Three Tips that (Could) Make Labour Easier

We can never get enough tips and tricks on how to make giving birth easier, right? Here’s three (surprising) bits of advice that could do just that – backed up by science, too.

Pregnant woman

Eat Dates 

For real! A recent study published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology found that mums-to-be who ate dates daily during their ninth months were less likely than non-date eaters to need medication to start labour or to help it keep progressing. The secret seems to be the compound found in dates that mimics the hormone oxytocin (which stimulates contractions).

Need even more reason to load up on the sticky stuff? The study’s participants were also more dilated upon arrival at the hospital and laboured up to a whopping six and a half hours less.

Sleep More 

Any been-there-done-that mum will tell you that labour is no walk in the park. Think marathon, instead. So it makes sense that women who are less rested will have a tougher time in the delivery room.

According to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, women who slept fewer than six hours during the last month of pregnancy laboured for 11 hours longer than women who clocked seven hours or more of shuteye.

Strengthen Your Legs 

Logic dictates that, thanks to gravity, upright labouring positions will naturally facilitate the downward trajectory of babs – which may shorten labour by an hour, an Australian study found. But, as the previous point highlights, you might need to stay vertical for a fair length of time – so you’ll need strong legs. “The most important exercise for childbirth is squatting,” says prenatal-exercise specialist Erin O’Brien, creator of The Complete Pregnancy Fitness DVD. suggests practicing your squat by placing an exercise ball between your lower back and a wall. Walk your feet out as far as you can, rotate your toes and hips outward, then do three sets of 15 squats.