If you think an American mother finishing her online psychology exam while in labour is crazy, well quite frankly it is. However, sometimes there is a lot of time between when the first contraction starts and your baby’s head is crowning, especially if it’s your first birth. Here are some ideas for killing time during a long pre-labour.
1. Get organised
With my second baby, we had literally moved into a new house the day before I went into labour so there was so much still to organise and my husband was at work. So in between timing contractions, I put away clothes in wardrobes and waited for a maintenance man to install the oven (he seemed quite freaked out that I was in labour). So if there’s stuff you still haven’t done yet, like finish setting up the nursery or put your out-of-office email message on, and it’s going to help you later on, then go for it.
You’re about to give birth and then care for a newborn who will need feeding every couple of hours, so it’s safe to say the road ahead is going to be exhausting. May as well store some snooze reserves now because you’re going to need as much energy as possible later on! This might only be possible, of course, if you’ve been induced and are waiting for labour to start, or if your contractions aren’t very painful.
3. Chow down
A friend of mine went out to dinner with her husband when her contractions started with her second child. At the time I had no kids and thought she was crazy but now I get it. She knew she was in for a long haul and wanted to fuel up for the task ahead with her favourite meal, distract herself and have a last minute date night before she had another newborn. With my first labour I sent the husband for Maccas while waiting for things to progress and the second time around we walked down the road from the hospital for a meal at the closest eatery. That one was a bit more difficult as I was only able to eat in between the contractions (which were pretty strong by then).
Read more about labour:
- Vaginal examinations aren’t the only way to tell how your labour is progressing
- So, what exactly is Braxton Hicks and how do I know I’m not in labour?
- 10 ways to manage pain and discomfort during labour
4. Watch a movie
Whether you’re at home or in the hospital, there’s nothing like a good rom-com or thriller to take your mind off painful contractions! Comedy is just the ticket, all that laughing may just bring on labour faster! Just whatever you do don’t watch a movie that involves childbirth – especially if this is your first time having a baby!
5. Play a game
With my first son the game Angry Birds had only just come out and so my husband and I amused ourselves for quite a while taking turns playing it on his phone. That was until the contractions got really intense and I couldn’t focus. Unfortunately, he was so engrossed in getting to the next level he wouldn’t stop playing it so I had to threaten to throw the phone out the window!
6. Write a letter
With each of my three children, while I was in pre-labour or just before I had my caesarean, I wrote a letter to them for their baby books. I talked about what we thought their name would be and how excited I was to meet them and see what they looked like, and how they were finally on their way. It was a nice way to distract me but also it helped make the pending birth so much more exciting and meaningful.
7. Last minute shopping
Probably not the best idea to hit the mall in person (no one wants Westfield as their child’s official place of birth after all). However, a little online shopping can’t hurt – especially if you’ve still got a few baby items you need. Just be careful not to let your hormones take over so you end up with ten pairs of Jimmy Choo’s or a diamond encrusted rocking horse! Although you’re pregnant right, so who’s going to judge you?!
But don’t get too comfortable
Of course, it’s important to remember that not all labours are long and therefore you should never assume you have a lot of time once contractions start. Every birth is completely unique, and let’s face it, anything can happen. So at the first sign of a contraction or your waters breaking, ring the hospital immediately and they’ll advise you what to do. Only then, if you find yourself twiddling your thumbs, will you find yourself want to put some of the above ideas into action.
What did you do to fill in time or distract yourself when you were in pre-labour? Share your stories with us on our Facebook page!