Endurance for Labour Classes 1 & 2

During the class, we explored the physical and mental endurance that is required during labour.  We also considered how to use the 'resting moments' to assist this endurance.  

The average labours are now reported as 12-18 hours for first time mothers and 8-12 hours for subsequent labours.  During the class we discussed a 'contraction' - it's strength, length and frequency and how they change as labour progresses.  A contraction lasts approximately 60 secs in established labour; 20 seconds building, 20 seconds at the peak, 20 seconds easing off...followed by a period of rest.

So what can we do to keep our energy stores full?  Research has shown that hydration is so important throughout labour.  Dehydration leads to ineffective contractions, exhaustion, it can even affect heart rate and blood pressure.  Fuel is another way of adding to energy levels.  You may not want to eat a full meal during labour but snacks are a great idea!  For instance, bananas and honey are a great way to get a boost of energy - particularly helpful during the 2nd stage of labour to assist with pushing.  Finally, REST😴 allow yourself time during your pregnancy to explore positions that you can relax in, your 'go to' poses can be so beneficial during labour.  Consider if there are any props (pillows, blankets) that will help you with this.  The familiarity will help with the relaxation too.


The below videos and PDF show positions for endurance, rest and the use of props.  I've created an 'Active Toolkit for Labour' which can support you in discovering what works for you.  Knowing what doesn't work is just as helpful as knowing what does.


"It is an amazing transformation that can take place in people when they find out the strength of birth and what an amazing source of information and inspiration it can be.  It affects your life forevermore" - Ina May Gaskin


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Maternal Sunshine Yoga

Seaford, UK

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