TIPS TO SPEED UP LABOR
‘HOW TO HAVE A FAST LABOR’ is something that every pregnant woman ends up googling at some point in their pregnancy.
Thinking about labor always brings up some intense emotions. It’s one of the craziest things you’ll ever do followed by the most life changing thing that will happen to you. And things can change at the last minute so you never know how it will really go until it’s over.
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Here are the ways to shorten labor– we’ll explain each one in more detail below:
- Exercise throughout your pregnancy
- Drink red raspberry leaf tea
- Use birth affirmations
- Take a prenatal class
- Breathe properly
- Use clary sage oil
- Eat dates
- Sleep more
EXERCISE THROUGHOUT YOUR PREGNANCY
I wasn’t active with my first baby.
By my second pregnancy, I was very active with running and some strength training. I had no desire to let that go and kept up pretty well throughout my second pregnancy.
The difference was NIGHT AND DAY. For my pregnancy and the labor.
My first pregnancy was riddled with injuries, an early mat leave and having a hard time doing anything. The labor was long, hard and I tore while pushing and ended up with stitches.
My second pregnancy was actually somewhat enjoyable! Things weren’t really uncomfortable until the end but even then it was NOTHING like my first. The labor was just under 6 hours from my water breaking to pushing my son out. I did have an epidural (which I loved) and pushing was less than 3 minutes.
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My third pregnancy was much like the first- not too uncomfortable until the end and the labor was just under 4 hours from when I had my first contraction to pushing out my daughter. Pushing lasted 5 minutes!
I am completely attributing the second and third pregnancies to being strong, fit, eating (somewhat) healthy and drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea like a fiend!
Being strong and fit will definitely help you have an easier and fast labor. Your muscles are ready for the marathon ahead and being fit means less chance of injuring yourself during labor.
The American Pregnancy Association lists these benefits to exercising during pregnancy:
- Reduces backaches, constipation, bloating
- May help prevent gestational diabetes
- Improves mood and posture
- Promotes muscle tone, strength and endurance
- Helps you sleep better
Squats are one of THE most beneficial exercises you can do for preparing your body for birth.
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DRINK RED RASPBERRY LEAF TEA
I will sing the praises of Red Raspberry Leaf tea until I’m dead in the ground. This tea is so freaking amazing, I’ll never go through another pregnancy/labor without it!
RRLT contains fragarine which has been known to:
- help tighten and tone the uterus and pelvic muscles
- at the same time, help to relax these muscles which can speed up and ease childbirth
Start with one cup per day in your 1st trimester and build up to three cups per day by your 3rd trimester. (I actually was drinking about 4 cups by the end, if you want to do this as well, please research and consult your physician!)
As if this tea doesn’t do enough for you, it also contains:
Which is why I drink red raspberry leaf tea before, during and after pregnancy for an extra boost of vitamins.
This study shows that women who drink the tea might have less of a chance of needing artificial membrane rupture or a c-section!
RELATED: Signs labor has officially started!
USE BIRTH AFFIRMATIONS
When we fight what’s happening, we are tensing up parts of our body that don’t even need to be tensed up. This can actually slow your labor down.
Don’t try to fight what’s happening. It’s so hard to NOT do this because every inch of your body is in extreme distress and you want to fight that feeling like hell.
It’s going to feel weird to tell yourself to accept what’s happening to you and ride WITH it instead of AGAINST it. But once you do, it will make things a whole lot easier!
RELATED: Signs Labor Is 24-48 Hours Away
TAKE A PRENATAL CLASS
Hilary has been an OB nurse since 2001. She is offering a free online prenatal class that will help to simplify labor and help you to have a relaxing birth.
I did not do this and wish I had. The class I attended at the hospital really didn’t give a lot of in depth information on methods for dealing with pain besides drugs, what would happen if you were induced, or any information on what should/could happen with your baby right after birth. (Had I known I could ask for delayed cord clamping or skin to skin right away before they measured and weighed her, I would have.)
Hilary’s class will empower YOU as a mother and help you to feel confident making informed decisions. You can grab her prenatal class here.
RELATED: Less Obvious Signs of Labor
Breathing properly seems like a no brainer. And, really, it kind of is.
