10 Life-Saving Tips When You’re in Labor for the First Time

Relieve labor pain if you’re a first-time mom.

Maybe you’ve heard horror stories.

Maybe you’ve watched too many ‘real life’ birth reality shows.

Or maybe you’re just doubting your own strength.

If you’re freaking out about the pain of giving childbirth for the first time, you’re in the right place. I’ve rounded up 10 life-saving tips to help you cope when you’re in labor.

You can start using some of these tips right now to help you prepare for labor. And you can keep some ideas on standby for when the ‘big day’ arrives.

Hang in there, mama-to-be. You got this!

Oh and if you know you’re going to have a C-section, make sure to check out my post on C-section recovery tips to help you enjoy your new baby.

Before I get into this post, I want to let you know: I am not a medical professional and this should not be taken as medical advice. Although lots of women have found these tips to relieve pain, each birth is different and so they may not work for you.

And if you are a planner, make sure you think about your postpartum recovery. This online course was a lifesaver for me when I was sleep deprived and couldn’t leave the house with twins!

The Postpartum Cure

Click here to find out more!

And to help you with your labor for the first time, here are some pain relief lifesavers for you mama!

1. Try Some Breathing Exercises

How can breathing help with labor pains?

I know you might be sceptical.

But some simple breathing techniques really can relieve pain during labor.

And as an added bonus, when you focus on your breathing you’re also distracting your mind from those contractions. Double win!!

My Natural Baby Birth has an awesome guide to correct – and incorrect – breathing techniques in labor.

But wait!

There is another breathing exercise that can help you cope in labor.

I got this tip from my friend Lois over at Foxglove Avenue. She raves about this simple ‘breathing colors’ vizualisation exercise.

Close your eyes and listen to the video – it’s narrated by a woman with a cute British accent! Once you’ve nailed the technique you can use it in labor or anytime you’re stressed or anxious.

I’m going to try this one next time I visit the dentist!

2. Listen to Music

Here’s another lifesaving way to cope with pain during labor – music!

We all know that music can relax us in stressful situations. But a recent study showed that music can actually relieve pain during labor. Pregnancy has all the details of the study.

Playing music in the delivery room has the added bonus of drowning out those irritating hospital sounds – beeping machinery, noisy neighbors and the coming and goings of hospital staff.

Wondering where to start choosing your birthing playlist? This post has some incredible tips from a mom of four.

3 Create a Calm Environment

Creating a calm birthing environment can help keep you calm.

And when you’re calm, your body can produce the hormones needed to keep labor moving and get you through it.

If you’re planning a homebirth, you’ll be able to plan your surroundings to the smallest detail.

But is it possible to create create a calm environment in a hospital room?


Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Play music to block out all those irritating hospital sounds
  • Use the same essential oils you’d use at home
  • Dim the lights
  • Ask hospital staff to be mindful of how much noise they make in non-emergency situations
  • Wear your own clothes instead of a hospital gown
  • Use your own pillows and blanket
  • Bring some photos to put round the room
  • Put your phone away.

4. Distract Yourself

It’s very exciting when you start to feel those first contractions.

But don’t get too excited yet, mama – first time labor can last a long time!

And in those early stages of labor, one lifesaving tip is simple distraction.

One friend of mine was determined to clean through early labor. She distracted herself for a while – and she had the cleanest baseboards ever!  Double win!!

If you’re looking for other ways to distract yourself in labor, Lisa from Miracle Maker Mom has an awesome list to help you.

5.  Use Affirmations

We all know how powerful our words and thoughts are, right?

So give yourself a pep talk with some reassuring, and confidence-inspiring affirmations.

Take your time to choose some affirmations that really speak to you and practice them ahead of ‘the big day’ for maximum impact.

Here’s an awesome list of 21 birth affirmations to get you started.

And if you prefer a more badass affirmation, check out this list – fair warning, there is some bad language.

6.  Change Your Thinking

Giving birth has to be painful, right?

We’ve seen the movies and heard the birth horror stories.

