Water Birth

Information for labour support person

This is a gift that has been given to you to be present through this wonderous, tumultuous journey. You will remember this for the rest of your life. Honour it Labour is a slowly progressing and changing state. It can take a long time (average from 1st contraction is 36 hrs). Sometimes it can stop and start over several days.The birthing person needs support, love, tender care, understanding, patience, reassurance and your strength.

Labour can be:

  • Exhausting physically and emotionally. The cascade of hormones means emotions will swing. Be calm reassuring and encouraging. Use positive words.
  • Intense and frightening especially the first time. Sometimes things can feel out of your control especially if there is intervention. Remember the final decisions are with the birthing person and you.
  • Beautiful and intensely emotional. Life changing
  • Difficult to watch the person you love in pain and your instinct will be to stop the pain or to do something. Remember this is pain with a purpose… the purpose of bringing a new life into the world. Unless the birth plan includes pharmacological pain relief your suggesting or encouraging to have an epidural is NOT helpful. Don’t encourage toward intervention because you are having trouble coping. If there is a medical reason for pharmacological pain relief I will discuss this with you both at the time.

It is important you look after yourself with food and fluids also. They need you to make it through to the end. Sleep when they sleep so you don’t fall asleep on them when they need you the most.

DON’T be texting on your phone all through the labour. This person is your priority, here and now not your friends, family nor work.


  • Have a discussion before labour and KNOW what it is they want, so you can speak and stand for them if they can’t or when they are in transition.
  • Talk about the birth plan and especially plans for pharmacological pain relief and interventions such as epidurals, artificial rupture of membranes, timing of cord clamping, cord cutting vitK for baby etc.
  • Discuss and know the words to use that will support and encourage your birthing partner.

Early labour:

  • Encourage rest, sleep and eat in early labour. IGNORE it as long as you can.
  • There may be excitement with the first contraction… usually there is a long long long way to go. It is most important that they and you go into established labour well rested, hydrated and nourished. Try to keep them calm remind them there may be many hours ahead and to rest.
  • If it is daytime and they can’t sleep, carry on with normal daily routines
  • Distraction … go for a walk (this can encourage labour), spoil them, do something nice for her, go out for a meal, binge watch TV….
  • REST eat and drink. CALM
  • If her waters break and they are green or brown let me know.

Established labour:

  • Try and keep calm and relaxed. Anyone in labour is intensely sensitive to other people’s emotions. Calmness supports the labour hormones and the progress of labour.
  • Labour is hard hard work. At some point they will not feel like eating anything. It is important to keep fluids and energy levels up despite this, otherwise labour may stall or even stop. Encourage and remind them to drink and suck on food/nibbles, lollipops, lemonade ice blocks, jelly beans. Drinks from a sippy bottle or use a straw in a cup
  • Colourless drinks because at some stage they will feel nauseous and colourless drinks aren’t so … messy.
  • Cups of ice
  • Inspirational notes/words
  • They may feel cold so fetch warm covers. Then they may feel hot .. sipping on ice, fan, cold wet flannels around the neck or on the forehead.
  • Encourage them to keep moving once they is in strong labour. Help shift position/s
  • Hold their leg/s if they need you to.
  • Support them to walk and move.
  • Some people like touch in labour … some don’t. Some want massage during a contraction, some don’t. Some want massage in between contractions, some don’t. None of that mamby-pamby rubbing – proper massage… ask me to show you if you don’t know how to do this and ASK what they want. Don’t be surprised if they change their mind from what they told you or what was in the birth plan. Or even if it changes during labour. This is common and usual. They are in pain and trying to cope with it all.
  • Hip pressure is often a favourite during a contraction. Ask me how.
  • Massaging base of spine during contractions – to help interrupt pain messages to the brain. …especially for back pain
  • If they gets sleepy or dozey and appears to be a “little out of it” keep it quiet and let them be. Maybe they will want/enjoy gentle massage or strokes at this time
  • Keep a sense of humour…. You’re gonna need it. But don’t laugh AT them!
  • Sitting and keeping an eye on them in the bath or being in the bath for support if they want you in.
  • Heat sometimes helps … on the base of the back or on the tummy….talk to me how we can do this because there are rules around the use of heat-packs in hospital.
  • Lavender for soothing/calming
  • Blowing raspberries for constipation and pushing in second stage
  • Encourage an empty bladder and bowels throughout labour to make room for baby to move down.
  • Keep the room dim … dim lighting supports the cascade of hormones
  • Talk encouraging words. Be loving. This person is bringing a baby into the world.
  • When they are in strong labour they cannot concentrate on what you nor anyone else is saying … don’t talk to them nor expect them to make a decision during a contraction…and don’t let anyone else push them into making a decision in the middle of a contraction.
  • You can cry if you feel like it … it is an appropriate time.
  • Ask me all the questions you need to.
  • Don’t take anything personally.
  • It’s ok to step out for a while if it is all getting too much… Just let me know what’s going on, so I can support you both appropriately.
  • I may ask for your help to move, change or position changes.
  • Labour can be messy…This is raw nature please don’t speak words of revulsion. This person is awesome and powerful, look to the beauty of that.

“If they don’t look like a goddess in labour, someone isn’t treating them right”

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Every birth is a unique and personal experience. We will work with you to develop a birth plan that meets your needs. Providing you with the information to feel prepared and ready for your most amazing journey.