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    Suggestions for Labor Partners

    WHAT'S GOING ON?
    HOW IS SHE FEELING?
    WHAT SHOULD SHE DO?
    HOW CAN I HELP HER?
     
    Before Labor Begins: 3 to 4 weeks before due date

    Lightening

    Increased frequency of Braxton-Hicks contractions

    Early effacement and dilation

    Increased vaginal discharge

    Leveling off or loss of weight (1-3 lbs.)

    Excited, sense of anticipation

    Depressed

    Has difficulty sleeping - very tired

    Has spurt of energy

    Simplify housekeeping

    Pack suitcase and Lamaze bag

    Conserve energy - take naps

    Preregister at hospital, if not done already

    Practice exercises, relaxation, and breathing techniques DAILY

    Assist with housekeeping chores

    Encourage her to rest

    Provide diversion - take walks, eat out, etc.

    Practice relaxation and breathing techniques with her
     
    Beginning of Labor She may experience any or all of the following:
  • contractions
  • loss of mucus plug
  • leaking or rupture of membranes
  • bowel movements
  • Excited

    Apprehensive

    Talkative
    Try to sleep if at night

    Continue normal daytime activities

    Take a walk

    Take a shower, wash hair, shave legs

    Eat a light meal
    Time contractions

    Reassure her (of her readiness for labor)

    Call babysitter

    If at night, encourage her to sleep and sleep yourself
    Eat a good meal
     
    Early Phase Effacement and dilation of the cervix from 0-3 centimeters

    Contractions 5-20 min. apart, lasting 30-45 sec. Becoming longer, stronger and more frequent
    Confident

    Sociable

    Relax with contractions

    Begin slow paced breathing if necessary

    Assume upright position as much as possible

    Alternate being up with short rest periods

    Empty bladder every hour

    Call physician or midwife

    Drink plenty of fluids

    Eat lightly as tolerated

    Time and record contractions

    Remind her to relax, use touch relaxation

    Give encourage-ment, praise her

    Help her with her breathing, if necessary

    Offer fluids frequently

    Prepare for trip to hospital

    Encourage walking and position changes

    Remind her to urinate

    Use distractions - play cards, games, go to a movie
     
    Active Phase Dilation from 4-7 centimeters with more effacement

    Contractions 2-4 minutes apart, lasting 45-60 sec. with greater intensity and longer peaks
    Anxious

    Apprehensive - doubts ability to handle labor

    Serious mood - birth oriented

    Attention turned inward

    Not talkative

    Continue relaxation and breathing techniques

    Use focal point

    Do effleurage as desired

    Change position frequently

    Continue to urinate hourly

    Adjust pillows for comfort

    Go to the hospital or birth center

    Drink fluids frequently(sports drinks are recommended)

    If walking, support her body during contractions

    Assist with effleurage or offer lots of massage, stroking and counter pressure, especially on her back if it feels comfortable to her

    Protect your back while massaging by positioning yourself close and lean into her body as you massage

    Provide cool wash cloth for face

    Give ice chips (if available) or wet wash cloth to suck on

    Offer fluids frequently

    Remind her to change positions and urinate

    Keep her informed of her progress

    Cue relaxation

    Rest when she rests

    Encourage relaxation and assist with breathing

    If breathing seems ineffective, suggest changing pattern (make sure breathing is rhythmic)

    Watch for signs of transition

    Keep up your energy by snacking on food brought from home

     
    Transition Dilation from 7-10 centimeters

    Contractions 1-1/2 to 2 min. apart, lasting 60-90 sec, extremely long and erratic, possibly with more than one peak
    She may experience one or more of the following:
  • Panicky, feels like giving up
  • Irritable
  • Desires not to be touched
  • Forgetful, disoriented
  • Rectal pressure, premature urge to push
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Alternating hot/cold feeling
  • Trembling of the legs
  • Remember this phase is intense but SHORT

    Take one contraction at a time

    Change breathing technique as needed

    Eliminate cleansing breath if contraction peaks immediately

    Blow with premature urge to push

    Use slow-paced breathing between contractions
    Do not leave her for any reason!

    Remind her it is transition-LABOR IS ALMOST OVER-baby is coming-she can do it

    Praise her lavishly for her efforts

    Do not be offended by remarks

    Screen out annoying disturbances

    Keep conversation to a minimum

    Communicate with medical staff, keep calm, do not argue

    Apply back pressure

    Call nurse if urge to push is felt

    Breathe with her-have her mimic you

    Help her catch contractions at start

    Help her relax between contractions

    Be Positive!
     
    Pushing and Birth Dilation complete

    Baby moves down the birth canal

    Head crowns

    Delivery of head, shoulders, and then rest of body

    Contractions 3-5 min. apart, lasting 60-75 sec.
    Has strong urge to push

    Relieved to be able to push

    Renewed energy level

    Feels great deal of pressure

    Burning, splitting sensation

    Is sociable again between contractions
    Assume a comfortable pushing position

    Use most comfortable pushing technique

    Push only when feeling the urge

    Pant or blow as the head is delivered

    Relax perineum

    Keep eyes open
    Help her assume a comfortable position for pushing (support neck and shoulders or legs while pushing)

    Remind her to relax her bottom, check her face for relaxation

    Coach her to pant or blow as head is delivered

    Remind her to keep her eyes open

    Be sure she can see in the mirror

    Take pictures as baby is born
     
    Delivery of Placenta Mild uterine contractions

    Separation and expulsion of placenta
    Exhilarated

    Possibly fatigued
    Push with contractions as instructed

    Hold and soothe your new baby skin to skin

    Initiate breastfeeding

    Use breathing techniques if necessary
    Take pictures of mother and baby

    Hold baby skin to skin
     
    Bonding and Recovey

    Perineal repair if episiotomy was done or the perineum tore
    Identification procedures for baby

    Begin breastfeeding and bonding with baby

    Intermittent uterine contractions

    Checking of mother's physical status

    Exhilarated

    Possibly fatigued

    Hungry and thirsty

    Have skin to skin contact, examine, caress, nurse and talk to baby

    Make eye contact with baby

    Take pictures of father and baby

    Massage fundus of uterus

    Eat and drink

    Share in bonding with baby

    Take more pictures

    Make telephone calls