By Livia Gamble
It’s a question many women want to know: exactly how long will labour be?
And while every woman’s birth experience is different, that doesn’t mean you can’t ask if there’s anything you can do to make bringing baby earthside quicker.
Speaking to Tell Me Baby for our TMB TV series, Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond, Tylah McConnell, who is a midwife based in Sydney, says that while wanting to know how long labour will be is a “very logical way to approach it. Unfortunately, it (labour) is not a logical process at all.”
“Ask any doctor or midwife. You can never have any expectations because every woman’s different. And just when you think you’ve got it and you think something’s going to happen, the complete opposite will happen,” she says.
That said, she does have some tips for the type of environment women should give birth in.
“You should be giving birth in the same environment that you can see this baby in, that is comfortable, dark, dim and full of love.
“It should be a really intimate time with you and your partner – it should be massaging, whispering and soft touches.
“One thing I absolutely love to do in labour is talk about when the couple met, how they met, the first time they said, ‘I love you’ – getting these hormones going and looking at this as a really positive, intimate and connecting experience, rather than this fearful, terrifying experience. That’s going to make it go a lot quicker.”
How you look at contractions could also make a difference.
“Another thing I like to say is you should look at the contractions as an interesting sensation that’s going to bring baby out versus something that’s going to cause you pain,” says Tylah. “They’re very different energies.”
Lastly, Tylah says, physically, the following may (or may not) help shorten labour.
“There are some things that can shorten it physically: being mobile can help shorten it, expressing breast milk, nipple stimulation and relaxing as much as possible is everything.
“Let your body work for you, not against you.”
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