My Labour Has Started! What Do I Do & When?

You’ve done the course and focused on the all important practice. Your baby is on his way now, so how should you use your hypnobirthing techniques? What do you do when?


The good thing about hypnobirthing is that there are no rules. You have learned a toolbox of techniques to pick and choose from. Some you will likely prefer to others and find them more relaxing and beneficial.


Early Labour:


You may wake in the night noticing your waters have gone. Many midwives say ‘don’t wake your partner, let them rest’ – I’m not sure any woman has ever done this 😀 (however it is actually quite a good idea as you’re more likely to potentially be able to go back to sleep if you don’t wake them up).


If you can, go back to sleep.  Exciting as it is, labour is usually quite a slow, long process. If you cannot sleep perhaps have something to eat, a bath then curl up in bed, warm and dark (use an eye mask if needed) and have your partner read out one of the scripts. If you’re lucky you could fall asleep, if not, you will feel grounded and calm and you can just rest.


Once awake, or if you’re unable to fall asleep, try to carry on business as usual for as long as possible. So if it’s the middle of the night put on one of your MP3s and rest with your eyes shut and your phone off.


If it’s daytime and surges are still mild and infrequent, go out for a walk or for something to eat. Put on a box set, something that will make you laugh. Eat, drink, bounce on your birth ball. Go for a walk but also rest so you don’t tire yourself out.


Consider making a meal for your return. Tidy up so you return to a clear house. You may think these suggestions sound crazy, but for most women surges are very mild in early labour and you’d be far better off distracting and ignoring for as long as is possible.


Don’t worry about timing the surges until they are requiring all your focus and you don’t want to talk through them. Have your positive affirmations MP3 or one of the other MP3s playing in the background. Their familiarity will be comforting to you.


The light touch massage or one of the other massages you learned may be good now. You might like your partner to read you a script. And you can never have too many baths or snacks.


Active Labour:


Once things are in full flow you may like to start your breathing. Massage could be of interest, equally not! Your partner can now start to time your surges – there are many apps out there to help with this if that’s easier.


Words of encouragement and perhaps the ‘rapid relaxation’ for in between surges to get rid of any building tension and adrenalin quickly.


Time to go in:


Earphones at the ready and MP3 on in the car/taxi. If your partner can sit with you in the back all the better. They can use one of the anchors such as the hand/arm stroke which you have practiced. If it’s bright outside bung some sunglasses on and if you don’t want the MP3 you can always use ear plugs if you want to shut out the world.


Arrive in hospital & meet your midwife. Partners will ensure your birth plan gets read. Yes, we all know they’re not set in stone – read more on that here, but they should still get read and your ideal preferences taken note of.


Get all the lights off, listen to a whole script from your partner or put a MP3 on. All of these things will ground you as you have listened and practiced with them so much antenatally. Just hearing your partner in their familiar voice saying words you know so well will relax & calm you.


Lower the bed and use it as a prop to lean on whilst sitting on a birth ball. Your breathing will be of great use now.




This part of labour can feel intense for many women and it’s very usual to have feelings of self doubt now. Remember it’s the shortest part though and the co-breathing technique you learned will be useful in between surges now, as will the ‘rapid relaxation’ technique.


Time to meet your baby:


Once you’re ready to breathe/push your baby out keep those lovely oxygen fuelled breaths coming, sending your breath downwards to nudge your baby out. Consider your position and remember how the pelvis looked when a woman was flat on her back, how much space was restricted and how the power of gravity & around 28% of room in the pelvis was not utilised in this position.


Now your baby has finally arrived, darkness, skin to skin, keeping warm, emptying your bladder and being upright will help the placenta to come out easily.


Postnatally you can continue to use your breathing techniques – being able to relax at will just by going within is a fabulous tool to have learned!


If you would like to discover just how practical and useful hypnobirthing is for women and their partners get in touch for a chat.


All the best x