Our number one rule for physical support is TRY. Don’t wait for your partner to ask you for the support. Try these techniques out and listen see if they work. Keep them up if they are working well and stop they if they aren’t.
1. Hold Hands
This is one of the easiest types of physical support and yet can be so comforting. Reach over and grab her hand. If your partner wants to squeeze really hard then hold her hand with the same grip that you would use if you were going to arm wrestle.This grip will prevent pain from your fingers being squeezed together.
2. Pressure On Lower Back
Before the contraction starts, tell her that you are going to apply pressure to her lower back during the next contraction and for her to let you know if it help with the pain. Once the contraction begins, place your hand at the base of the spine during a contraction and apply light pressure during the length of the contraction.
3. Give a Wet Washcloth
A cool cloth to the forehead and neck can feel wonderful. During the hospital or birth center tour, ask if they have washcloths available for you to use. When labor is getting intense and/or pushing begins, grab a cloth, use cool water to wet it and wring it out well so that it isn’t dripping. Between contractions offer to put it on her forehead or around her neck.If she likes it, make sure to remove it periodically and cool it down with fresh water.
4. Foot Massage
If she is laboring in the bed, a long foot massage between contractions can feel great. The complaint that I hear from most women is that their partner didn’t give a massage that lasted long enough. Try to continue the massage for at least 45 minutes.
5. Hand Massage
This is a nice way to still provide physical support if she has an epidural. Like the foot massage, try to continue for at least 45 minutes or 25 minutes on each hand. If she brought hand lotion, ask to use some of that before the massage. This is a small gesture that will go such a long way!
6. Slow Dance
Imagine you are in middle school and are dancing with someone for the first time.Get in that position.Then allow her to rest the weight of her arms and shoulders on you while gently swaying during contractions. Adding a little music to this method really works well too.
7. Hip Squeeze
The hip squeeze can be so helpful to ease the pain of contraction, but sometimes take some adjusting of your hand positions to get the move just right. Apply pressure to both hips at the same time during a contraction and ask your partner how that feels.If you work together to adjust position and pressure this comfort technique can be majical.
8. Light Touch Massage
A light touch massage is soft, rhythmical touch that can help your partner relax in between contractions. Gently stroke the tips of your fingers from the middle of her back down her shoulders & arms. Stay in the same direction each time.
This is a top tip pushing! Grab a paper or plastic fan for your labor bag and have this ready when she feels warm. Use this technique with a wet washcloth for maximum comfort.
Cuddling during labor can increase oxytocin which could strengthen the contractions. This one is great if labor slows down. I recommend talking about this one in advance so that your partner knows that this is a physical comfort technique and doesn’t get irritated that you are looking for your own comfort.
Don’t get discouraged! If you try one of these techniques and your partner isn’t interested that doesn’t mean that another type of support won’t work. Keep trying. Once you find a method of physical support that brings comfort you will see positive results and it will be worth your effort.