I’ve just popped together a simple list of ideas to use when supporting someone through labour. As a doula I spent many hours supporting women in the latent phase of labour at home and sometimes it can be hard to keep that energy flowing through the hours of the night. When you’re first moving into birth work as student midwife perhaps, or moving from practicing in a high tech unit to more low tech midwifery led care, it can be useful to know of different things you can bring into the birth space to support women and their partners.
This could also be a good list to share with birth partners.
So here goes..please add your own ideas in the comments!
20 Things To Try!
- Encourage her to relax, drop her shoulders and close her eyes whenever possible
- Breathe through with them
- Explain what’s happening to the cervix – use positive language
- Explain what’s happening when needed…and be a quiet presence when she’s coping well
- Suggest different positions – side, standing, leaning on window/partner, slow dancing…
- Offer her a drink
- Get the birth ball out…or use the peanut ball
- Put some music on
- Darken the room, use battery powered tealights, or a torch pointing upwards
- Warmth – cover her with a blanket – creating a ‘cocoon’
- Scent the room if she has brought something with her
- Suggest a walk
- Continuous monitoring – you can still move around, use a peanut ball, and maybe turn the sound down so that it’s not the focal point
- Change position – again – including if she has an epidural or IV line.
- Plump the pillows and lift the head of the bed up for her to lean on – an over the bed position is comfortable and enables the pelvis to open
- Encourage her to sleep between contractions – use an eye mask, or something draped over their head
- Help her stay focused – use positive and encouraging words
- Believe in them – that could mean building your own knowledge and belief in natural/normal/undisturbed birth
- Massage…. Foot massage-massage the feet and calves in slow, smooth movements. Feels great and can really help them sink into relaxation, let go and even sleep a little.
- ‘Change the energy’ – don’t let things get stagnant – offer ideas, change of position, changing the room…
Midwife at Truro Birth Centre in Cornwall
ARM social media and website coordinator