For the nine months you’re pregnant, childbirth looms over you like a silver lining, and a day of doom. It’s a confusing time of excitement and fear. Even worse, every plan you make will fly out the window when contractions start. This is, after all, the most important day of your life. Who has time for plans when you’re about to welcome your little one into the world?

No one, of course. But, as much as it’s impossible to plan what will happen on D-day, it is possible to avoid making common mistakes during labor. First time parents especially often fall into the same traps. And, many of them have shared their experiences to ensure that you don’t do the same.

Taking note of these mistakes ensures that your labor is a more pleasant experience. So, keep reading to find out what you SHOULDN’T do when baby is on the way.

Mistake labor

Mistaking labor can be stressful and embarrassing. It also makes you less liable to act when contractions do start. The trouble is that braxton hicks are the contractions which cried wolf. They trick countless amounts of first-time moms. Just ask your midwife, and she’ll be able to tell you how many women come into the maternity ward way before labor even starts. Braxton hicks contractions are a sign of your uterus preparing for birth. They are not proper contractions. The best way to avoid making this mistake is to learn how to tell the difference between Braxton Hicks and labor contractions from early in your pregnancy. In general, braxton hicks are one off pains which don’t worsen. By comparison, actual labor contractions get worse and closer together over time.

Rushing to hospital

Many couples also rush to hospital when labor starts. In part, this is thanks to Hollywood births which happen in moments. But, that’s not the reality. Unless your midwife has told you otherwise, you may have a while to wait. Most hospitals operate on something called a 411 method. This means you shouldn’t head in until your contractions are four minutes apart, lasting for one minute, for at least an hour. If you go hospital earlier than that, the chances are you’ll just get told to go home again. That can lead to unnecessary stress at a time when you should be relaxing as much as you can before birth. To avoid this, download one of many contraction timers on your phone, and wait until the right time.

Forgetting food

Too often, moms-to-be believe that food is a no-go once contractions start. In the majority of cases, though, that isn’t true. Most midwife teams would actually encourage you to eat in early labor. That’s because there’s no telling how long your labor will last, and you probably won’t fancy food once the pain worsen. Eating protein-heavy healthy snacks can even improve your labor experience. That’s because it’ll give you strength to power through the process. So, forget rushing to hospital. Hit your food cupboards instead.