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10 Ways to Comfort a Woman Giving Birth

Supporting a Laboring Woman

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Updated May 16, 2014

Woman in labor holding husband's hand, close-up, rear view.
Mark Harmel/The Image Bank/Getty Images

During labor many of us feel helpless when it comes to comforting a laboring woman. Knowing a couple of right things to do and say is always helpful, as well as knowing a few tips on what not to do. Here are some ideas, feel free to expand them for your own use in labor and do what works for you!

  1. Massage her face to help release stress and relax her.
  2. Remind her to go to the bathroom every hour. A full bladder is not only uncomfortable but can stall labor.
  3. Try cool compresses on her neck and face. Even lightly washing her face can feel good when she's working so hard.
  4. Encourage her to drink fluids and eat to comfort if her care providers will allow it. Eating and drinking will help restore used energy for the marathon of labor.
  5. Help her change positions to encourage the progress of labor. Some positions will provide pain relief, others may feel more painful. Do what works for her.
  6. If her back is hurting do counter pressure with your hands on the small of her back (or wherever she says to do it) as hard as she likes. Doing this in the hands and knees position will also help with the pain. (See more on back labor.
  7. Be there for her. Even when she may say that she doesn't wish to be touched, being there for her is very important. Just stand near her so that she can feel your presence and verbally encourage her.
  8. Try the shower or tub. Water in labor is very good for pain relief of all sorts.
  9. Use a heat pad, rice sock or warm blanket to her lower back, limbs or perineum (at the end) to help her.
  10. Remind her of why she's doing this: The baby!
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