the midwife will suggest it when you ring initially.

Bounce on a birthing ball

During those last few weeks of pregnancy, I spent ages bouncing on a birthing ball. I found it much more comfortable to sit on when watching tv and movies. During that last morning, I was on it for ages to help with the contractions and I really recommend buying one if you haven’t already.

Take paracetamol

When the pain is becoming uncomfortable, it’s always a good idea to turn to paracetamol. The midwife will suggest to take them before coming in. I took 2 around lunch time which did help me to continue coping at home for another two hours. Make sure you have paracetamol in the house before the big day. 

And remember to time your contractions during early labour so you know when it’s time to call the hospital. Although listen to your body too and don’t hesitate to ring the maternity unit if you do need some advice and they can help you find ways to cope at home or suggest it’s time to go to triage. 

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