3.1.10 Emotional and psychological support for the woman in labour
Emotional and psychological support for the woman in labour consists of helping the mother to feel in control of herself, to feel accepted whatever her reactions and behaviour may be and to complete her labour feeling that she is a success, even if the outcome was not what she hoped for. There are several ways you can help her to achieve this.
Companion in labour
You do not have to work alone to give support to the mother during labour. There is evidence that the presence of constant support from the woman’s husband, close relatives or friends in labour favours good progress. There is no rule about who should support her if they care about her and are willing to help her. Most important, they should be people the mother wants to have at the birth.
Keep the woman informed about the progress of labour. The woman has the right to know about the progress of labour and the condition of herself and the baby. Counsel the woman and her support person about ongoing care such as physical care, comfort and emotional support.
Counsel the woman (and her support person) what to expect early in labour, before contractions become too painful, and later when contractions become stronger (where feasible). Explain about the contractions getting stronger and closer together as she gets closer to the time to deliver baby. Explain what to expect during the delivery. Reassure the woman that you will be with her throughout the process of giving birth.