The following are tips for you to follow as you help your partner give birth to your greatest creation: your baby!
If labor begins at night
Suggest that she drink 2 big glasses of water or a warm cup of tea and take a warm, relaxing bath as long as her water hasn't broken. A warm bath can slow the early stage of labor down and she can get some much needed sleep. Encourage her to go back to sleep by massaging her or putting on soothing music to ease her anxiety.
If labor begins during the day
Take her to a place that you both enjoy. Time her contractions periodically. Begin when the contraction starts and stop timing when her contraction stops. This is how long the contraction is. Begin timing again when another one comes. This is how far apart they are. If her contractions are between 4-5 minutes apart, lasting at least one minute consistently for an hour, call the care provider and the doula. The doula will talk to her during a contraction and can usually tell how far along in labor she is by the way she sounds during a contraction. Watch a movie, especially a funny movie! No scary movies or action flicks that will make her adrenaline kick in. Laughter is good to help labor progress. Take her for a walk in nature. Take her for a picnic lunch. Feed her easy to digest foods, such as applesauce, avocado, cereal, frozen yogurt, ginger, grapes, oatmeal, potatoes, puddings, pasta, rice, yogurt smoothies, soups and broths. She will need those calories to burn and keep up her strength. Try to get as much sleep as possible. When you are not napping, walk. Play relaxing music as you massage her. Give her lots of water. Rehydrating liquids like coconut water are okay, but water is most important. Take responsibility. Make the arrangements for child care, calling providers and the doula, any other phone calls that need to be made. Kiss her, love her, be intimate. Kissing and orgasm can help labor really get going.
As labor progresses
Help her relax. Between contractions, let her loosen up and rest. Let her close her eyes. Remind her to breathe. Brush her hair or stroke her gently. Synchronize your breathing with hers. Make eye contact and tell her to breath with you. Be supportive. Tell her you love her and are proud of her. Believe in her! Help her stay active. Walking and changing positions. Be calm and patient. If you need to take a break, talk to the doula. Help her with comfort measures. The doula will show you how. Don't ask her any questions during a contraction. Make the room dark and safe. Help her get comfortable.
Transition can be very intense for women. This is the end of the long journey of labor. Many women go into an altered state of mind at this point. They may become desperate and want to quit. REMEMBER, this stage is faster than the earlier stages and lasts only a couple of minutes to a couple of hours. This is where you are most needed! Keep doing what worked. If she begins to panic, synchronize your breathing with hers. Be close to her! Trust her, she and the baby are working hard.
Encourage her to find the position that works best for her. Physically help her maintain those positions. If you want to see the baby coming out, stay close to her and report to her when you see the baby's head. This will encourage her that she is doing a good job and is almost done! Help her reach down and feel the head. EXPRESS YOUR GRATITUDE! She is working hard to birth your child. If she becomes warm, wipe her brow with a cool wash cloth.
REMEMBER TO TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF!
Make sure you get plenty of rest as well. Stay hydrated, eat. If you have any questions or concerns, address those with the doula or other staff who are present. If you need to take a few minutes to yourself, speak with the doula. Get food for yourself, take a walk, use the restroom, the doula will be there for your partner while you take care of your needs.