What to do in early labor - rest or move? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 11 Old 04-01-2009, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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I thought I remembered learning that in early labor, you want to keep moving. Walk, do things around the house, keep active until you are sure you really are in labor. If labor stalls, get moving again.

But I've read other threads now that say you should rest to conserve your energy for the entire labor & birth. That makes sense too.

So which is it?

Or is it just that you want to keep active until you are certain you are in active labor - & ctrx are continuing regularly? THEN you rest? Is that it?
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#2 of 11 Old 04-01-2009, 11:13 AM
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Personally, I would rest until you are sure you are in active labor.

A few births ago, I was in early labor following a membrane sweep. By evening, contractions were like 7-9 minutes apart (I can't remember) but weren't getting any closer or worse, etc. I kept walking in circles around my kitchen in an effort to keep it going (this was at 9 pm). I was antsy about it and called the OB. His advice was to go to bed, because I might wake up in active labor in the morning. He was right on. I was in active labor by around 3 am, and I was really glad I had had at least some sleep.
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#3 of 11 Old 04-01-2009, 12:35 PM
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I vote rest too. My water broke without any warning (no contractions) in the evening. My midwife said "go to bed!" figuring labor would start overnight. It didn't really. So I was walking like a mad woman the next morning to get labor going (also using the breast pump - ouch!). Whenever I stopped moving the light contractions I was having stopped, so I convinced myself that I had to pace around the house nonstop. (Crazy pregnant woman moment.) Midwife called to check on us, DH told her what I was doing, and she convinced us both that I needed to just lay down for a while. So I took a nap and BAM! An hour later or so, active labor, just like that.

So very long story short, had I just rested in the morning, labor probably would have started on it's own sweet time anyway. I think the real moral here is listen to your body. If it feels right to walk, walk. If it doesn't feel right to be active and doing so doesn't seem to be doing any good, don't.

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#4 of 11 Old 04-01-2009, 12:36 PM
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I do whatever I feel like at the time. Usually that means I alternate between activity and rest. If I'm trying to figure out if it's baby time or just more practice, I'll change what I'm doing. For example, if I've been having lots of uterine activity while walking around, I'll rest for awhile and see if they keep coming.

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#5 of 11 Old 04-01-2009, 02:59 PM
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Last time I moved but this time I will rest. I think I was anxious to move things along but afterward I realized that if I really am in labor, nothing is going to stop it and I might as well get the rest I will need for game time

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#6 of 11 Old 04-01-2009, 03:08 PM
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I say rest. I wish I had with my last one. Instead I went for walks and kept going to get things moving more and ended up exhausted after a 2 day labor and 2hrs of pushing without the energy to do anything but moan in pain until they finally did a c/s. I really wish I'd rested when I had the chance.

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#7 of 11 Old 04-01-2009, 04:14 PM
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I say, depends. The advice in early labor, as I understand it, is really more about "go about your business" - in other words, don't sit around timing contractions every 12 minutes and making yourself crazy trying to do relaxation techniques to handle contractions, because then you'll just end up going to the hospital way too early. Go shopping, walk, bake cookies or whatever to distract yourself. However, that's assuming its daytime and you are well rested. If its night-time and/or you are very tired, your best bet in that early time may be to rest and build up strength for what's to come.

Once contractions can't be ignored any longer, then yes - lots of movement to get things going and keep the momentum strong. Although, since I used Bradley, I alternated walks and squats with nice restful side-lying relaxation.
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#8 of 11 Old 04-01-2009, 04:16 PM
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#9 of 11 Old 04-01-2009, 04:19 PM
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Figure out what feels right. Generally, I think resting, so you have energy later is a good idea...but your body may tell you something else. If you try to rest and find that you feel the need to jump up and do things...do that. Just my opinion, of course, but I think listening to your body in labour is always a good idea.

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#10 of 11 Old 04-01-2009, 04:50 PM
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I do whatever my body tells me to do. With DD1 I had to move around, with DD2 I wanted to rest. It worked out well both times.

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
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#11 of 11 Old 04-01-2009, 05:01 PM
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I wish I would have rested. I was in labor for several days by the end of it all and had very little rest because I was so excited and wanted to be active to get it going. Oops! Not smart. Next time I will sleep whenever I can!
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