TOP TEN TIPS for labour partners
Early on in labour, begin massage and acupressure. This non-verbal communication will be so useful later on.
When the labour is underway, remind her to take a sip to drink regularly. Drinking is more important than eating.
Ask "yes/no" questions. She may not be able to articulate an answer to an open ended question in that moment. Is that another contraction coming? Are you warm enough? Would you like to change position? When you get your 'yes/no' answer, understand that she could change her mind any minute.
Be her minder. If she has been labouring in the same position for a long time, does she need to move? She may be getting stiff and not have noticed. If she is barefoot, is the floor cold? Does she need lip-balm? A cool flannel on the forehead?
Try to work out when to just be present and quiet, and when to step in and ask what she needs. Mostly what she needs is to focus deep inside herself.
Give encouragement: a whole year's worth of encouragement.
If you are lovers, do kissing.
Imagine each surge (contraction) like a wave rolling in from the horizon, getting bigger and bigger and breaking on the shore. Then pulling back, gathering strength, in preparation for the next one.
It's all about the breathing. Maybe try breathing with her - a long, very long breath out through soft lips through the peak of the surge will allow her to ride the wave.
Do find a suitable moment to take a break: go for a walk if your energy is stagnating, or rest down if you are tired. A labour is like a journey, in chapters: rest down and then move on.