Moving around and keeping upright helps on so many levels during labour. What I mean by upright is basically staying out of bed! So walking, sitting on the birthing ball, kneeling on all fours; either on the bed or on pillows on the floor, kneeling and holding the back of the bed, standing beside the bed while using the bed to support your upper body and any other position you find comfortable. Allow your birth partner to support you. Swaying on or off the ball can feel good too. You can change position as often as you like; your body will let you know what's best!! Of course the gravity helps your baby move more easily through the birth canal, your pelvis will be more open and larger, and you will cope with labour contractions much better. Even if you are attached to the baby monitor, it is usually no problem to monitor the baby while in any of these positions. So be sure to ask your midwife if you can get out of the bed! I know that sounds a little silly but you wouldn't believe the number of Mums that have said to me "I never knew I was allowed out of bed when I went to the labour ward". (Epidural pain relief is the exception). So get moving, you can do it!!
Your newborn can imitate your facial movements. Even in the first few minutes after birth, your baby can see your face from 12 inches away. So spend time looking, smiling and talking with your baby from the moment after birth. Over the first few days and weeks observe your baby and how you are communicating with each other. Try This!! Hold your baby close (12 inches away) and allow your baby time to explore your face, notice how absorbed your baby becomes. Protrude you tongue and wait and see! Your baby, after concentrating hard may protrude his tongue to mimic you. Try this with other expressions such making an ‘O’ shape with your mouth. As your baby grows, he will move his mouth to mimic you when you are talking to him. So speak to your baby nice and close to allow him to see and explore your face as you do. Enjoy talking with your baby, your baby will love it :-)
From the beginning of labour, be sure to drink plenty. At first drink water, juice or isotonic drinks. Keep hydrated as labour is like running a marathon!! As you progress into active/established labour, you must continue to drink! Water is probably best as sometimes you may feel a little nauseous and if you are in hospital they may only allow water. Have a bottle with a flip top in your labour bag and take a drink after every contraction. A job for your birth partner!! it is so important not to become dehydrated as you will feel terrible but your baby will also be feeling the negative effects. So stock up on the water!