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Ideas for birth helpers

  • Encourage woman to drink. – water, other drinks eg juice (orange not generally in favour) or milk or other energy drinks. Good to have bendy straws
  • Offer and prepare food in early stages of labour and with energy food/during as labour progresses
  • Assist with baths or showering by directing water spray onto ‘sore’ bits’ if needed
  • Wipe face and neck, shoulders with cool flannel as woman gets very hot in labour
  • Clean up vomit if it occurs quickly (nicer – for you- to have a bowl handy)
  • Remind woman to pee regularly
  • Go walking with her (night or day) This can often bring some energy and resolve to a woman’s labour
  • Organise cushions/pillows etc for comfortable positions
  • Massage, often lower back, shoulders, down thighs, feet (may not be appreciated during a contraction)
  • Stop chatting when contractions are on, and as labour intensifies become quieter, following woman’s own lead
  • Take photos if wanted
  • Keep self and others well fed and drinking regularly
  • Clean own teeth regularly (long labours) and shower too to be fresh and recharge energy
  • Look after other children if requested
  • Manage relatives if requested to do so prior to labour
  • Take phone calls if it rings during labour – be non-committal with labour info if you have not been asked by woman to provide it
  • Provide never ending hot nappies if used
  • Heat wheat packs or hot water bottles if wanted
  • Offer ice to suck (may need to pop it is woman’s mouth)
  • Hold hand
  • Eye contact/focus point
  • Create a birth story as time goes by (details get lost in a very quickly)
  • Tactfully encourage anyone who is radiating fear or anxiety away from the birth place for a while
  • Remain calm
  • Continual emotional support, affirmation and encouragement
  • Respect woman’s privacy (and couple’s at times)
  • Express woman’s wishes (or remind her/them about past stance if she is able to make own case)
  • Offer support to partner (reassuring word, touch/ hug etc)
  • Encourage partner to take a breather or sleep if labour is slow
  • Take time out yourself if labour is slow. You need to keep some energy up for the whole event
  • Remember not to crowd the woman (you can take a back seat at times: don’t need 3 support people in bathroom for example)
  • Keep alarm off your face (about birth noises or suggestions for labour management)
  • Offer calm problem solving approach if woman (and partner) need to make decision about labour management. Give them private time to make decisions. Respect her/their decision