Compiled By Andrea Eastman, MA, CCE, IBCLC

(Jones, 1987)

  • Be there and share the experience.
  • Guide her through imagery.
  • Be aware of signs of tension.
  • Massage her.
  • Blanket her with love.
  • Bear in mind that labor is a sexual event.
  • Ask for feedback (between contractions).
  • Encourage her to surrender.
  • Encourage her to express herself freely.
  • Do not insist that she breathe a certain way (unless she finds it helpful).
  • Forget the clock.
  • Help her take a warm shower or bath.
  • Apply facecloths soaked in very warm water (or rice socks) to the area of discomfort.
  • If she panics - have her lower her voice and groan, have her breathe with you to calm her down.
  • Be with her if she has a cesarean.

    (Simkin, 1989)

  • Realize that a long pre-labor is not a medical problem in itself.
  • Recognize pre-labor for what it is.
  • Check with your birth attendant for advice and reassurance.
  • Try distracting activities during the day.
  • Help her rest or sleep at night, or nap during the day.
  • Suggest a bath, or a long shower.
  • Give her a massage to help her relax.
  • SLEEP or at least rest!!!!!
  • Try things to help stimulate labor.

    (Simkin, 1989)

  • Remain close by.
  • Time the contractions.
  • Help her pass the time with pleasant and distracting activities.
  • Discuss whether you should leave for work.
    • Are you readily accessible?
    • How far do you have to travel?
  • When she becomes preoccupied with contractions:
    • Continue to time them.
    • Give her your undivided attention throughout each contraction.
    • watch her during contractions and help her relax.

    (Simkin, 1989)

  • Be sure the staff is aware of your birth plan.
  • Follow her lead.
  • Give her your undivided attention.
  • Develop "rituals" of comforting actions, to be repeated during every contraction.

    (Simkin, 1989)

  • Stay calm.
  • Your touch should be firm and consistent.
  • Your voice should remain calm and encouraging.
  • Stay close to her with your face near hers.


  • Remain calm.
  • Stay close.
  • Anchor her - hold her tightly.
  • Make eye contact.
  • Change the way you handle contractions.
  • Encourage her every breath.
  • Talk to her between contractions.
  • Repeat yourself.
  • Do not give up.
  • Ask for help and reassurance from someone else.


  • Remind her about the baby.
  • Remind her that this difficult phase (transition) is short, and that she is almost at the birthing stage.
  • Remind her that it is normal for transition to be difficult, and that her mood will improve when her cervix is fully dilated.
  • Be sure the birth attendant know if she has an urge to push.
  • Help her avoid pushing if she is not dilated fully.
  • Movement and position changes.
  • Counterpressure.
  • Bath or shower.
  • Heat or cold.
  • Touch or massage.
  • Relaxation.

    (Simkin, 1989)

  • Be patient during the resting phase.
  • Ask the birth attendant to wait for the pushing urge to come.
  • Match the mother's mood.
  • Stay close to the mother, where she can see, feel, and hear you.
  • Compliment her on how well she is doing with each contraction.
  • Stay calm.
  • Remind her to relax her perineum - let go, open up, down and out - her anus will bulge if the perineum is relaxed, if she is tense it will remain tight.
  • Remind her the baby is almost here.
  • Suggest different positions if the progress is slow.
  • Remind her to listen to her body.
  • Remind her to look in a mirror and touch the baby's head.
  • Do not get so caught up in the birth that you forget about the mother.
  • Cut the cord if you want to.
  • Enjoy the baby and encourage the mother to do the same.
  • Make sure the baby stays warm on Mom's chest.
  • Hold the baby, and ENJOY!


    These ideas are from the following excellent books:

    Mind Over Labor - by Carl Jones, New York: Viking/Penguin, 1986

    The Birth Partner: Everything You Need to Know to Help a Woman Through Childbirth - by Penny Simkin, P.T., Harvard and Boston, MA: The Harvard Common Press, 1989.

    Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide - by Penny Simkin, P.T., NY: Meadowbrook Press, 1991.

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