Unless you’re in labor.
My goodness, everything you think you prepared for will go out the window. And if you barely looked at anything and thought you had it covered (like me), you’ll be up sh*t creek.
My nurse during my 3rd labor was almost ready to slap me at one point, yelling, ‘you NEED to BREATHE.’
I completely panicked and almost forgot how to breathe entirely. So put some work in and find labor breathing techniques you can practice and nail down so you aren’t panicked and flailing!
TRY CLARY SAGE OIL
There is some debate over whether or not this works. What Clary Sage definitely DOES do is increase your bodies natural levels of oxytocin. The line of thinking is that if it increases oxytocin, it will help you relax and hasten your labor.
Clary Sage is also thought to increase the intensity of contractions, but again, research is limited.
I have used it to try to induce labor as well as throughout the labor.
For inducing, I mix it with a carrier oil and rub directly on my belly. (Please wait until you are safely past 37 weeks for this.)
During labor, put a drop or two on a cotton ball and inhale. You can also add to a carrier oil and rub on pressure points or your belly! This is the kind I’ve used with all 3 babies.
By eating 6 dates per day for the last 4 weeks of pregnancy you are likely to:
- Go into spontaneous labor (rather than be induced)
- Have a shorter labor
- Have higher cervical dilation upon admittance to the hospital
Definitely worth trying it out! If you’re wondering about how to eat that many dates, check out this recipe for date caramel sauce or throw them in your smoothies to sweeten them up.
I know what you’re thinking.
Cause I haven’t been trying to get more sleep, thank you very much.
There was a study that found women who had inadequate sleep in late pregnancy were significantly more likely to have longer labors and require c-sections.
Don’t let this stress you out even more, make it a reason to spritz your pillow with lavender or buy that pregnancy pillow you’ve been eying up. You can get this pregnancy pillow for $50 off using my code NEWMOMMA20.
These seriously helpful pregnancy sleep tips will have you sleeping in no time!
Every woman wants to have that super magical, fast and easy labor. The truth is, there are SO MANY factors at play when you go into labor.
Whether it’s your first or fourth baby, your age, activity level or just what your baby decides to do- anything can happen.
WHAT CAUSES FAST LABOR?
There are a few factors that can cause a fast labor to happen:
- A strong uterus that contracts with a lot of strength
- A birth canal that knows what to do
- A history of fast labors
- A smaller than average baby
WHAT SHOULD I EAT FOR EASY LABOR AND DELIVERY?
Start preparing for labor during pregnancy by eating foods that can help speed up labor! Here are some suggestions:
- Green leafy vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Sweet potatoes
Green Leafy Veggies
Greeny leafy vegetables contain an plethora of vitamins and nutrients like magnesium, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamins A, K and E.
According to this study if you eat 6 dates per day in the last 4 weeks leading up to labor and delivery, you’re giving yourself a good chance to:
- Go into spontaneous labor vs induction
- Have a higher cervical dilation at admission to the hospital
- Have a shorter first stage of labor- whoo hoo!
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds contain high levels of vitamins (B6, folate), minerals (calcium, magnesium, iron) and proteins.
DOES WALKING MAKE LABOR EASIER?
There actually haven’t been any studies conducted on pregnant woman who walked around during labor and those who didn’t. There was a study done where 30% of the women thought that walking brought on labor faster but there were no clear results.
That being said, walking around in early labor and in between contractions is thought to make labor easier. This is because gravity is helping nudge baby down and may speed up the process.
WHAT IS THE QUICKEST LABOR TIME?
If it’s your first baby, labor lasts, on average, 12-24 hours. Subsequent pregnancies are usually shorter.
The fastest labor ever recorded? This mom delivered in less than 2 minutes!
IS FAST LABOR GENETIC?
No one knows for sure if rapid labor or precipitate labor is genetic. It’s thought that if you have a mom or sister who had a fast labor, you might too but it’s not a guarantee.
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There is never a guarantee as to how your labor will go- I’ve had 3 extremely different experiences and that’s pretty normal!
I wish you a positive birth experience, whatever that may be. Hope for a fast and easy labor and prepare for a long and hard one and you’ll come out okay ❤