Sometimes the small details can make a huge difference to your mindset, to how labour flows and how you manage energy and work with your contractions.

DRINK WATER: so you don’t become dehydrated and tired

EAT: you may need energy

REST: to conserve your energy

BREATHE: know how to control your breathing to stay calm, focused and to handle any panic or anxiety. If you can use your breathing, you can get rid of any tension

MOVE: use gravity and different positions to stay comfortable and to work with your contractions

SAY WHAT YOU NEED: only you know how you are feeling and what feels right for you

BE WELL PREPARED: read well, invest in good antenatal classes so you have knowledge about your options, what may help and what may not

ASK QUESTIONS: so you know what is going on and what your options are

FEEL SAFE: have the support you need, be where you want to be, do what feels right – this can help your labour work well

DON’T FEAR YOUR CONTRACTIONS: you need them, so don’t battle with them. Try to accept them and work with them in the best way for you – breathing, movement, water, pain relief – but let them have what they need to work: relaxation not tension & gravity not being recumbent.

DON’T WAIT FOR PERMISSION: do what feels right and talk to your midwife so she can support and guide you

BE GUIDED BY YOUR BODY: for movement, comfortable positions, rest, pushing, what feels right and what feels safe

IF THERE IS AN EMERGENCY: if there is time, gather the information you need so you know what is going on and so you can be involved with any decisions. Focus on your breathing to stay as calm as possible and to control any panic

You can download this information here and you can find out more about the other Labour & Birth Guides here.

Janine Smith | a specialist in pregnancy, birth and early parenting

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