Thursday, 13 March 2014

Pearls of Labour Wisdom

As with Pregnancy wisdom, this is the advice I can pass on from my own excperiance, this is not a suppliment for professional advice. Please be aware this may contain too much information for people with sensitive stomachs.

Hospital Bag

I took the wash bag below, and I used the toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush and deodorant from it. For yourself I would say keep it simple and take the bare minimum you feel you will need, I did take shower stuff but struggled to get away for longer than a toilet break let alone a shower. I also packed my bag thinking I would be out after 6 hours of labour because I kept being told that it would be all straight forward, also thinking I'd be closer to home that if we need anything its 5 minutes car drive away. I ended up 30 minutes away after having to go to hospital rather than a birthing centre.

For you and baby pack for at least a few days, your newborn will work they way through LOTS of clothes/nappies in the first days of this life, my husband had to go back twice to bring me more (I was in hospital for 3 days). Maternity pads - yes they are ugly but think how many you need then double it, I also used mine around my due date in case my waters broke (Mothercare I found the best value, a pack of 48 for £4.99 and usually on 3 for 2).

If you have old knickers wear them as you will bleed though clothes after birth, it has 9 months of stuff to get rid of! I used disposal knickers for this time, they are HUGE but stopped me worrying about ruining good underwear. I also wore my hospital gown during my stay, but please take your own PJ's (dark colours are best) it will make you feel better in an alien environment.

This then leads into...

What to take for labour

By the time you will get to hospital (as my Midwives kept telling me to stay at home) there is actually not a lot you don't need and the hospital provides the pain killers you'll be longing for. I did take Rescue Remedy with me to soothe stress, but for labour itself I was concentrating too hard on coping with the pain to eat and I was fine with water.  Do not forget the camera or phone charger!

What contractions feel like?

The pain is different, it doesn't last long but it is intense and like it says in the books, it is like a strong period pain. They come in waves, most of the time as soon as they come, they have gone. By the time that they are really intense you will be having the correct pain killer to help you cope. When mine came I kept in mind my Hypnobrthing training, breathed through them and kept in mind, "This will pass", chanting it in my head until it has passed. If you want quiet during this time, make sure you say, it'll give you one less thing to get stressed about!

Active Birth

This is where you are going to have baby. What I didn't realise is that I thought 2 pushes and we're done. Nope, not even close, you will have to push with every contraction for a while as you have to squeeze baby round the U-bend in your body and this takes a while, but get that head out and it is one more push to baby. They will give you 2 hours of pushing between they intervine, by this time I was tired and getting distressed so was baby. Trust the advice you are given, they have you and your baby's health at the heart. I had a birth plan and the first sentence was, "Do whatevere is required for the health of me and my baby." the rest is merely a request that never happened. My last bit of advice here is, trust your body and what it is telling you, because it is easier to work with it than against it.


Things will be a blur of activity, regardless of what labour you have. You will have to deliver what your baby has been living on the past few months, this is one push and done because of the birth I had I didn't even known this had happened until it was taken away. You will be exausted but adrenaline pumped, I didn't sleep for 24 hours after birth as I was in so much of a daze. Please make sure you eat something as soon as possible to get your energy levels back, nd that first cup of tea is one of the best you will have!


The aftermarth of something largish coming out of something small is that you are likely to tear, I was unlucky I was cut because I had to have help with the forceps; I ended up with 20 stitches. Before your first wee, drink lots and lots of water, this was my saving grace as it didn't sting as it was really diluted with my drinking. Air them for as much time as you can get daily and pat them dry after every wee. Most important - DO PELVIC FLOOR SQUEEZES as soon as it feels comfortable. I am now fully healed with no sign of stitches because of this.

Best apps to have for labour

Contraction Timer by James Ots

It's nothing fancy - push a button to start and push one to finsih, will list the time of length as well as the gao inbetween. Perfect for when the Midwife will ask you about timings. 

I also played a lot of Mahjong Solitaire to pass the time and distract.

Labour is scary and exciting, I put my full trust into the team that looked after me, I was cared for and came away with the most beautiful daughter that I am ever grateful for. I cannot thank the team at Stoke Mandeville enough for their care and patience.

What would people like to add for newly new mums?


  1. Your little one is such a cutie, congrats :)

    1. Thank you and she is just so beautiful :)

  2. What a great post! I too learned so much during my first labor. I thought I had all the answers then when I went into labor with my second. Nope. Turns out, it's a learning experience every time. But I do try to pass on any particularly good pearls of wisdom I've collected across my two births. Especially since I've had one in the UK and one in the US. I think it's so important for women to share their experiences. So many of us have no idea what we're in for when we have our first child. Anyway, thanks for sharing. P.S. I found you through the PBloggers network :-)


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