8 Ways to Support a Partner in Labor

EncircledUncategorized 8 Ways to Support a Partner in Labor
Partner supports woman during labor and birth at a Los Angeles hospital.

[vc_row][vc_column column_width_percent=”80″ gutter_size=”3″ back_color=”color-xsdn” overlay_alpha=”50″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ shift_y_down=”0″ z_index=”0″ medium_width=”0″ mobile_width=”0″ shadow=”std” shadow_darker=”yes”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner column_width_percent=”100″ align_horizontal=”align_center” gutter_size=”3″ overlay_alpha=”50″ shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ shift_y_down=”0″ z_index=”0″ medium_width=”0″ mobile_width=”0″ width=”1/1″][vc_custom_heading text_weight=”100″ text_space=”fontspace-210350″ separator=”yes” separator_color=”yes”]8 Ways to Support a Partner in Labor[/vc_custom_heading][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Sometimes the thing that makes people nervous about birth is the “unknowness” of it. And for partners, this factor can especially contribute to feelings of uneasiness. What is going to happen? How long will labor be? What will my role look like? Lets look at some ways that a partner can support someone in labor and childbirth!

When you hire a birth doula, part of their role can include helping a partner identify ways to provide support to the birthing person. This can be done in prenatal visits and also during labor.

I know for myself, having an identified list of ways for my partner to help served at least two purposes. First, it helped my partner have something tangible to hold onto when feeling nervous about supporting me (or just the birth of our baby in general). He had something to refer to if he was at a loss for what to do. He also felt more prepared, as prepared as one could be. Secondly, creating the list helped me identify the specific things I wanted for support. Granted, this was easier with the birth of our second baby, as I had more of an idea of what I wanted during labor support. Creating this list helped me manage some anxieties about preparing for labor, an experience I knew I could not predict. 

Lets get to it! Here is a list of things that a partner can do to support a laboring/birthing person. 

1. Help Time Contractions

Taking this off the laboring person’s hands so to speak can be so helpful. Contractions can take us away from our logical brain and it can be easy to forget to start and stop the timer when we are monitoring contractions. There are a lot of free and easy to use apps available for downloading! These will not only keep track of contractions, but will tell you their average length and distance between them. Taking a screenshot of your app is an easy way to share this information with any other birth team supports, such as your doula, midwife, or OB. 

2. Contact Your Doula/Photographer/Childcare/Midwife/OB/Labor Support People

Before labor begins, make sure to program all birth support persons numbers in both of your phones. Keeping the birth team up to speed with any happenings in labor is important to making sure everyone can be ready to help when the time comes. Sounds stressful? Create a group text of the people to keep updated so you only have to send one message at a time.  If there are a lot of people you have chosen to inform when labor begins, creating a “phone tree” and delegating out the task of informing family members and friends can be helpful. 

3. Make sure hospital bags are in the car

Before labor begins (or in the early stages of labor), you can make sure the bag is in the car and double check the list to make sure you are bringing everything you want to have with you. Putting some extra plastic bags and towels in the car is always a good idea, in case they are needed. 

4. Pay attention if the bag of waters breaks

Something you can do as the support person is note the Time, Amount, Color, and Odor of the fluid and report this information to your medical provider. 

5. Help keep them hydrated

Have a water bottle or cup of water close by during labor and offer water frequently to help keep the birthing person hydrated; they are doing a lot of work! 

6. Be a physical support during contractions 

Review different laboring positions beforehand and identify with your partner ways you can provide physical support while they labor. For example, supporting her in the “slow dance” position during contractions. 

7. Emotionally support with words of affirmations

Labor and birth can bring a lot of intense emotions, for both of you. Utilizing words of affirmation can help navigate the many different emotions that may surface.

8. Stay Calm, Stay Flexible 

Above all, stay calm and stay flexible. Birth is nothing if not unpredictable. Despite any birth preferences you lay out, there is no way to know how labor and birth will progress. Staying calm can help your partner feel grounded. Staying flexible can help you both roll with whatever labor and birth brings your way. 


Of course, not all of these will feel good for every birthing person. I recommend you and your partner make a list specific to you! This can include anything! From what type of touch/massage you think you might like to the specific playlist of songs you would like your partner to put on for you. 

It is wise to acknowledge labor and birth has its own plan and things we anticipate wanting may not hold up during the actual time. But having these conversations ahead of time and planning ahead is a great way to connect and prepare for your labor and birth experience. [/vc_column_text][vc_single_image media=”512″ media_width_percent=”100″][vc_column_text]

April is a birth photographer and birth doula is the Pasadena/Glendale/Los Angeles area. Interested in birth services? Lets connect!

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