Are you expecting your first baby? Then you may be surprised by the intensity of what a labouring woman is experiencing. It can be so great, that her support person or team can easily get flustered too and end up being the one(s) in need of support. It can be hard to support someone by simply being with them, without doing all the things to make it go away. The absence of a calm environment can also lead mothers to request pain relief earlier than they would normally have required it.
So, what can you do to really support a labouring woman and help both of you achieve the birth you desire?
Here are some tools for a partner to help during labour:
Look at your partner’s jaw, throat and hands. Are the muscles tight and clenched? If so, this will directly impact how tight and clenched the rest of her body is, particularly her cervix, which needs to open and soften for birth. Encourage your partner to relax her jaw and hands. This does can be done with words or touch.
Have you ever heard of an Aqua-Dural? Water has a unique way of softening the intensity of labour. If you can, get into the bathtub with your partner. Touch is underrated, too! If a bathtub is not an option, try the shower and focus the water pressure on your partner’s lower back.
Variety is the spice of life and the same goes for labour. Every so often, you can suggest to make a change to the position your partner is in. Changing positions, ideally upright, has several benefits, including bringing baby into the correct position for birth and making the pelvic outlet wider.
Relaxation through sound
Mums can go silent in labour as they start to internalise working through it. You can help by reminding your partner to sound out their labour, if she so wishes. There is no need to feel uncomfortable, however, and it is not your responsibility to make others feel comfortable during your birth. Low or loud noises, this can really help her relax and let go.
The space a woman is labouring in is arguably the most important detail. While your partner might not be in a position to voice that she is feeling uncomfortable, you know her best so have a look around. Is the room too hot? Too cold? Too bright? Are the people that are present supportive and calm or tense and critical? This is your space and it is completely ok for you to tell people to leave or give you some privacy, even if only for a few minutes! Or, if possible, get them to make themselves useful by bringing snacks, water, tea, coffee or whatever you need for your partner, you and the medical staff. Midwives appreciate a treat too!
With all that said, the best way to support your partner in labour and birth is still to educate yourself. If you are informed and know your stuff, you are much more likely to feel secure, in control and make the best decisions for your family. Why not book into the Birth Support Workshop? Contact me today for details!!