*This is a guest post written by Alice from SupportingHer!*
As Dads-to-be prepare for the birth of their baby, the question that is likely on their minds is “How can I help a woman in labor?”
In the beginning of a childbirth class, I will often ask couples to write down the question that they most want answered during the class. This one is top of the list every single time.
Being a support person can be a daunting task, but there is one very simple way that you can really make a positive impact on your partner in labor.
This idea doesn’t involve any complicated labor positions, breathing techniques or acupressure points. It doesn’t require any type of practice or any special skills, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not powerful.
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Best way to help a woman in labor?Be Close!
It is as easy as it sounds. Make sure that you are physically close to your partner while she is in labor.
If your partner is laboring at home in the living room, try to be in the living room, she is in labor in the bedroom, stay in the bedroom.
She might not need any other type of support other than your physical presence. You being physically close gives her the reassurance that if she has a need that she knows how to get help.
If you are in another room she won’t have the same feeling of comfort.
Stay close at the hospital, too
When you arrive at your birthing location, don’t let the setup of the room get in the way of being close. Sometimes chairs are set up on the other side of the room and away from the hospital bed.
Being close might require you to move some furniture around and that’s completely doable. If your partner has an epidural and is in bed, grab a chair, stool or birth ball and bring it close to the bed.
Even if it makes you uncomfortable
Sometimes there is a tendency to back away from things that are uncomfortable or unknown.
If there is a procedure being done, like starting an IV, you might find yourself retreating to a corner of the room. This strategy is completely understandable, but another idea would be to grab a chair and bring it close to the bed.
Hold her hand and direct your eyes away from the procedure if it makes you uncomfortable. You can always look into her eyes or even look at the floor while still being close by.
What to do when you have to step away
Of course, being close doesn’t mean that you can’t ever leave her side. Taking care of yourself and your own needs is important as well, but let her know where you are going and how soon you’ll be back.
For example “I’m going to let the dog out before we head to the hospital. I’ll be back shortly” or “I’m going to use the bathroom down the hall and will be back in a couple of minutes.”
This is one way to help a woman in labor that you can’t mess up!
As a doula, I have often seen women in labor yell for their partners across the house. When he comes running to the room where she is laboring he will say “what do you need?” and she will answer “I just want you here next to me.” There is something just very reassuring to know that your partner is close.
Being close is an easy and effective way to help your partner in labor. If you will be supporting someone in labor, add this one to your toolbox immediately.
If you will be the one in labor, then help yourself by forwarding it to your support person!
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About the Author:
Alice Turner is a database programmer turned childbirth educator and doula. She is the creator and lead educator of the SupportingHer online course for partners and currently the President Elect of Lamaze International. Alice’s mission is to help families have positive birth experiences.
Related: 6 Fears Most Moms Have About Labor