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  • Libby Clapham

Making your labour room a home from home

For birth to go as smoothly as possible it helps to be in a familiar place where you feel safe and attended only by one or two people who you love and trust. Why? Because when you feel safe and "at home" your body more easily produces the hormone Oxytocin - which keeps labour going.

Most of us don't really feel at home in a place we are not familiar with and don't feel in control of. There are lots of reasons for giving birth in hospital or a birth centre but it isn't usually very familiar or a place where we feel in control.

When we move from home to hospital during labour, our bodies are programmed to slow down (or even stop) labour because we aren't in an ideal place for giving birth. (It's helpful to be well on in labour before moving.)

(If we've left it until very late and are near the end the opposite can happen and it can speed everything up and bring on the birth - hence babies born in the car!)

If you're already in hospital because there are complications then the more relaxed, safe and at home you feel the more likely your body will labour as smoothly as is possible for you.

So how to make an unfamiliar labour room into your territory?

  • Make sure the lights are dimmed or curtains drawn.

  • Play some relaxing favourite music.

  • Bring a small familiar thing - a photo perhaps or a soft toy.

  • Bring something that smells of home such as a blanket or pillow.

  • If labour has slowed explore the room: use the bathroom, look behind any curtains hiding equipment, look out of the window.

  • You might want to put a sign on the door asking for quiet because you're hypnobirthing.

All these things help to mark the room as your territory - you are claiming it for yourself for the time that you are there, helping you to feel more at home and in control.

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