Your contractions have started, so what should you do now?
Don't panic! You could have mild contractions for 48 hours before labour becomes truly established
Call your birth partner if he/she is not with you
Stay at home, unless your waters break or you have been told to come to hospital at the first signs of labour If you have hired or bought a TENS machine, set it up now Try to get some sleep or rest if it is nighttime, or keep upright and moving around if you feel up to it.
Keeping upright will allow gravity to help your labour along If your waters haven't broken you may find it helps to sit in a deep, warm bath It's important to feel the baby move at this stage – if you cannot feel any movement, phone your doctor or midwife
Try to eat and drink something – you will need your energy Have your hospital bag ready to go
Try not to hold your breath during a contraction as this will deprive your muscles of oxygen. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth
Try out different positions to see how they help with the pain – walking around, getting on your hands and knees, bouncing or sitting on your birthing ball, straddling a chair or leaning over furniture works well for many women at this stage
Time your contractions so that you know how your early labour is progressing
Ring your midwife if you feel your labour is changing or you are concerned. You may be asked to go to the hospital to be monitored
If your contractions are getting longer and closer together phone your midwife to find out when you should go into hospital
Look forward to the arrival of your new baby.
Mother & Babies