Over the past couple of years I began to notice that I'm often telling my clients and/or partners a few of the same things while I am supporting them during labor; especially before I've joined them. I have created a quick reference sheet of the most common advice/support I give.
This would be great to print and put on your fridge!
Rules for Labor:
Early Labor (ctx 6-20 min apart lasting 20-50 sec, 0-3cm):
If you are tired, sleep.
Do not try to "walk" yourself into labor. If it is an unmedicated birth you wish to have, you will need your energy later.
Do as you would normally do for this time of day.
EAT (as if you were preparing for a marathon). Drink a TON of water.
Pee every hour.
Do the "miles circuit": http://www.milescircuit.com.
Do not time ctx until they seem to be coming like clockwork every six min or so and are lasting for at least a minute.
Give your Doula a heads up!
(Any blood when you wipe is a GOOD thing, it tells us your cervix is changing! Vomit, poo... are both great too!)
If you water brakes... awesome! No big deal, just note the color.
There is normally a big change that happens in a mom behavior between Early/Active Labor. Mom may go from very happy and talkative to be inwardly focused and unable to talk during ctx, this is a great time to call your doula and have her come over.
Active Labor (ctx 3-5 min apart lasting 50-90 sec, 4-7cm):
Call your doula.
Move, move, move. Do not stay in the same position for more than 45 min - hour. (Every position change will spur a strong ctx, don't be afraid, you can do this.)
Gravity forcing positions are the best (unless you have back pain- if you do, hand a knees all the way! A heating pad on you lower back or pressure applied to lower back should also help.)
Eat. Drink. Pee. Repeat.
Great time to use the tub.
Doula should be with you at this time.
Use your breath as a tool.
(Good time to go to birth place. If choosing to use medication, this would be the time.)
Transition (ctx 3 min a part 90 sec, 8-10cm):
Tub, tub, tub!
You can do this. This is the strongest, shortest time in labor. It will feel so good when this passes and you can push.
During transition not much with really "work" to relieve what you are feeling, this is a time when most women want to run away. Hold strong. You are so close.
Get loud, deep low moans exert much less energy that high pitched moans. Feel free to get mad at it every now and then.
Sink into it, let it be, try not to pull away.
Find a focus, something to pull you through. Communicate when you can in between so we can best serve you.
Gravity forcing positions are great. If you need a rest, side lying works well. Think of opening your pelvis.
Remember that it takes a while for most women to get pushing "down", if you want/need more direction please ask, there are a lot of tips we can give, we just do not want to interrupt your work.
First time moms normally push for 1-2 hours.
Pushing feels good! For the first time you get to work WITH your body and not just "deal" with it.
Love, Your Doula
I conquered one of my very big fears as a doula yesterday: Doula-ing a very experienced Doula. Doula Mali aka Mali Munch Hawthorne, thank you for allowing to witness the birth of you and Jordan as parents! You sang baby Wayland right into your arms.... and then he came out singing.
My favorite lines I heard:
"No, I don't want to do that... but I know you're right!"
"I always tell people to sink into it, it's crap, you can't sink into it!"
"I had envisioned my birth to very tactile, but now I don't want anyone to touch me."
To the Midwives: "Don't try you Jedi mind tricks on me!"
And there were many others that including some very colorful words :)
Mali, you had me rolling.
I can now say that I am no longer afraid to Doula a Doula. Thank you for not making me feel like I needed to add "fluff" to the process. Thank you for allowing me to say the things we say. Thank you for trusting me.