Encouragement in Labor
During labor, one of the most powerful tools of the partner is the ability to ensure the mother that she is doing well, and to encourage her to continue what she is already doing.
Three little words, "You're doing great," can give a woman the extra strength she needs to make it through a difficlut part of labor. During active labor, the mother may not realize how far she has come. She is literally taking her labor one contraction at a time, and unlike those supporting her, she may not see it as one contraction closer to the birth. She may not even recognize that she has a significant portion of her labor behind her.
That is one of the reasons continuous labor support is so important. The partner becomes the mothers "eyes and ears," watching what is happening and letting the mother know where she is. Comments such as "I can't do this!" can be calmed by responses such as, "but you are doing this, and you're doing great." Suddenly, the mother may have a new found confidence to continue.
Transition is a time of confusion for a mother. She cannot get comfortable, she does not seem to know what to do, she may not even remember that she is in labor for a baby. It is at this point that the reassuring words of her labor partners can help a woman most.
She will need to be reminded how close she is to pushing, and to holding her baby. She will also need to be reminded what to do. She may not remember for more than a few seconds, so repeat yourself without getting frustrated. Looks of panic on the mother can be responded to with, "I'm right here, we're almost done."
What are the magic words of encouragement that will help the mother? That will depend on who she is, and what your relationship is to her. In some instances, "I love you" will be very reassuring. In other cases, "You're doing perfect, it's beautiful to watch you." will reassure her. As a labor partner, you should know the mother well enough to know what will relax and reassure her.
You may also try repeating an encouraging phrase several times. Lines such as the following said to the mother during a contraction can give her something to focus on, while reassuring her that what is happening is normal.
The baby is moving down, the baby will be here soon.
The baby is trying to come out. You are helping her come out.
The stronger it feels, the better it works.
You are dong so well, I'm so proud of you.
Your body is working perfectly. Everything is working perfectly.
The nurse said you were doing great. You ARE doing great.