How to Be an Active Birth Partner During Transition
Transition is one the hardest and most intense phases of labor. It may be challenging to be a supportive and active birth partner during this phase depending on what and how Mom is feeling. The following steps will help guide you during this difficult stage-and allow you to be the best partner you can be.
6 Steps to Be an Active Birth Partner During Transition
1. Recognize the signs of transition.
During transition, the cervix continues to dilate from 7cm to 10cm and the baby is making his way lower into the pelvic inlet. Contractions seem to come much closer together and will be much stronger. Mom may have a slight break in between contractions or she may not.
2. Encourage her.
Let her know that this is the last phase of labor and that she is almost there. Tell her how strong she and the baby are. If you give any directions such as suggesting a position change, make them simple. She will not be able to comprehend a lot of information during this time.
3. Remind her that this is the shortest stage of labor and that it won’t be much longer before her baby is in her arms.
Give her lots of compliments during this time, even if she is being mean to you.
4. Do not leave her.
During this stage, moms need to feel supported and comforted by someone they know and love. Leaving her to do anything may result in a panic situation, especially if you’ve been her only support the entire time. If something urgent arises that you must take care of, make sure that there is either a nurse or a doula with her.
5. Help her establish a new ritual if the old one isn’t working anymore.
She may not like change at this point, but suggesting something different is a good idea. You may also need to help keep her focused with her breathing if she is doing the Lamaze method. If she is not doing Lamaze, make sure that she is breathing in a regular pattern.
Holding her breath may result in the baby not receiving an adequate oxygen supply, and breathing too fast may result in hyperventilating. Help her regulate her breathing during the contraction.
6. Keep calm.
During this phase it is not uncommon to see moms cry or become very upset. Realize that this is a normal part of the phase due to the overwhelming intensity of the contractions. Keep calm by keeping your voice low and steady and reassuring her. If you become upset, she will notice it and it may make things worse. If she is crying, allow her to do so. Crying is often a great emotional release that moms need during this time.