8. Get moving> Don’t take your labor lying down. Upright positions—standing, walking, kneeling, sitting, squatting and slow dancing—use gravity to help move the baby down and out. “Sometimes, getting the baby into the pelvis is like fitting a key into a lock,” Hartley says. “You need to do a little jiggling.”
Hartley’s solution: “Rocking back and forth on your hands and knees may get the baby into position.”
9. Get wet> Early in labor, a warm bath is a blessing. Later, the warmth and weightlessness are more of a miracle. If you have access to a tub during any portion of your labor, run—roll, if you have to—and take the plunge. (Be sure to get your doctor or midwife’s approval before doing so; because of the risk of infection, some doctors frown on bathing if a woman’s water has already broken.)
If a soak isn’t possible, take a warm shower instead. Just be careful; the combination of your balance already being off, contractions and a slippery surface could lead to a fall.
10. Be your own advocate> Labor undoubtedly transforms you, but it won’t make you love tapioca, New Age music or the sight of your in-laws as you breathe through a contraction. Friends and relatives may press these and other suggestions on you before or during labor, but don’t feel as if you have to go along with them. Sure, remain open-minded and receptive, but above all, honor yourself. You don’t know how your labor will unfold, but you do know your likes and dislikes, your preferences and tendencies, your hopes and principles. It’s your body, your baby and your labor. Stick to your guns.