How to best support your partner while she is in labor. Penny Simkin, a well-known doula and physical therapist in the U.S., talks about the three R's: relaxation, ritual, and rhythm. These are really important for your partner to know while she's giving birth and while she's in labor and really important things for you to remember as well.
How are you going to help your partner to relax? How are you going to help your partner find her rituals, her movements, and what she needs to do in order to give birth? The three R's that I suggest for partners are reassurance, reflection, and response. Offer her reassurance as she's giving birth. A woman really needs to hear the voice of her labor companion. Sometimes it's great to offer her a comforting touch, to stroke her back, but hearing your voice really helps her understand she's not alone in this process.
Using reflection with your partner, you really want to reflect to her where she's at. If she's feeling like she can't do this, let her know that you really trust her and that you trust the process and you know that she can do this. As a good partner, you want to make sure that she is always well hydrated and eating well so she can maintain her energy levels during birth.
One of the most important things to remember when a woman is in labor is to not ask her any questions while she is in the middle of the contraction. Contractions can last anywhere from 30 to 90 seconds. You have some time to wait.
When thinking about how best to support your partner during labor, you really want to think about taking care of yourself. You want to make sure that you're well hydrated, you've had something to eat, and you can keep your energy levels up, and that you're bending your knees when you're in a physical position to support your partner.
In supporting your partner, you want to be sure to listen to her and understand the type of birth that she wants to have. Every birth is different. Every woman is different. You want to make sure that you're supporting her in having her ideal birth experience.