7 tricks to an easier labour

Prepping well ― from staying fit to snacking smartly ― is your ticket to a calmer labour…


As a first-time mum-to-be, odds are, you’ll lie awake at night conjuring up visions of a 48 hour-long labour that requires all manner of medical intervention. That said, pushing a human being out of your body is no joke — that’s why it’s called labour!
         But you can take various steps to boost the chances that it’ll go smoothly for you, from the minute you feel your first contraction until you hold your precious little bundle in your arms.

1.  Be informed

Read up on what to expect during the process, sign up for a birthing class (either at your maternity hospital or take a private one), and listen to positive birth stories. Familiarising yourself with the different stages can lessen your labour anxiety. Angelyn Seet, childbirth educator, doula and director of ParentLink, also suggests hiring a doula who will act as your “birth companion” — besides offering expert advice and emotional support, she will physically assist you before, during and after childbirth.

2. Keep fit

Prenatal exercises not only help strengthen your muscles, these will also build up endurance for labour and birth, points out Seet. “Some exercises like pelvic rocking in prenatal yoga, help optimise baby’s position to aid easier birthing.”
         Regular Pilates sessions will give you a strong core that will not just help you push, it will ease and shorten your labour experience. Once your gynae gives you the green light, you can attend a prenatal workout class or do some light swimming or walking.

Prenatal exercises not only help strengthen your muscles, these will also build up endurance for labour and birth.

3. Have a plan of action...

You won’t want to waste time or energy stressing over things or have to make every small decision once your labour is well underway. So, write a plan detailing exactly how you want your birth to go.        
         At around 32 weeks, discuss your detailed birth plan with your gynae, advises Dr Kelly Loi, an obstetrician and gynaecologist at Health & Fertility Centre for Women. “Include details about pain relief during labour including your desire for an epidural, episiotomy or perineal tear, whether you would want to save cord blood, if your husband wants to help cut the cord and if you wish to breastfeed.”
         Some doctors even have a birth-plan template, as well as their own preferences, so make sure you discuss your wishes at length to ensure that both you and your doctor are in sync. Seet also suggests discussing post-delivery issues such as bringing home your placenta and how you feel about vaccines, metabolic testing and hearing tests.
         Don’t forget to bring along your birth plan, so that you can show it to the midwives who will be looking after you on D-day. Seet notes, “Some hospitals such as the National University Hospital is making it a rule to submit all birth plans to the delivery-suite nurses by 34 weeks.”
         Also discuss likely scenarios with your husband. Will he be able to take time off near your due date and accompany you to the hospital? What if you go into labour when you’re alone? Will he come and get you or should he meet you at the hospital? Rope in family members to be on standby as well.

Continue reading for ways to smooth your labour’s progress.