There are so many ways a partner or support person can help mom in early labor. As a doula I encourage these to the mother’s partner in our birth plan session. As their partner, you are their number one support person, and it’s important that you too prepare in pregnancy.
Here are some really good tips for helping in labor:
- If labor begins at night, help her to rest and sleep. You can do this with massage or light stroking.
- If labor begins during the day, take her to a place you both enjoy (for example a park, or at home) where you can labor together.
- Make sure you provide her healthy snacks to eat. She will need that fuel to get through labor, before the loss of appetite sets in, later in labor. And also make sure she is staying hydrated with a big water bottle that has a straw, so it’s easy for her to sip.
- Wear something she likes on you, or her favorite color. The attraction can be calming for mom.
- As labor progresses, encourage her to relax her body and stroke her gently.
- If she starts to panic or has a hard time breathing through contractions, breath with her, to help her sync up with you.
- Help her body produce the much needed oxytocin by kissing her and stimulating her nipples.
- Don’t be offended if she doesn’t want your support at times during labor. Even things you practice and she enjoys in pregnancy, can change during labor.
- When she is in transition or pushing, she needs even more emotional support. Use this time to speak tenderly to her and maintain physical contact if it helps.
- When baby is coming, let her know when you can see baby’s head. Encourage her to feel baby’s head, and continue to support her emotionally.