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Labour Partners to Support Mothers


pregnant woman laying down with man touching her belly



Labour partners provide support to the mother during labour and birth.  

Here are some tips to make sure you're prepared for this important and rewarding job:

Given that labour can take much longer than expected, be sure to remain calm and brings snacks and something to drink so you can stay energized. You can't take the mother's pain away, but there are many things you can do to help and support her through the labour and birthing process.

Help her Relax

  • Listen to the mother. She can tell you what she needs.
  • Touch and massage her, talk and breathe with her, and remind her to move around.
  • Check for relaxation by touching her arms, shoulders, and legs.
  • If she tells you something is not working for her, stop doing it. Move onto another relaxation or breathing technique that may be more effective.
  • Get ice chips, wipe her forehead, walk with her, rub her back, and help her with comfort positions.
  • Stay with her during labour.

Offer Support During Contractions

  • When a contraction starts, focus on the mother. If people are trying to talk to her, let them know she is having a contraction. 
  • It may be helpful to time the contractions - then you can tell her when a contraction is at its peak and when it should be easing off. 
  • Make eye contact, say "Breathe with me," and demonstrate the breathing so she can follow you. At the end of the contractions say "Take a deep breath and relax."
  • Tell her not to worry about any noises she makes - many women find making noise helps them get through the pain of their contractions.
  • When a contraction is over, give her sips of fluid and help her move and relax.

Take Charge

Anytime the mother needs help to cope, you may have to take charge for a while:

  • Move in close and have your face near hers.
  • Be calm and encouraging.
  • Hold her shoulders or head in your hands. Hug her tightly but gently.
  • Tell her to open her eyes and look at you. Make eye contact.
  • Encourage her with every breath and say things like, "Breathe with me, stay with it, look at me, good for you, it's going away now." Use a calm and confident tone.
  • Talk with her between contractions and ask if you're helping.
  • You might say, "Let’s breathe together. You're doing great. Let's get through this part together. Let me help you more this time."
  • Don't give up when she says she can't go on. Tell her it's hard now but you can do it together. Reassure her that this stage of labour is normal, and remind her of the baby to come. 

Ask for Help

  • Know that it's OK to ask for help. 
  • Talk to your healthcare provider and members of your medical and support team about your birth wishes.
  • Ask questions if you have any concerns or don't understand something.
  • If you are unsure of what to do, ask your healthcare provider for ideas.

Resources & Links: 
HealthLink BC: Labour and Delivery

Last Updated: August 3, 2013