Support During Labour - When Contractions Strike - Direct2Mum

Support During Labour - When Contractions Strike

Support During Labour - When Contractions Strike
Labour can be an exhilarating and nerve-wracking time for both you and your partner. It may seem as though there is little you can do. In truth, however, you can make a significant contribution to a smooth delivery through a combination of emotional and practical assistance.

It can be hard to know when labour has really begun because of ‘false’ alarms caused by Braxton Hicks. The main signs of labour include: lower backache; regular contractions that last for more than 30 seconds and gradually become more intense; digestive symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhoea; a trickle or sudden gush of clear liquid as your partner’s water breaks; and finally, the appearance of a ‘show,’ a small discharge of pink mucus, which may or may not contain traces of blood.

When contractions strike, you can provide an invaluable service to your partner and maternity staff by noting the time between each one. Be sure to you have a stopwatch or timepiece with a second hand nearby to help you precisely keep track of contractions.

When contractions strike, you can provide an invaluable service to your partner and maternity staff by noting the time between each one. Be sure to you have a stopwatch or timepiece with a second hand nearby to help you precisely keep track of contractions.


Once contractions start to come in five-minute intervals and last for one minute or longer, it is probably time to go to the hospital. Before you leave, telephone ahead to inform the duty nurse of your status so the hospital staff can begin preparations. Knowing the route and approximate time of the trip to the hospital, making sure your petrol tank is full, and allowing plenty of time to get there are all wise ideas.

Ensuring that you and your partner have a bag packed is another way you can help. You will be glad later that you decided to bring a change of clothes, your wash bag, some snacks, your camera, and something to help you pass the time. You could be in for a long wait, so you will want to be prepared.

Once at the hospital, they will check your partner and the baby. Knowing what pain relief options are available in advance is a good idea, as is having change for the hospital vending machines. Your goal is to be a calming presence for your partner and do soothing things such as wiping her forehead, plumping up a pillow, or fetching a drink.

Many women also say they appreciate birth partners who look them in the eye, hold their hand during contractions, and do not constantly disappear to phone or text their friends.

Refraining from constant pacing or shouting is also best, even if you are nervous. Keep in mind that there are other women there also in labour. Maternity staffs generally prefer fathers who do as they are told, move and act quickly, and stay out of the way during frantic spells. This helps keep stress to a minimum.

If you have both settled on a home birth, you can support your partner by ensuring that the birthing room is quiet, private, warm, and dimly lit. Playing soothing music and keeping doors closed or curtains drawn can also help to make your partner feel safe and private enough to concentrate on her labour, rather than what the neighbours can see or hear.

Finally, if you are ever in doubt, play it safe and seek advice immediately from a knowledgeable source such as a midwife.

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