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In a Pinch

What happens when your spouse/partner is in labor, and you didn't take a childbirth ed class?

(By the way, we always recommend taking a class! Here is a good one: )

Here are some comfort options that don't require a lot of time, planning, or even expertise! These can be done at home or in the hospital.

Let us know which things you used during your labor(s)!

  • Hip Squeeze or Counter Pressure

There are many variations and tricks to this, but the main idea is to apply pressure in the lower back/hips, in response to internal pressure the mom may be feeling. This can be especially helpful for those experiencing "back labor" due to baby's position.

This video gives a more thorough breakdown:

  • Hydrotherapy

Some laboring moms love it, while others hate it. It's worth trying out, because if they love it, they will REALLY love it. Water can help on two fronts-it can ease pain AND it can allow mom to relax and take some weight off her hips/lower back. Don't have access to a bathtub? Try a shower!

  • Change Positions or Locations

When in doubt, move the mama. Movement not only distracts mom, but it also allows for adjustments in her body, and it can even affect baby's position! While it may not always feel good, a change in body position is often helpful. One particularly helpful location is the toilet. Yep. Encourage mom to take a few minutes in the bathroom. It's quiet, she can have some privacy, and sitting on the toilet is a great position for moving that baby down!

We love these videos, which give great suggestions, including several ways to labor with an epidural!


Things like heating pads, ice packs, anything that can provide a topical relief and distraction is worth a try! It can be especially helpful when the mother is experiencing back labor.

  • Distraction

What does the mother usually find uplifting? Comforting? Encouraging? While you never know exactly what a mother will need in the middle of labor, you can always start with her usual comforts, whether it's familiar scents, a foot rub, her favorite music, etc.

One thing we've seen success with is using combs-yes, hair combs-as a nerve redirection technique. Essentially, squeezing combs in one, or both, of your hands, can "trick your brain" into focusing on that sensation instead of other sensations.

  • Massage or Comforting Touch

This doesn't need much elaboration. Physical touch is helpful for some, not as much for others. Often times our labor partners want to help and just aren't sure what feels good and what doesn't. It's a good to discuss signals or phrases ahead of time for things you DO NOT like, so you don't have to focus much on communication in the middle of labor.

What comfort measures did you use during your labor? Let us know in the comments below!

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