Labor Support Recommendations!

Updated on December 17, 2009
J.H. asks from Springfield, PA
5 answers

I've been asked to be the "Back Up Catcher" for my friend who is due any day now. The father is not involved so her sister and I are going to be there for her. I had my 2 boys via c-section and have never had a labor pain or pushed anyone out! I'd love to hear any suggestions for goodies in the goodie bag or tips for help during labor. I'm taking the class with her (since I never took one for my boys) so I'm learning a lot, but what *don't* they tell you? Thanks!

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answers from Philadelphia on

Hi J.
You're a good friend to go through all the classes to help support your friend.

There's a book called: The Birth Doula by Penny Simkin.

She writes it and speaks specifically to the mom, the partner and the doula.

You'll get great great advice since it is geared specifically for the inexperienced support person.

Best of luck!
p.s. I'm a doula and I go to all my births with this book in tow. :o)



answers from Philadelphia on

I think the best thing that you can do is to find out exactly what her "ideal" labor experience looks like - and then help her go with the flow while staying as close to that as you can.

Does she want a "natural" labor with as little intervention as possible or is she looking for someone to keep her company while the drugs to their work?
What's her stance on episiotomy?
Does she want an epidural?

I wanted a totally natural labor. I wanted as few interventions as possible. I needed my husband, my coach, to be there with me, touching me, reminding me that I was strong enough to do this. But when my water broke at 34 weeks, I needed him to remind me that all bets were off and we would do what we needed to do to get through the moment. I ended up with every intervention that I'd hoped to avoid; BUT I felt like I was in control and that I was the one making decisions for how to proceed. That's what made the difference for me in looking at my experience as a good one.
Does she want



answers from Philadelphia on

What a wonderful opportunity for you! Having been through natural labor and delivery 3 times, I would say that the most important thing you can do for her is to LISTEN. Every woman needs something different when they're in the midst of such pain and emotion, and each experience is different. Know her birth plan and what she thinks she'll want and need beforehand, but that could all change in a nanosecond so really pay attention during the process. Some women want to be touched and massaged, and I always thought I'd want that, but then in the moment I did NOT want anyone touching me for anything. Just be there for her and be at her beck and call for this amazing experience.

As far as tricks, I only know a few... tennis balls to massage her back, a sock filled with rice that you can heat up in a microwave to apply heat to back and neck (not sure how you could do this in a hospital, but for laboring at home it could be great), I've heard that to smell a lemon (freshly sliced) can help any nausea...
Good luck!



answers from Philadelphia on

I used to have a goody bag for myself for during and after labor. It would have my favorite magazines, soaps, creams and snacks. The snacks were very important for those labors that the cafe was closed. One of my favorites is the peanut trail mix with the raisins and m&ms. A bag of lifesavers was always nice. I don't have much advice for the pain...everyone deals with it differently.

Another thing that i loved was a new pair of pj's...nothing elaborate. It felt good to have my special creams, soaps and new pj's after not feeling so!



answers from Philadelphia on

Wow, the best thing I could say is go with the flow!!! Find out what she wants and be her advocate. If she changes her mind along the way, support that too. My husband and best friend were my support and seriously I could have done without my husband, he was annoying. I just needed someone to keep me company, and encourage me when the time was right - and help me out when it was finally time to test out the old legs post delivery - ugh.

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