My Tricks for An Incredibly Short Labor
I had an incredibly short labor! I spent my whole pregnancy mentally preparing for the ‘typical first labor’ – 18 hours or more! My mother was induced and had a 24-hour labor. My mother in law was in labor for more than a day. Our doula told us about a 3.5 DAY LONG labor she assisted last year…
From “Oh I think that’s a real contraction!” to “It’s a Girl!” my labor was just 5 hours 50 minutes.
Yep. My whole FIRST labor was less than 6 hours long.
I pushed 4 times.
The story is actually a bit crazy, it was so fast she nearly showed up in the car – but that’s a whole different post.
So What Did I Do Differently?
I prepared! I talked to everyone and read everything I could about labor. Mothers, doulas, doctors, midwives, yogis – anyone who a had an experience or story. I heard all sorts of interesting theories…. Several kept popping up and many even had some research backing them up!
My Natural Tricks I Used To Shorten Labor
The Natural Squat
I’ve been a fan of the natural squat for a few years. Before couches and chairs, most people actually squatted – they didn’t sit on their butt!
If you haven’t seen Ima May Gaskin’s TedTalks or read her work look her up! She believes that doing squats and squatting instead of sitting are one of the most important things any pregnant woman can do. And I agree!
Ina May suggests around 300 squats a day, which is a few more than I felt like doing. But I did work hard squatting as much as possible every day. I did 10-15 squats every time I went into the kitchen. Some people do 10 every time they pee or brush their teeth, ect…. Just whenever you can several times throughout the day.
Not only does this tone your pelvis muscles, it also helps put your hips and spine into better alignment – super important when you are trying to get a baby out through there.
Bonus : I’m pretty sure this is a major reason why I never had the “sneeze and pee” issue everyone talks about after birth. Awesome pelvic floor!
Pregnant Lady Tea (aka Red Raspberry Leaf)
Starting in my 2nd trimester, I started drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea every day. This herb is used to tone the uterus. I’ve seen a few recommendations for this tea so I decided it couldn’t hurt to try.
I bought it in bulk from my favorite herb store (it’s cheaper, super fresh & you’ll have ton!). I mix it with Stinging Nettle and lemon and think it’s really tasty – it’s similar to a light black tea in taste. This was awesome for me because I typically drink tea all day (since I don’t do coffee or soft drinks) and this is caffeine free!
And it certainly worked for me! My contractions were super efficient!
Walk & Bounce
Let gravity do some work! Standing up causes your baby to sink down! I was working as a nurse until 38 weeks so until I got plenty on time on my feet. After I started my leave I took a 2-3 mile walk every day. Walking late in pregnancy helps get baby in the right position and puts pressure on your cervix. Pressure on your cervix will help to thin it out and dilate before labor even starts.
If you start labor at 3 centimeters dilated and 80% effaced (thinned) that could be several hours of labor you skip!
Bouncing (gently) and rolling your hips on a balance ball can cause the head on the baby to press again the cervix. This releases hormones that thin the cervix – but be aware too many circles can also start labor!
I almost went too far with this one because I didn’t realize how far along I was until my body starting trying to push – so then we had to hurry! But typically staying home where you are comfortable and feel safe is the best thing you can do in early labor to progress.
Stress, fear, and even bright lights can slow down or stop labor. Being in a place you are comfortable helps you to relax your muscles and let your contractions do their work.
Husbands, partners and moms are great – but they are not always the best people to help you relax and focus while you are in pain. Having a doula who is trained in pain management, relaxation techniques and who can tell you everything is fine and normal is AMAZING. The more relaxed you are, the faster this thing will go!
Don’t have a doula or haven’t heard about these AMAZING women? Check out DONA Internation’s site for info and to find a certified doula near you!
Now to be honest, my birth was a little tooooo short. I would not have minded walking casually into the birth center and maybe even have had a conversation with the midwife before pushing.
But I am very grateful that I did not have a day of contraction or hours of pushing! My birth was as natural as you can get – I didn’t have to do a thing to move it along or help her out.
Want more pregnancy info? Check these out!