20 Ways to Support Labour

by | 31 May, 2020 | Midwifery Skills | 1 comment

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!

  1. Encourage her to relax, drop her shoulders and close her eyes whenever possible
  2. Breathe through with them
  3. Explain what’s happening to the cervix – use positive language
  4. Explain what’s happening when needed…and be a quiet presence when she’s coping well
  5. Suggest different positions – side, standing, leaning on window/partner, slow dancing…
  6. Offer her a drink
  7. Get the birth ball out…or use the peanut ball
  8. Put some music on
  9. Darken the room, use battery powered tealights, or a torch pointing upwards
  10. Warmth – cover her with a blanket – creating a ‘cocoon’
  11. Scent the room if she has brought something with her
  12. Suggest a walk
  13. 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
  14. Change position – again – including if she has an epidural or IV line.
  15. Plump the pillows and lift the head of the bed up for her to lean on – an over the bed position is comfortable and enabSupport Labourles the pelvis to open
  16. Encourage her to sleep between contractions – use an eye mask, or something draped over their head
  17. Help her stay focused – use positive and encouraging words
  18. Believe in them – that could mean building your own knowledge and belief in natural/normal/undisturbed birth
  19. 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.
  20. ‘Change the energy’ – don’t let things get stagnant – offer ideas, change of position, changing the room…

evony lynchEvony Lynch

Midwife at Truro Birth Centre in Cornwall

ARM social media and website coordinator

1 Comment

  1. Margaret Jowitt

    I’m most of the way watching the National meeting, many thanks to my ARM friends. So inspiring but such a long way still to go. The 20 tips for labour are equally inspiring. I believe that we are very near to disseminating a new science of labour which will show how important it is to put women at the centre of birth – just where midwifery wants them to be. This will facilitate the revolution. The birth machine emperor will be revealed as having no clothes. But as always it is the political barriers of the birth institutions that are so hard to dismantle and ARM continues to lead the way in bringing down the statues of patriarchy in birth.


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