5 Top Tips to get into Active Labour

Do you need some hints and tricks on how to get labour moving along? Perhaps things were progressing quite smoothly in pre labour but have now stopped? And you are desperate to get into active labour?  Here are our 5 top tips to get you into active labour…

So, first of all, let’s discuss how you know you were in pre-labour?  Well, pre-labour is the period before labour begins when you may experience irregular uterine contractions (or sometimes called tightenings) which will soften and thin your cervix.  This process is often called effacement.  Pre-labour may last for hours, days or weeks as your baby settles deep into your pelvis.

Here are our top 5 tips for how to get prelabour to develop into active labour…

1.  Nipple stimulation (especially if it’s done by your partner)

Our top pick would be nipple stimulation.  Having your partner stimulate your nipples, helps you feel all lovely on the inside.  That lovely, happy feeling is the hormone Oxytocin.  And getting the Oxytocin flowing is a great way to stimulate active labour!

Oxytocin is the feel good hormone and is a naturally occurring hormone. It’s a shy hormone and likes the dark to come out. Help to stimulate it by waiting for night, or drawing the blinds and diming the lights.  Put on some sweet smelling candles, soft music and get warm and cosy with your partner.

After all, Oxytocin is what got the baby in you to start with and will be what gets the baby out.  Whether that is naturally or by artificially creating it with Picton or Syntocin based drug (used in induction).

Having your partner stimulate your nipples while having a cuddle, kiss or even sex is a great way to stimulate the production of Oxytocin in your body.

Ina May Gaskin
The wise Ina May Gaskin

2.  Squatting

As your baby drops down into your pelvis, squatting can help open your pelvic outlet by as much as 10 percent.  This creates more room for the baby to move down into the birth canal.  A great thing to know to speed up active labour.  The baby’s head pressing against your cervix assist further in creating the flow of Oxytocin which in turn will efface and dilate your cervix.

An added bonus of squatting during pregnancy is that it will strengthen your leg muscles.  Strong leg muscles are exceptionally useful when you are in labour as you may find certain positions the most comfortable that require leg strength!

Another bonus of squatting during pregnancy is that it can ease constipation!  A blessing during the last few weeks of your pregnancy.

3.  Watch a good comedy with your partner and snuggle

Nothing helps the flow of Oxytocin as much as having fun with someone you love deeply.  So why not settle in for a good movie.  Does it need to be a comedy?  Well, no.  But it certainly helps.  Having a laugh is a great way for you to forget your daily stresses and relax.  It is the relaxation that is key.  And feeling happy, safe and secure is a great way to relax.  If you are the sort of person that feels happy, safe and secure and relaxes to a horror movie – then bring on Freddy Krueger!

4.  Go for a short walk if you feel up to it but don’t exhaust yourself

A lot of people think that the best way to induce labour is to walk, climb stairs or other physical activity.  This is, in fact, one of the worst things you can do.  Labour is definitely a marathon, not a sprint.  And running yourself into exhaustion is only going to sap your energy for the big event.

Take it easy and go for a short walk and get some fresh air but only if your body is aching to do so.  Just be careful not to exhaust yourself.  And make sure you rest when you get back from the walk.  You often hear women talk about having pre labour nightly, building for weeks.  Then having two nights of no contractions before the real thing.

This is your body’s way of telling you that you need to rest before the hard work begins.  Your body knows exactly what to do, try to listen to what it is telling you!

5.  Hand express some colostrum

If your partner is at work and isn’t available to help you stimulate Oxytocin with a cuddle, then why not stimulate it yourself by hand expressing some colostrum.

The first milk your body produces is called colostrum.  This begins during pregnancy and continues through to the early days of breastfeeding.  This special milk is yellow to orange in colour and thick and sticky.  Once your baby is born, it is the first milk that he or she will receive and is low in fat and high in carbohydrates, protein, and antibodies to prevent infection.

Another great feature of colostrum is that it is really easy for little tummies to digest.  Its high nutritional concentration means that your little one only needs a small amount to get them through to the next meal.

If you are planning an epidural, why not store some of your colostrum (make sure you follow appropriate protocol and use a sterile container).  Epidurals interfere with the natural release of Oxytocin during labour which is essential to triggering the ‘let down reflux’ to make milk available to your baby.  Having some already expressed will mean your baby can still get this amazing nutrition right after birth!


Hi! Natural Birth and Motherhood is about empowering women who are going through the stages of pregnancy, birth, or motherhood.  Find out more useful information on related topics by clicking on the Blog button below.

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