What to do in Early Labour

Spending some time in a warm bath during early labour is one of the first suggestions for our birth clients.

Early labour or what is sometimes termed “false labour‘ can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster for expectant parents. It is a time where many are unsure of what to do and when to head into the hospital. In Toronto, many childbirth classes say to go to the hospital when the contractions are 5 minutes apart lasting a minute for at least an hour. Others say 5 minutes apart, lasting a minute for 2 hours or 4 minutes apart for a minute lasting an hour. These guidelines can be described as the 5:1:1, 5:1:2 or 4:1:1 Rule for determining when it is time to contact your medical care provider.

Confused yet?

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What to Pack for Labour

what to pack for labour pic 3

Wondering what to bring to the hospital for baby’s arrival?

There is quite a few lists around on what to bring for postpartum but not that much on what to bring for labor. I always recommend to my clients that they pack 2 bags for the hospital. One for labor and one for postpartum. You may also want a smaller bag for your support person. When you arrive at the hospital, take your labour  bag with you and leave your postpartum bag in the car. After the birth, your support person can take the labour bag to the car and grab your postpartum stuff.  Luggage bags on wheels come in VERY handy and you support person will be EXTREMELY grateful.

For your labour bag you want to pack things that will make you more comfortable in labour.

These could include:
{   }  Birth plan
{   }  Pillows-the ones at the hospital are not very supportive
{   }  Snacks.  These could include but are not limited to-cheese, crackers, granola bars, trail mix, protein bars, sandwich, chocolate etc
{   }  A microwaveable heating bag, hot water bottle or heating pad
{   }  iPod or some other music device. Bring ear buds so you can walk the halls and tune out other noises or if you get an epidural you can tune out distractions so you can rest. Many operating rooms have docking stations so you could ask to play your own music, even in the event of a c-section.
{   }  Hard candies. gum, mints etc
{   }  Ultrasound picture to use to focus on during contractions.  You can put it in a cheap dollar store frame so its nicer.
{   }  TENS machine-Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) is the use of electric current produced by a device to stimulate the nerves for therapeutic purposes. In labour it helps to release endorphins that help relieve the discomfort of contractions.
{   }  A battery-operated fan from the dollar store. These come in really handy if you get hot and fanning you with a piece of paper just wont cut it.
{   }  Comfortable shoes-not slippers!  If you are doing a lot of walking or standing you want something comfy AND supportive for your feet
{   }  Hair band, hair tie or both
{   }  Chap stick
{   }  Small bottle of massage oil
{   }  Depends underwear or underwear you won’t mind tossing after the birth
{   }  Camera that is charged or bring extra batteries
{   }  Refillable water bottle.  Not a case of water but something you can refill as you need to.
{   }  Gatorade and/or juice
{   }  Tooth brush and paste and/or mouthwash. Put all toiletries in a small bag that can be transferred easily to your postpartum bag.
{   }  Deodorant
{   }  Chargers for phone and other electronic devices
{   }  Small bottle of olive oil for perineal massage before delivery

Partner for Labour

{   }  Snacks.  Sandwichs, power bars etc.  Nothing that has a strong smell.
{   }  Comfortable shoes
{   }  Comfortable clothes
{   }  Gum, mints, mouthwash
{   }  Book
{   }  Deodorant
{   }  Change of clothes in case it is a long birth or mom doesn’t want to go home after the birth

Postpartum bag

For baby:

{   }  Car seat properly installed
{   }  2 Hats
{   }  Outfit-for going home
{   }  2 or 3 onsies
{   }  Blanket-for taking baby home
{   }  Diapers-size newborn
{   }  Wipes sensitive
{   }  Olive oil or Vaseline-to put on bum for baby’s first bowel movement(mechenonium)

For mom:

{   }  1 0r 2 Nursing bras.  Usually 1-2 sizes larger than pre-pregnancy size
{   }  Nursing pillow.  I highly recommend ‘My Breast Friend’
{   }  Breast pads
{   }  Pajamas with opening at the front for easy breastfeeding
{   }  Robe
{   }  Outfit to go home
{   }  Overnight pads-not Always brand
{   }  Flip flops for shower
{   }  Small bottle of shampoo and body wash
{   }  Dark colored towel
{   }  Toiletries bag from labour bag

Good luck and happy birthing!

**Written by Kristi Clements who is a Registered Massage Therapist and birth doula who has helped over 300 babies enter the world :)