Managing Active Labor

During active labor, mothers find that changing their activity and position as desired helps them to remain comfortable. This may be due to two factors. First, it prevents over stressing one or two muscle groups by varying the way you hold your body. Secondly, it allows you to respond to changes in the way your body feels, which may be caused by the movement of the baby through the pelvis.

Although the desire for food may disappear, it is important to stay well hydrated. Dehydration will decrease the amount of work your muscles are able to do with each contraction, and it will decrease your ability to handle the stress and contractions.

Some women find that making noise, called vocalization, with contractions helps to keep them relaxed during the contractions. Many women also find that tuning out the world around them, sometimes called “going inside yourself,” helps them to stay relaxed and handle contractions more effectively.

Most women will develop some form of pattern or ritual during active labor. This means that she will repeat the same responses to contractions for several contractions in a row. An example of a ritual may be walking in a circle between contractions; as the contraction begins she takes a deep breath and begins to moan; she leans over on her support person until the contraction is done; then she walks in a circle again until the next contraction begins. There appears to be some comfort in repeating what worked from the previous contraction.