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Labor and Childbirth: Support Person's Notes

You may be excited and anxious about the impending labor and childbirth. You may also wonder how you can help. Learning about the birth process can help you know what to expect. And following the suggestions below can help ease you and the birthing parent through this exciting time.

During early labor

  • Be sure to time the contractions.

  • Keep the setting soothing. Dim lights and prevent loud noises. Try playing relaxing music.

  • Suggest that the birthing parent soak in a warm tub to ease the pain of contractions.

  • Try to distract the birthing parent from the contractions with a short walk or massage.

  • Encourage the birthing parent to rest if they are tired.

  • As contractions become stronger, help them use labor breathing techniques.

During active labor

  • Have the birthing parent walk or change position at least once an hour. This improves circulation and helps the baby descend.

  • Keep reminding the birthing parent to breathe and relax through each contraction.

  • Be reassuring. Try to keep the birthing parent from getting anxious or overstressed.

  • Take care of yourself. Take a short break to eat or go to the bathroom when you need to.

  • Rest when the birthing parent does. You'll both benefit.

During a vaginal birth

  • Help the birthing parent into a pushing position. Support their body as they push. A semi-sitting or semi-squatting position allows gravity to assist the birth.

  • Remind them to rest between contractions. Encourage them by telling them when the baby's head appears.

  • Keep in mind that you may be masked and gowned for the birth, depending on hospital policy.

During a cesarean birth

  • You will most likely be able to stay with the birthing parent during the cesarean. If you remain with them, you'll wear a mask and surgical gown.

  • Remember that cesarean birth is surgery. The birthing parent's abdominal area will be draped and out of view. Don't touch the draped areas, which are sterile.

  • If you aren't allowed to attend the delivery or aren't comfortable doing so, wait in the family waiting area.

Online Medical Reviewer: Donna Freeborn PhD CNM FNP
Online Medical Reviewer: Marianne Fraser MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Tennille Dozier RN BSN RDMS
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2024
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