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  • Writer's pictureJulia Elliott

What to do when Labor Starts

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

So you think labor is here. Yay! But what if this isn't the real thing...

How do you know?!?

Well sometimes we are going about our day and forget to drink enough or forget to rest when we need to. At the end of pregnancy both of those things can bring on Braxton Hicks and what seems like labor.

The way to find out if you are truly in labor is to hydrate! Drink a full glass of water, with a pinch of salt (preferably himalayan salt) for electrolytes. Then change positions.

What does that mean?

If you were resting, get up and move. If you were up and moving, sit or lie down and rest.

If you are truly in labor, the contractions won't stop.


So now you know you're in labor. What do you do?!? Cancel all your commitments? Start walking the house and using your comfort measures?

Now, if you happened to skip early labor, YES! Otherwise, in early labor one of the best things you can do is NOT focus on it. In fact, if you feel comfortable, continue on with your day. What would you be doing this time of day normally? Keep doing it! You will reach a point when you can't continue on with your normal routine, and then you can cancel everything and focus on the task at hand.

If you aren't committed at work or in some other way limited in your options during early labor, here are some things that may set you up for a better labor and birth experience. I will add that it may be a good idea to call in and cancel work or tiring/unpleasant commitments in order to do these things. We want to get the oxytocin and endorphins flowing and reduce any stress hormones!


1. Bake a Birthday Dessert

This can be fun way to spend your early labor. You know that baby is on the way, but not exactly when they will arrive. Baking will keep you on your feet and moving, which is one of the BEST ways to help baby get into a good position in your pelvis. Think about or talk to your baby. If you have older children you can involve them in the process and talk about what they are most excited about with the new baby. Let's get those bonding hormones building!

2. Go on a Date

Yep. You heard me. You may think that the last thing you want to do when labor is coming is plan a day or evening out with your hunny. But hear me out. The same hormones that got the baby in will get the baby out. So do the things that make you feel bonded, happy and safe! Have dinner, go for a walk together, do that things you've been putting off doing together. These hormones build in your system throughout labor. Why not give them a boost at the start?

3. Watch a funny movie or show

Laughter is relaxing. It's releasing. And that's just the kind of thing we want to build the foundation for labor. Don't get too serious! Smile, laugh, release. Allow your face and jaw to melt away tension. Allow joy to enter your heart! Your baby is coming to meet you! Don't forget to move. Between episodes or at commercial breaks, get up and walk for a bit. Or if you have a yoga/birth ball take time to sit and move on it. A figure eight is a great way to get lots of pelvic movement.


There is no one way to do early labor. But one of the best ways you can start your journey is with movement, joy and love surrounding you. Dwell in that sense of safety. Trust that your body knows what to do. And that you don't have to be afraid.

P.S. Typically your doula will want to know when labor starts. So contact your support team as you sense it's the right time for them to support you from afar.


This post is brought to you by the Song of the Week!

This week's song is The Call by Regina Spektor

This song speaks to me of journey and transition. What does it speak to you?

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