Ten Tips on Comfort Measures for Labor and Delivery

Your body knows how to grow and nurture a baby, it also knows how to give birth. Comfort measures will allow you to respond to the pain, to feel supported, and allow your body to open and welcome your new baby to the world.

  1. Choose someone for support during your labor and birth. Make sure they are willing to spend hours rubbing your back, staying with you until you give birth, telling you that you can do this, and helping you stay active and moving during this awesome process.
  2. When you get to the hospital, claim the space. Bring your own clothes, favorite pictures, your pillow, smells you like, a symbol of strength, things for your baby, and music to listen to.
  3. Choose positions that will open your pelvis and help your baby to move down; try walking, slow dancing, sitting on a birth ball. Often doing a pelvic rock will help lower backaches.
  4. See if water helps, get in the shower, soak in the tub, spray yourself with a soft mister or put a wet wash cloth on your forehead.
  5. Have your support person massage your lower back, rub your hands and feet, and apply pressure where it feels good.
  6. Have confidence that your body knows what to do! You are strong. Your partner can encourage, love, and support you. Your positive attitude will help you get through it.
  7. Write down your wish list for labor and birth. Share it with your partner, then present your birth plan to your doctor or midwife during your pregnancy. Be sure a copy is in your chart and bring a copy with you for the nurses to read at the hospital. Let your support person, nurse, midwife, doctor know what is important to you! When women look back on their births, they remember if they were listened to.
  8. There are many things you can practice while you are pregnant that will feel good and you may use during labor. Become aware of your breathing and try different ways that help you relax. Often breathing slow or in a pattern will be calming. Read or write positive thoughts about yourself, the labor process, and your baby.
  9. Remember contractions come and go during labor. Some are small, rolling waves; others may feel like a tidal wave and can be overwhelming. With each contraction it may help to start a ritual such as taking a deep breath in and out, finding something to focus on (internal or external), moving/rocking, and being supported by your partner. When the contraction is over, take advantage of the time between to relax.
  10. Being up and mobile may often be the best remedy to respond to the pain and help the baby move down.

Welcome your baby with confidence! And sign up for prenatal classes and postpartum home visits FREE with United Way of Santa Fe County. www.uwsfc.org or 505-819-5484