My clients often want to start labour at home, and in most cases they will have been told by their midwives to stay at home until their contractions are five minutes apart, lasting at least a minute and have been consistent for an hour.
Unfortunately, birthing people aren’t given much guidance on HOW to labour at home.
And it’s a pretty daunting concept, right? Within our society we already view labour as a thing that most often happens in hospital under the care of your medical provider. Now, you’re halfway through your pregnancy and being told you should aim to stay at home as long as possible.
This has become even more of a discussion point during the COVID19 pandemic, now that partners are being restricted from hospital until you are in ‘active labour’. I want people to feel more confident about those early stages in labour. It is absolutely possible to start labour at home, with the comfort of your familiar surroundings and the presence of your birth partner. It’s even possible to enjoy it.
Yes, I said that. It’s possible to enjoy labouring at home.
Labour can be intense, all-consuming, and a monumental moment in your life. Preparing for it is a bit like knowing there is a race you’ll be entering but you haven’t been told when it starts. You know it’s a good idea to prepare for it, but maybe you’re not sure where to start, or it seems like such a big thing that you already feel like it’s beyond you. It’s not! Sometimes, a little bit of help at the right time can make all the difference.
As a childbirth educator and doula I know there are two incredibly important parts to feeling satisfied about your birth.
Every labour has a toolkit to help it along. These can vary hugely and are incredibly personal. A doula would help you build your toolkit along the way, but it’s absolutely possible to create your own too. The trick is to find the things that you feel will help you feel safe, comfortable, calm and relaxed.
Here are some of my favourites tools, but there are literally unlimited choices here. For my second child I found that singing under my breath was the most incredible way to focus and relax! Sometimes a person might discover hypnobirthing is incredibly reassuring, other times it might be physical aids that help bring that element of calm.
Each of these are tools you can use at home and at the hospital. Many of them you can even continue to use during the car drive!
To learn more about any of the labour aids mentioned, it is recommended to undertake some childbirth education. Taking a workshop on labour and birth is a fantastic way to feel reassured about your options and ways to manage during the labour. There are many options for childbirth education out there, and it is worthwhile finding one that resonates with you.
And remember, you might have things lined up that during labour you decide are definitely not what you want. Go with the flow! Find the things you enjoy and forget about the rest. It’s also very likely that, in the moment, you will come across your own ways to manage labour.
If you’d like to find out more about the RosyBirths Birth Preparation Workshops, feel free to browse through my Childbirth Classes.
Óisín Schots of RosyBirths
is a certified Doula and Childbirth Educator,
providing virtual workshops on
- Birth Preparation -
- Early Parenting -
-Breastfeeding & Postpartum Support -
As a doula and childbirth educator, my interests can vary between anything that ranges from conception right up to growing with your children.