You've taken your childbirth and parenting classes, prepped your nursery and been showered with gifts from loved ones. One of the last things on your to-do list before baby arrives is to pack that hospital bag! There are lots of great packing lists on Pinterest but I have a few additions that in my experience as a doula are crucial to a more peaceful and enjoyable labor and birth.
Welcome back to the Marathon of Birth, an overview of the stages of labor plus tips & tricks from your favorite Birth Doulas! If you haven't already done so, review Part 1: Early Labor to get a good understanding of how to manage that phase of labor.
Remember that birth has 3 distinct stages: Labor, Pushing, & Birth of the Placenta. The first stage of labor is broken down into 3 parts: Early, Active, and Transition... I know, it's kind of confusing. Today, we'll share all about the Active Phase of labor to better prepare you for your own birth marathon. If you're interested in delving further into the stages of labor, we recommend registering for our Confident Birth series or Weekend Intensive, offered in group & private settings.
If you recall, we compared Early Labor to the first few miles of the marathon where you're finding your stride and own unique rhythm. When active labor hits, you'll begin to tap into your instincts and all the mental and physical training you've accomplished in pregnancy.
The beginning of the labor process can bring a range of emotions. Relief, fear, anxiety, excitement, nervousness... all while wondering if you've done everything you can to prepare. Maybe you're the type of person to double check your hospital bag to make sure you have all you need. Or perhaps you get so overwhelmed with the excitement that you exhaust yourself and need a nap. Rest easy, knowing that all of these responses are normal and to be expected.