Tips for Labor and Birth

When to go to the hospital:

  •  When her contractions are 4 minutes apart, lasting 1 full minute, and they have been that way for 1 full hour. Or for short: 4-1-1

*Remember that statistically for second time mothers her labor will be about half the length of her first one. So keep that in perspective.

  • If her water breaks. Remember to think of T.A.C.O
    • TIME– You have 24-36 hours to get this baby born
    • AMOUNT-is it a trickle or a gush? Remember amniotic fluid is continuous. It won’t stop flowing until the baby is born.
    • COLOR– Should be clear or pink. If it is black, green, or cloudy be sure to mention to doctor ASAP. Baby is stressing for some reason and has passed his first bowel movement.
    • ODOR- Should be sweet smelling. Not fishy or ammonia like


(If her water breaks without the start of contractions, you can squeeze her ankles to begin contractions. 3 finger breadths away from her heel. The “squishy” part between her ankle bone and aquilies tendon. 3 seconds on 1 second off. This will begin contractions without the need of synthetic pitocin which makes contractions a lot more intense.)

 How to Naturally Induce Labor:

  •  What got you into this can definitely get you out of it! With your doctors permission, sex when mom in full term releases the natural hormones needed to stimulate labor. Man have prostates, and prostates produce prosteglandins, therefore semen is highly rich in prostaglandin. So get busy…let it rest for 30 min, and repeat! Nipple stimulation is a good thing too!
  • Be sure to go for long walks after, like at the beach. Nothing like trudging through sand to bring on contractions!
  • Rent a funny movie, nothing like belly laughing to get things rolling
  • And of course, massage those Ankles!


Back Labor Tips for Coach

She will be feeling all of her contractions in her lower back. This is due to the baby entering the pelvis in a posterior position, or “Sunny side up”. So you will need to try to turn the baby to an anterior position. He certainly can be born posterior, but it will be a bit more painful, and can last a lot longer. An epidural does not always take away the pain of back labor, so you will need to really be on your game. Be sure to pack in your labor bag a tennis ball, rolling pin, or a paint roller. This will help with massaging this area and save your hands. Below are a list of positions to help turn the baby.

  • Cheesy 7th Grade slow dance: You know what this is. Have her hands around your neck, her feet shoulder length apart, resting her head on your chest or shoulder. You have your hands around her waist and start swaying. ( I know you wish that “Journey” was playing right now ) Be sure to have some space between you two so that the belly can face down.
  •  Hands and Knees: This can either be done by getting on all fours, leaning on the ball, or against a chair. This is the most effective way because gravity is taking the heaviest part of the baby’s head and forcing it to turn down. While mom is in this position you can apply counter pressure as demonstrated in the photo below. DO NOT press on her tail bone, or on her kidneys, simply on the area that begins the curve. Usually where the elastic band on maternity pants are! The harder the better. This is where a tennis ball or rolling pin may come in handy.


Place your hands on her hip sockets, not the hip bone. The area where the femur goes into the hip socket. You are going to squeeze in and up. Mom should feel her pelvis open. This will allow more room for the baby to turn as gravity is helping, and will alleviate the pain mom is feeling. In between compressions, encourage mom to do pelvic tilts. In case you are unsure of what that is, it’s the same movement that got her in this situation.


  •  Squatting on a birth ball will also take away pressure from the back pain, open the pelvis an extra 2-3cm and allow gravity to do its job.
  • Lunges: While standing, put one foot on a chair or stool, and lunge. Remember we are trying to work a cork out of wine bottle.


When it comes time to push, remember it is the same muscles that are used to make a bowel movement, and it is the same muscles that are used to cough. So if she is too numb from the epidural, and she can’t feel any pressure or that urge to push, remind her to “cough” her baby out.

  • Remember to take a Cleansing breath at the beginning of the contraction and at the end to help give baby a boost of oxygen
  • Hold the breath in to give her the power to bear down
  • Relax your jaw; she will automatically tighten up her perineum if her jaw is clenched.
  • Instead of putting her chin to her chest, have her grab behind her knees, curl her shoulders, curl her ribs, and then look down at where baby is coming. This will give her an open airway.
  • If she has had an epidural remember to NOT hyper-extend her legs causing either a pulled hamstring, or damage to the lower back. (Ryan pulled my hamstring, when I was pushing Alaina out, good times )
  • Remind her not to be embarrassed if she happens to poop on the table while pushing, it’s not the end of the world, no one will care, and it is a good thing because it means she is pushing correctly!!


  • Place a warm compress such as a warm washcloth, on her perineum, during the pushing phase. The heat will soften the tissue, and allow it to stretch better (Only time you would not do this is if mom has been placed on a blood thinner)
  • Have the nurse massage the perineum while pushing with oil. Not necessary before labor or delivery
  • Use the squatting or side lying position if possible
  • Have the doctor apply counter pressure to the top of the vaginal opening
  • Press the insoles of her feet. A natural reflex to help relax her pelvic floor
  • Start doing kegel exercises



Copyright© 2012 Danielle Gauss,IBCLC,ICCE/ All Rights Reserved

This entry was posted in Labor and Birth, Pregnancy. Bookmark the permalink.