7. Watch for tense muscles.
Tensing up muscles is common during pain, but it can also impede labor and increase pain. Help the muscles relax by gently stroking a hand down the muscle and watch it automatically relax at your touch. Talk to your partner about her preferred touching methods; some prefer soft, others light or even a simple tap.
An open mouth helps labor progress, too. To encourage her to unclench her jaw, you can also place your face in line of sight and demonstrate opening your own.
8. Remind her to drink and urinate.
Often, during the intensity of labor, women don’t always notice small changes in their bodies. Encourage her to drink just a small sip after each contraction and to urinate every hour. Watch for signs of dehydration such as dry lips. Staying hydrated can also make contractions less painful, so keep that liquid coming!
9. Keep an eye on her temperature.
If she’s sweating, offer her a drink or help her remove some items of clothing. If she’s cold, get her a blanket, extra clothes or offer a massage to help warm and relax the muscles.
10. Maintain her space.
During labor, women often become introverted, closing their eyes and becoming less talkative as labor progresses. Help keep surrounding noise and conversations to a minimum. If possible, turn the lights off or down.
If you’re faced with a decision such as artificially rupturing the membranes, a routine internal exam or drugs (any of which she can refuse if she wishes), use the five minute rule. Ask hospital staff if you can be alone together for five minutes to discuss the procedure and any questions you may need to ask. It’s very rare that a situation is so serious that you can’t have a few minutes to weigh up your options first.
11. Offer practical suggestions and help.
Saccral counter pressure (on the saccrum/tailbone/small of her back) is a good way to help with labor paints.
You can remind her to concentrate on her out breath (to slow breathing), suggesting she sway her hips to help with pain and offering suggestions for more comfortable position changes all help.
12. Don’t tell her what to do.
One of the most important parts of having an empowering birth is allowing the mother to be an informed part of the process. You can offer suggestions, but don’t try and force her to do anything she doesn’t want to do. You know your partner best; treat her the same way as you normally would when making decisions. That may involve giving her as much information as possible, a condensed version or giving her time to consider the decision.
Even if you make the same decision as your health carer advises…it is still YOUR decision if made from a place of knowledge (due to having information) rather than fear. – The Pitfalls Of Going With The Flow In Birth
13. Provide small snacks if she wants them.
Although some hospitals still haven’t updated their policies to recommend eating and drinking in labor, staying hydrated and maintaining energy during labor can make it shorter and lower the risk of complications [read more].
Also, check out this list of 20 different foods and drinks for labor.
14. Kiss her and hug her.
Being romantic releases oxytocin, which in turn, can speed up labor. Holding her, hugging and kissing her not only supports her but can help the labor process too.
Just remember that sometimes, she may not want to be touched. This isn’t a reflection on you, but simply her way of handling the pain. For some women, touching can be overwhelming during labor.1 | 2 | 3