Contracting without being in active labor can be exhausting, and if it goes on for a long time, it can be discouraging as well. Long labor, or prodromal labor, can take its toll not only on the body, but on your mind and spirit as well.
You should try to relax as much as possible, taking long hot showers and/or baths. Taking long walks with loved ones to let gravity do its job is also a great way to deal with long labor. Remind yourself that this is just their body’s way of getting your cervix ready to give birth to your baby.
Long labor can last from a couple of days to a few weeks. remind yourself that if you try to stay awake the whole time, you will be exhausted when the baby decides to make his/her appearance. As hard as it may be, you should take the chances you have to take cat naps. Even if you only manage an hour or two of sleep at a time, it will do a LOT of good.
Staying hydrated and well-fed is extremely important at this point. Some of the signs of early labor are hunger and thirst, so ignoring these needs won’t be a real possibility. Have your support team to keep your water bottle nearby and full, and to have plenty of healthy snacks on hand.
Distracting yourself in between labor augmentation activities and rest. This means run some errands, go see a movie, watch some TV, do some more laundry or cleaning, work on a craft project… anything to take your mind off of the clock.
And most importantly, be patient. The baby won’t stay in there forever. Trust that your body knows what it’s doing.
Many birthing individuals worry about who will be able to stay with them and support them if the labor continues to linger for hours and hours. By hiring a doula team, and having their birth team in place, our clients who experience long labors know they never have to worry about being without support. We are there from the moment they call us to come until after the baby has arrived.
A long labor doesn’t have to feel like the end of the world with the right support team.