Labor at times can be overwhelming, and causes some women to feel like they are losing control and may make them panic. The following tips are meant to be suggestions to assist you in seeing the signs of overwhelm or panic in her so you can help:
- During labor itself, observe her carefully. When she first show signs of struggle during a contraction — such as breathing more loudly, moaning or has restless and agitated movements—stand up and breathe with her rather than wait until she panics.
- If, however, she does lose control — perhaps a contraction comes up very sharply and suddenly, or you leave the room for a few minutes and return to find her obviously overwhelmed, do the following:
- Get in a position where she can see you, preferably standing beside her or sitting on the bed. Position yourself so you are looking her in the eye.
- Hold her hand or face to get her attention through touch. This helps her feel your presence.
- Demonstrate a slow, controlled breathing rate. Do the breathing with her, loud enough so she can follow your lead. Slow her breathing to a quiet, rhythmic pace.
- Stay with her as long as is required to help her gain control. Put on the call-light for your nurse, and ask for assistance!
- If all else fails, bring your face close to hers so she must look at you. Focus her attention. If she cannot make eye contact with you, place your hands on her cheeks and focus her attention to your eyes. Be persistent!
- Most important, do not leave her and keep yourself calm and relaxed.
Although this sounds simple, it's hard work being a coach. During practice breathing sessions, have her act as if she were losing control.