Top 4 tips for early labor

Maybe you're past your estimated due date and have been waiting patiently for this moment or maybe it took you by surprise. You've just had your first contraction, and then, 15 minutes later another one. You can still talk through them, can make yourself comfortable but are starting to wonder: should I be getting ready to leave for the hospital?

Obviously your first steps would be to call your medical provider, your partner and your doula. If your midwife or OB says that you still have plenty of time before active labor, what to do in the meantime?

1. REST. If it's the middle of the night, you should try to go back to sleep. If it's daytime... you should try to sleep anyway. Your body is getting ready for some hard work, you need to be well reseted. If getting some zzz's is out of question, then closing your eyes for a few minutes, lying on your side, meditating or simply sitting comfortably should help you relax.

2. ACTIVITY. I know I just told you to rest! But alternating rest with activity can work wonders. You need to get this baby to move down, so staying in vertical position is very important. Walk, dance, sway or rock on your birthing ball.

3. DISTRACTION. Timing your contractions is important but can also be frustrating in early labor when they are still irregular and far apart. Try to find something that can draw you away from thinking about the upcoming birth. Watch your favorite movie or a TV show, cook dinner, bake muffins, play cards or video games, finish your knitting/crocheting project, call a friend, organize baby's nursery, read a book or do whatever takes your mind off.

4. FOOD & DRINK. You need lots of energy for the upcoming marathon aka birth of your baby. Eat your favorite foods or whatever you're craving. Staying hydrated is crucial too.

Most importantly: listen to your body and consult with your care provider.