Natural Birth

Laboring at Home

I'm getting prepared for labor, and ideally would like to spend as much time as possible at home before heading to the hospital. We've looked into the signs of labor, pain management, and all  that good stuff.  We're incorporating Bradley and I'm prepared to do whatever helps me cope with labor at the time. 

What helped you labor at home? We have a jacuzzi tub and yoga ball and I'm trying to mentally think through as many other coping strategies as possible. I would love to hear about your experience of working through contractions in your home. TIA!

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Re: Laboring at Home

  • I took a long bath while DH poured water over the parts of me that weren't under water (we didn't have a big tub at the time).  I spent time rocking on the ball and just swaying my hips.  I tried the positions in the Bradley book but I don't remember why I didn't like them.  Basically, music, movement and water. 
  • We had a HB. I planned to labor in the birth tub, but the idea of that was absolutely abhorrant during labor. DH suggested that I rock in our Amish (wooden) rocking chair. It was the best.suggestion.ever! I spent hours doing that.

    I needed something that didn't require much thought/effort during contractions. I couldn't just do nothing. But as long as I rocked I could handle the contractions. I sat there thinking "back and forth, back and forth" as I rocked.

    It sounds odd when I describe it to others, but it worked amazingly well for me. At least, until I started having horrendous back labor. That most likely started at the beginning of transition (I'm not sure because I was only checked once. And then I was 10 cm.). Once the back labor started, the counterpressure DH applied to my back was key. Without that I couldn't have done it. And I do mean counterpressure-I had bruises afterwards. But they were worth it!
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  • image barnwife:
    We had a HB. I planned to labor in the birth tub, but the idea of that was absolutely abhorrant during labor. DH suggested that I rock in our Amish (wooden) rocking chair. It was the best.suggestion.ever! I spent hours doing that.

    I needed something that didn't require much thought/effort during contractions. I couldn't just do nothing. But as long as I rocked I could handle the contractions. I sat there thinking "back and forth, back and forth" as I rocked.

    It sounds odd when I describe it to others, but it worked amazingly well for me. At least, until I started having horrendous back labor. That most likely started at the beginning of transition (I'm not sure because I was only checked once. And then I was 10 cm.). Once the back labor started, the counterpressure DH applied to my back was key. Without that I couldn't have done it. And I do mean counterpressure-I had bruises afterwards. But they were worth it!

     

    I didn't even think of a rocking chair! Thanks for the suggestion

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  • I liked swirling on my exercise ball.  I also had my DH use two tennis balls on my lower back to apply counter-pressure.  Another thing that felt really good was a warm rice sock that my DH rolled up and down my back.  Here's a site that explains how to make it: http://pregnancy.about.com/cs/laborbasics/ht/ricesock.htm It's nice because it stays warm and molds to your back/neck nicely.  It's also easy to take with you to the hospital.  
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  • Mrs07Mrs07 member

    I had the same plan as you and can thankfully report that it worked out wonderfully.

    I would suggest reading the hypnobirthing book and taking a class as well if you're into it.  I did the calm / relaxation thing for a full day before moving on to the shower etc and I'm sure it helped me conserve energy.

    I would strongly recommend getting an experienced doula - mine was putting me into specific labor positions that really shortened my labor, I am convinced.  Just having her there was helpful because she was calm. 

    I put myself in the shower as I progressed, in an out for hours, doula came and suggested some positions both in and outside the shower, then also a deep bath before we went to the hospital.  Make sure both you and your H know how to increase the temp on your water heater and just plan to jack it up as you start heading for the shower or tub.  This is to provide you with warm water for as long as you need, not so you can have super hot water.

    ds born may 2011
  • Mrs07Mrs07 member

    I had the same plan as you and can thankfully report that it worked out wonderfully.

    I would suggest reading the hypnobirthing book and taking a class as well if you're into it.  I did the calm / relaxation thing for a full day before moving on to the shower etc and I'm sure it helped me conserve energy.

    I would strongly recommend getting an experienced doula - mine was putting me into specific labor positions that really shortened my labor, I am convinced.  Just having her there was helpful because she was calm. 

    I put myself in the shower as I progressed, in an out for hours, doula came and suggested some positions both in and outside the shower, then also a deep bath before we went to the hospital.  Make sure both you and your H know how to increase the temp on your water heater and just plan to jack it up as you start heading for the shower or tub.  This is to provide you with warm water for as long as you need, not so you can have super hot water.

    ds born may 2011
  • I just ignored all contractions until I *really* had to pay attention to them. Lazy woman's laboring!
    DS1 - Feb 2008

    DS2 - Oct 2010 (my VBAC baby!)

  • I wasn't planning on laboring at home quite as long as I did (I was in transition on the car ride to the hospital) so most of my comfort items were packed & in the car during labor. I did use my yoga ball a ton, bouncing on it during contractions felt amazing and I was able to rest while sitting on it & leaning forward on the bed. DH knelt behind me & massaged my back with a small rubber ball and we played Hypnobabies tracks. I spent a lot of time in the shower just standing or kneeling under the hot water; I usually did that til the water heater ran out & then went back on the ball.

    Just before we left home I had to unpack my rice eye mask, put it in the microwave & rest it on my lower belly. That felt sooo good. At the birthing center we unpacked our flameless candles & fun music but didn't get a chance to use any other comfort items. We'd brought my yoga ball but at the end I didn't want anything to do with it.

    Belly dancing was the most helpful thing while I was laboring at home & at the end in the birthing center. I'd taken classes with my doula (who was also PG) for free at a local maternity store so I used many of those techniques to relieve pressure & move DD down. She still wasn't engaged when I saw my MW that morning but doing hip circles & shimmies that afternoon/evening helped move her down quickly.

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  • I did 98% of my labor at home and spent 95% of that time on the floor sitting back on my heels. It was the only position that felt good to me despite my feet continually going to sleep. I tried sitting on a ball for a while but felt so unbalanced that I didn't last long. I never tried the shower despite having it suggested by my doula. I guess I found my comfort zone and stuck to it!
  • I too plan on laboring at home as long as possible. I think the yoga ball sounds like a great idea!
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  • I did the rocking thing too - we have a gliding ottoman (that goes with our glider in LO's room), so I knelt on that while leaning on the arm of the couch, face down.  I just rocked back and forth, kind of hunched over.  That and just leaning into DH and swaying were the most helpful positions at home.

    I ended up going in to my OB's office to get checked right around 5cm, so the effort of showering, getting dressed, driving there, and waiting in the waiting room with other patients (mostly pregnant ladies, of course!) for 45 minutes (!!) kept my concentration going and really helped me keep focuses and under control.

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    TTC since 11/05...ectopic pg 4/08...early m/c 6/09...BFP 10/5/09!
    Nora B...June 15, 2010...8lbs, 8oz...Med-free birth!
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    Malcolm...September 21, 2012...8lbs, 6oz...Another med-free birth!
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  • Your labor might be a lot faster than what you expect. I thought I'd labor in the tub or sleep. Nope, after my water broke all I wanted to do was be alone in the bathroom lol. In a matter of hrs I went from 1 cm to complete and made it to the hospital in the nick of time. Good luck :o)
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