What is Active Labor Like?
Emotionally, you will recognize active labor by a more serious constitution. Rather than excitedly wondering "Is this it?" you will have accepted that this is labor and you will be working with your contractions. At this point you will also notice that your contractions are demanding more and more of your attention. As they demand more of you, you will find your demeanor getting more and more serious.
You may find that as contractions begin to build in intensity, you are able to simply relax your abdomen or relax only at the peak of the contraction. As the contractions progress, you will also progress in your handling of them going from relaxing only your abdomen to relaxing your whole body until eventually the contraction is demanding your complete attention through the whole contraction.
You will find that not only does your attention change as labor progresses, but you will find that your hunger begins to subside until you have no desire for food. This is a normal process that occurs as your body begins to divert all its energy into contracting the uterine muscle. If you do not have a desire to eat, simply don't eat. However, you need to continue drinking water to remain hydrated during labor. Your coach should offer you sips between contractions when you get to the point that you are not paying attention any more.
You will also find that as your contractions become more intense, your modesty decreases. Again, this is a normal process that occurs to almost every woman in labor. The woman who is horrified at the thought of exposing herself to a doctor and a nurse will begin to not care who sees her, until she gets to the point that she seems to not notice she is naked at all!
Your desire to talk will probably lessen as your contractions get stronger. You may begin by merely not wanting to talk during the peak of the contraction, and move on to not wanting to talk during the entire contraction. Some women even get to the point that they do not want to talk or be talked to between contractions.
All these changes will happen on a continuum, it is very rarely that a woman jumps from completely excited and talkative to completely serious and quiet. As you progress through these changes, your contractions will continue to get stronger, longer and closer together until at last you have reached transition.