Bringing your baby into the world is exciting, joyous, magical and…kinda scary! As a labor and delivery nurse, I’ve learned a lot about childbirth, and I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. Moms are always looking to make labor and delivery easier, so I decided to write this post a few months ago when I saw mom after mom making these common labor mistakes and regretting their choices!
Now, I say this in every single post about labor and delivery, and I truly mean it:
There is no right or wrong way to give birth. And there is no room for shame in labor.
You can have your baby annnnnyyy way you want! But if you’re looking for some ways that may make it easier, keep reading!
These common labor mistakes often present unique challenges to the laboring mom, and are things you probably would not have thought of until labor hits! But I’m a believer in educating and preparing, so I’m going to offer you some advice on things you should not do while laboring to hopefully give you an easy labor and delivery.
Disclaimer: The information in this post is purely for entertainment and is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional. I always adhere to HIPPAA policies, any similarities to yours or anyone else’s story is purely coincidental. Please see my disclosure policy for more information. This post contains affiliate links, meaning if a purchase is made using these links I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products that I know and love.
1) Staying in one position
It is SO important to keep moving during your labor – whether you plan to have an unmedicated birth or an epidural! It keeps your joints and ligaments loose and can allow the baby to move lower into the pelvis.
If you have an epidural, you should switch frequently between laying on your right side, left side, in a reclined position, sitting, or even with just a pillow under one of your hips!
This is SO important, because when your epidural wears off, you will be SO sore if you laid in one spot the whole time.
If your hospital has them available, as your nurse or doula to help you get positioned with a peanut ball. They are great to open up the pelvis and make room for baby!
If you are laboring without pain medication, move in whatever way your body needs! Lay, sit, squat, stand…whatever feels good! Move rhythmically with your contractions and let your body do it’s thing!
I talk about it in every labor post I write, but I loved sitting on a birthing ball. Moving with each contraction was a nice distraction, it took pressure off of my legs and lower back, and helped open up my pelvis and keep my joints relaxed!
2) Being afraid to communicate your needs
Being a patient and giving birth can be kind of…awkward. Especially if you’re used to taking care of others all the time!
Be honest with your team. Do you need more pillows? Water? Heat? Ice? Let them know! They’re there to help you!
3) Eating way too much or not at all
I see this ALL. THE. TIME.
Moms hear HORROR stories about being starving throughout labor, so they feel the contractions starting and eat a huge meal.
Let me tell you, manyyyyy women vomit throughout labor. It’s important to eat small amounts to keep your strength up (if your doctor allows it), but maybe stick with crackers or something bland so you don’t regret it later!
4) Not staying hydrated
Whether it be water, a sports drink, ginger ale, juice, tea…you name it! Sipping fluids throughout labor is super important.
Labor is a WORK OUT, BABY! You have to keep your strength up so you can push your cutie into the world. Designate someone to remind you to drink drink drink.
5) Inviting too many visitors
Did you know that lack of privacy in labor can actually slow labor down?
It’s important to create a space that feels safe and comfortable to you, even if that’s in a hospital!
It may offend some of your friends or family, but you may want to keep the guest list small during labor. 2-3 people is PLENTY, and sometimes even that is too many!
Beforehand, remind your support team to be quiet and respectful, and let you labor without offering unsolicited advice. I see SO many moms question their decisions and their body because their family members are telling them so many different things!
6) Fighting the contractions
I was super guilty of this with both my labors, but it was something that I tried to keep in mind!
When the contraction starts, it’s very easy to tense up and try to “fight” it.
Instead, accept each contraction as it comes, don’t think about the next contraction, and focus on relaxing your body – whether that be with guided imagery, breathing techniques, or movement.
7) Not resting when you can
In between contractions, let your body totally relax. Don’t panic that another contraction is coming, don’t think about how much longer it will be or how much time has passed, just focus on rest.
It’s hard to do, and definitely easier said than done, but it really makes a difference to your mentality and energy levels!
8) Overpacking your hospital bag
This is another huge one!
People get so nervous they won’t have everything that they completely OVERPACK and bring wayyyyy too many things.
What you don’t need:
- A ton of baby outfits (you really only need a going home outfit)
- Bottles and formula (unless you are very specific on which brand you want)
- Underwear (wear the mesh panties they give you — trust me!)
- Medications – the hospital should provide these for you
What you do need:
- Going home outfit for the baby
- Car seat (purchased and installed, not brought into labor room)
- 2-3 comfy outfits for yourself
At the bottom of this post (and in the sidebar) there is a link to download my FREE Ultimate Birth Prep Bundle. Included in the Bundle is a labor AND postpartum packing checklist! Grab your free download so you don’t miss anything!
9) Telling too many people you’re in labor
Before you know it, everyone will be out in the waiting room dying to come in! And as soon as the baby is out, they may wiggle their way in and spoil those first precious moments.
Labor can be LONG. Like, days long sometimes.
When family and friends start texting, “WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE THIS BABY?” and “SEND ME PICS!!!” it puts an unnecessary amount of pressure on you to feel like you have to perform.
Labor is not something to be rushed! Babies come when they want to, and you don’t want everyone pressuring you to hurry things up.
Instead, tell just a few of the most important people in your life. Decide who you want to be with you as a support person (or support people) and ask everyone else to stay home. You may just want a few moments to get to know your baby before everyone else gets their snuggles, and that’s totally OK!
10) Not preparing for what is to come during labor (and postpartum!)
It’s hard to know what you need to prepare for in labor. There’s so many things to read and research, and it’s important to know what you want!
Do you want to have an unmedicated birth? Do you want all of the pain medications they can give you? Do you want delayed cord clamping? Skin to skin? Breast or bottle feeding? What is effacement, station, and dilation?!
You can read all about those things right here on my website, by purchasing baby books (though I honestly never read them…who has time for that?!), or by chatting with your doctor.
Whatever you choose to do, here’s a couple of articles to get help you get started:
- Labor like a Pro: everything you need to know about how to rock your labor!
- The Honest Truth: What to Expect When Bringing Baby Home
- Medical Terms to Know Before You Give Birth
- Breastfeeding 101: advice and information for the first-time mom
- After Baby is Born: What to Expect and How to Prepare
- 7 Myths about Epidurals
Also, do yourself a favor and get your
FREE Ultimate Birth Prep Bundle!
It includes a hospital and postpartum bag checklist, tools for naming your baby, and labor affirmations to coach you through the hardest parts of labor.
Click the photo below to download!
I hope this article gave you some good advice, and helped you prepare for an easy labor and delivery!
You’ve got this, mama. And you’re ready to have a beautiful little baby!
Your comments make my day, so please leave me one below, and always feel free to ask questions or add to the post!