6 Tips for Prolonged Latent Labor (when patience is running thin!)

My second baby was 9 days overdue.  This may not seem like a long time in the scheme of a pregnancy, but if you have ever been pregnant, you know that at the end, doing just about anything is a serious challenge. Sleeping. Eating. Bending over. Standing. Being awake. Nine days in this state is an eternity.

And everyone, everyone is all– “when’s that baby gonna come!” and  “feel anything yet?” to “you look like you are going to pop!” which is simply just loads of fun. 
So, for all those mamas out there experiencing prolonged latent labor, and all of their families (especially partners!) and friends, here is a helpful list for you.
1. Do not call and see if she has had the baby yet. She hasn’t. She doesn’t really want to answer the phone and be a disappointment because she hasn’t produced a living thing yet.  She will call you.  You may need your partner to answer all the phone calls, or leave a message that simply says, “Not yet!”

2. Do not under any circumstances call it false labor. There is nothing about it that feels “false.” Calling it false may demand that you are kicked in the teeth by a overdue pregnant woman. Nothing good can come of this. If you must discuss on again, off again labor, which is real, painful, LABOR, call it latent labor. 
3. Please do not tell women pregnant with their second child how fast this one will be. Oh, I held on to that like a lucky charm. When I was overdue I felt betrayed by the sisterhood!  It wasn’t fast!  It wasn’t easy!  How could that be?  Going in to birth with that mindset is a set up.  Each birth is its unique story and journey, and it doesn’t matter how many times you have done it before, each one is different.

4.  Find support. This was a lifeline for me, at 3am, when I was up all night with labor leading no where. To find other women who had been through this meant the world to me.  I found my support on Mothertalkers. They came to me online and shared their stories. It mattered. I wasn’t alone. And I would be okay. 
5.  Find humor and distraction. Each time you have labor pains, everyone looks at you expectantly. When this happens for days on end, everyone just needs to pretend it isn’t happening. Do anything you can do get out of your own way. Movies, visits, short walks, errands, just do something so you are less like a watched pot!

6. Most importantly, monitor yourself and the baby. Keep in close contact with your doctor or midwife, Women in prolonged latent labor are often encouraged to induce or have a c-section. I know I was desperate and tired– if my midwife had encouraged me to induce, I would have. Luckily, though, she encouraged me to be patient (so very hard!).  She even said, “Enjoy this time,” and I had to resist the urge to sock her in the face.  But she was right. My baby just wasn’t ready yet.

In the end I was able to have my beautiful daughter naturally and she was healthy– so worth the (long) wait.

Mad love to you mamas out there experiencing prolonged latent labor. We have been there too, and it is no picnic. Dig deep in your heart, do what you need to do, and in the end the most important thing is that you and your baby will be happy and healthy together.

Do you have any tips for women experiencing prolonged latent labor?

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