How To Comfort Your Partner During Labor

Picture of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn

by Penny Simkin, PT; et al

Use this routine when your laboring partner is in despair, weeping, crying out for help, or ready to give up. Also use this technique when she’s overwhelmed with pain, can’t relax, and can’t regain her coping rhythm or ritual.

• Keep your composure. Your touch should be firm and confident. Your voice should be calm and reassuring. Give simple, concise directions. Don’t ask her questions.
• Stay close to her. Remain by her side with your face near hers.
• Anchor her. Hold her hand or cradle her in your arms.
• Make eye contact. Tell her to open her eyes and look at you or at your hand. This helps her focus.
• Give her a rhythm to follow with her breathing; move your hand or head to set a pace for her to follow (about one breath per each second or two). If she loses the rhythm, say, “Breathe with me; follow my hand. That’s the way, just like that.” Nod your head in time with her breathing to reinforce the rhythm.
• Encourage her. Acknowledge that labor is difficult, but not impossible. Remind her that she’s made a lot of progress and that her baby will be here soon. Tell her to look at you the moment she feels the next contraction so you can help her. Immediately set a rhythm for her to follow.
• Repeat yourself. She might not be able to do what you tell her for more than a few seconds, but repeating your instructions will help her continue.

Excerpted from: Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn: The Complete Guide, Fourth Edition

© copyright Parent Trust for Washington Children with permission from its publisher Meadowbrook Press.

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