Usually, labor doesn’t begin with a gush of water like it’s presented in the movies. For most women, labor sneaks up on them, so it’s no wonder women are worried about the labor and delivery of their baby. It doesn’t matter how many books you read or classes you take, you’ll never be completely prepared for labor, but it’s important to do the research and learn as much as you can. That’s why we’ve prepared some labor tips for you.
How to Know if You’re in Labor
Many birthmothers wonder about the signs of labor. Sometimes it’s hard to know when you’re really in labor, but there are some clear labor signs that can tell you.
- In the last days before going into labor, you may notice pinkish, thickened vaginal discharge. It’s also called the bloody show, and it’s a good indicator of labor and can appear minutes, hours, or days before labor begins.
- Contractions are one of the most common signs of labor. Contractions are a tightening of your uterine muscles, which can feel like menstrual cramps or a lower backache. There are false contractions you may feel weeks before the delivery. You will know that contractions are real if you change position and they don’t go away or when they become consistent. When they become consistent, this is the strongest sign that labor has begun. You should contact your doctor as soon as you think you feel contractions.
- Your water may break on its own just before or during labor, but only 1 in 10 women experience a true gush of fluid.
- Your cervix is also preparing for birth, it starts to open and it thins out. Your doctor can track and measure dilation.
Be Prepared for Labor and Delivery
It’s called labor for a reason. The time spent getting through contractions and pushing are sure to be hard work. But you can do it! Here are some helpful techniques to help you get through it.
- Breathing properly can calm you down during the first stage of labor. Consider some childbirth preparation classes where you can learn how to adjust the tempo of your breathing during labor.
- Find yourself a supportive labor partner. You can choose anyone you trust and feel comfortable with, from your best friend to your mom or sister. They should stay with you throughout the entire labor process and attend to your needs, help you feel comfortable, and cheer you on.
- Frequently changing positions during labor is also recommended. Positions like walking, kneeling, standing, or squatting allow gravity to help move the baby down naturally.
- Labor is likely going to last for a long time, so be sure to drink plenty of water. Depending on the hospital you go to, you may not be able to eat or drink during labor, so it’s even more important to stay hydrated in the early stages.
- Have a plan B and you won’t freak out if anything unplanned happens. Maybe you don’t want an epidural, medications or a C-section, but you’ll need to think about these as your options just to be prepared in advance in case something unplanned happens.
- Read the signs your body is sending you and don’t push unless you really need to. Stay focused and remember to work with your body.
Arriving at the Hospital
- When you arrive at the hospital, be sure to tell the staff and your nurses that you have an adoption plan. Be sure to share with them your hospital plan so everyone is on the same page.
- When you go into labor, contact your social worker or the adoption professionals you’re working with to notify them. If you’re in contact with the adoptive parents and feel comfortable doing so, you can notify them as well. Otherwise, your social worker or adoption professional can do that for you.