Every labor is different, and many women experience a long period of early labor before the harder work of the active phase begins. If you immediately dive into timing every contraction and trying to stay physically active with walking and constant position changes from the first sign of labor it can make it feel like the process is lasting forever. More importantly, you might be exhausted by the time active labor kicks in and you actually need to be doing those things. When you’re only having a small handful of contractions per hour and they aren’t yet strong enough to demand all of your attention, there are lots of things you can do to keep yourself busy and distracted.
- If you’re tired, rest or take a nap. If it is during the hours you would normally be asleep, try to sleep.
- If you’re not tired, do what you would normally be doing at this time of the day or night.
- If you feel like it and your water hasn’t broken, have sex.
- Spend time with your spouse; Cuddle, take a walk, watch a movie, kiss.
- If you have other children, give them some undivided attention.
- Bake a birthday cake.
- Satisfy any nesting urges you have with cleaning and organizing.
- Do a jigsaw puzzle.
- Make sure to eat and stay hydrated. This is critical for the energy you will need later when you don’t feel like eating.
- Take a shower or bath.
- Write love letters to your parents or loved ones you cherish. Then, pop them in the mail.
- Have someone give you a massage.
It can be very tempting to call everyone you know to tell them that you’re in labor during the early phase. Just be aware that calling everyone early on can mean that if you end up having a long labor, you might have people calling you non-stop to ask, “Still haven’t had the baby?” which can be both distracting and disheartening. Long early labors are totally normal and nothing to worry about. It might be better to have your partner make those types of phone calls once things pick up, or better yet, to announce that your baby has arrived!