Timing guidelines – Pee every hour. Change positions every half hour. Get out of the bath every hour and a half.
Most importantly: If the position she is in or the way she is coping is working well for her. Don’t ask her to move or change. Just support the way she is doing it. A lot of these tips are for when she is having trouble finding what works best for her.
· Do what you can to make it a quiet and comforting environment. Do the same with your attitude and actions.
· Comfort her the way you would when she is sick or upset.
· Suggest that she empty her bladder every hour or so.
· Encourage rest when possible. We don’t want to wear her out by having her try to walk the baby out. She needs to do what feels right to her in the moment. And during times of calm, rest is best for everyone.
· Keep her hydrated. Offer her sips of water, tea, juice, whatever she likes. If she can’t handle drinking, give her ice chips. Even if she has an IV for fluids, she will still need the ice chips for energy and to wet her mouth. If she can eat, try to give her something small to munch on every so often.
· Suggest different positions when the one she is in isn’t working. If she doesn’t respond, you may need to gently guide her to do something else.
· Don’t ask a ton of questions. She won’t be able to answer. Try to figure out what she needs or what could help her without asking her questions. If what you come up with doesn’t work, try something else.
· Love on her, kiss and touch her. (unless she does not want that)
· Find ways to support her and be in contact with her physically throughout the labor process.
· Be her advocate and gentle protector.
· Take care of yourself. If you don’t eat, you won’t have the energy to take care of her. If you have to go to the bathroom, go. Holding it in can not only make you miserable, but your tension may cause her tension as well. If labor is taking a long time, take the time to rest. Even if you are just resting with her between contractions. Take care of yourself, but not at her expense. Make sure she has someone with her at all times leave her alone. Eat food that does not smell strong and don’t eat it in front of her. Don’t stink up her bathroom. Make sure you don’t have bad breath or bad body odor. She will be extremely sensitive to smells and you don’t want to make her sick.
· Remember that she needs it quiet so she can focus. Don’t visit or crack jokes.
· Remind her to relax tension during the contraction.
· Remind her to take a deep cleansing breath at the beginning and end of each contraction.
· Breath with her when she seems lost.
· Try applying firm steady pressure to her lower back.
· Rub her lower back in a circular motion.
· If she is in intense labor just be there for her to grab a hold of. Sometimes breathing and other coping methods just don’t work at that point.
· Gently massage her head, shoulders, back, and legs between contractions.
· Encourage positions that keep her off her back.
· Guide her to lean on you and rest between contractions.
· Help her to relax by encouraging her to go limp and stroke her gently.
· Make sure she has chapstick close by and offer it occasionally. Especially while pushing.
· Encourage positions where she isn’t on her back. Try a change in positions if the one being used doesn’t seem effective.
· Be patient! Labor takes time. And pushing can sometimes take up to 4 hours. Remember that your attitude will affect her coping abilities. If you are worried about something, ask the nurse or doctor out of her earshot. Be reassured that while hard work, labor is a normal process, and you will both get through it.