What exactly is a Labor/Birth COACH?
You’re probably at a loss as to how to help her. What in the world am I supposed to do as a labor/birth coach? Well, you’ve got 9 months to step up and show her how you can work as a team. All most people have ever experienced about labor and birth is on TV or in movies. I always say, “Those scenes about labor and birth have nothing to do with reality and everything to do with drama!”
A labor/birth coach does the following things to support the pregnant woman:
- A labor and birth coach encourages the pregnant woman to train physically, mentally, and emotionally for the big day. You’re the main motivator, other than the baby of course.
- The coach and his/her partner, the pregnant woman, will study and read about pregnancy, labor, and birth.
- They take classes together so they are both fully informed about the normal processes of labor and birth.
- They learn about the common medical procedures and the questions to ask so they can make informed decisions with their care providers.
- A labor and birth coach encourages the pregnant woman to practice exercises so that she is healthy and comfortable as her pregnancy progresses. This also helps her to have the stamina she will need to get through labor and birth.
- Most importantly of all, the coach and the pregnant woman will practice relaxation together.
Being there with love and understanding is mainly what labor coaching is all about.
All this preparation enables the safest and healthiest labor and birth possible.
Most of the time, your support and concern will be appreciated throughout labor. Usually a woman will let you know that she is helped by your suggestions and encouragement. Do not be discouraged however if she doesn’t give you feedback. She will let you know what a great labor/birth coach you were later.
There is no right way
Each coach and each laboring woman are different, as are their labors. Some women are self-sufficient, and some are very dependent. One will want to be stroked and guided throughout labor. Others will want minimal touch. Others will want something in between.
Don’t be afraid to offer suggestions.
-Help her regain her composure
-Remember that this is just a short time overall
-Remind her how well she has done so far
-Look her in the eye, gently hold her shoulders and help her go back to focusing on the breath
Some suggestions for the physical management of labor:
-Get as much rest during pre-labor as possible (This is so important. One of the biggest hurdles first time moms have to overcome is exhaustion in labor. Sleep if you can.)
If rest and sleep are no longer possible try:
- Walking around
- Change positions often
- Sit upright
- Write thank you notesAddress birth announcement envelopes
- Bake cookies to take with you to the hospital for the nurses
- Work on your photo album
- Watch a movie
- Eat and drink, easily digested foods
When contractions get stronger:
- Rub her back
- Give sips of water or juice
- Always praise her
- Reassure her how well she is doing!
If progress is slow
- Try pelvic rocking and squats between contractions
- Just being there physically will be such emotional reassurance for her
Keep these supplies on hand
- Peppermint oil
- Aromatherapy oils
- Hot water bottle
- Massage oil