But there are lots of stories of women birthing comfortably and even pain-free.

Change your thinking about what labor is like by watching inspiring videos on YouTube, like this one.

And this one. And search for pain free birth stories to read, like this one.

And this one.


Changing your mindset can be so powerful – instead of dreading contractions, you’ll be welcoming them!

7. Change Your Position

We know now that one of the worst positions for giving birth is lying on your back.

So get walking, squatting, leaning over, and sitting. Move around and find a position that suits you. Check out this awesome post on birth positions for the different stages of labor.

You could even belly dance your way through labor. That actually looks like fun!!

8. Try a Water Birth

Who doesn’t love a nice relaxing bath at the end of a long day?

And studies have shown that water births reduce the pain of contractions.

And some claim that getting into the water is just as effective in relieving pain as an epidural!

If you don’t want the full water birth experience, Fit Pregnancy suggest using the shower to help relieve labor pain.

9. Hold Hands

This is such an easy one!

Yes, holding hands with your husband during labor is scientifically proven to relieve pain.

10. Make Some Noise

If you’ve ever watched a birth video, I’m guessing you’ve immediately pressed the ‘mute’ button.The sounds of labor can be distressing, right? But did you realize that moaning – not screaming – through labor can help relieve pain?

Quick Pain Relief Lifesavers When In Labor for First Time

1. Birth Ball

A birth ball is great for prodromal labor – labor that doesn’t progress. The best way to labor is standing up, but if you’re too tired or it’s difficult to move, the birth ball is perfect for you. You can sit on it, gently rock from side to side to help move labor along.

2. Progesterone Cream

Progesterone cream can help with labor pain mama! It really works too! Rub it on your tummy or back to relive any cramping you feel!

3. Magnesium Spray

Along the same lines of using Progesterone cream, Magnesium spray is a pain reliever too. When you spray this on your body, it helps to relax the muscles, which is what will help speed labor and reduce pain.

Learn How to Relieve Pain in Labor

The thought of labor can be frightening for first time moms, but hopefully these lifesaving tips will help relieve your labor pain and keep you calm.

Just remember that every birth is different. Good luck, mama! You got this.

The Postpartum Cure

Click here to find out more!

Don’t forget to pin for later.

Are you a first time mom-to-be? Which tips are you going to try?

Have you got any tips for relieving pain in labor? What works? What definitely doesn’t?

Leave a Reply


thanks for sharing this valuable content with us , these tips and experience really help a women to stay calm and healthy as wellReply to drelsa
Love your article. I am 37weeks now and I never think about making a list before labor especially things to distract from contraction pain. Previous 2 labor, I just go with the flow not taking control of my body completely. I’m gonna make a list this time and take control. Hehehe. Thank you Elna.Reply to saz
Hey Saz, I know. When I was in my last trimester I wasn’t thinking about preparing for labor or baby at all! This list would’ve helped me focus for sure! Congrats on your pregnancy!Reply to Elna
I had no idea that you could listen to music while in labor! What kind of music is the best to listen to? My friend will be having a baby this August, so these tips could really help her out. Also, do you have any tips for choosing a labor and delivery service in her area? What qualities should she look for in a hospital?Reply to Bethany
This is a great article. My aunt was with me at the birth of my second child before my hubby arrived at the hospital. She told me so many hilarious stories in between contractions. I could believe laughing in pain. She made fun of my pain, it was quite funny. It helped a lot. Speaking to a friend or close family head of time to be there with you could ease a bit of pain and anxiety. I still remember it now and laughing about it. ThanksReply to Grace
Hi Grace, That’s a great birth story! Laughing and getting in a light spirit during this challenging time is the best way to get through it! So glad you relieved the pain of giving birth for your second child!Reply to Elna
Thank you for sharing my affirmations from thatmumlife.co.uk This list is superb!Reply to Louise
Hi Louise! You’re welcome! Going into labor and fighting the pain during birth is scary for sure! These tips are helpful!Reply to Elna