#105 | Tips for Supporting Women in Labor with Guest Host Doula Krisha

June 9, 2021

Husbands and partners, this is one is for you! Today, on the show we have guest host Krisha of @serenitylifedoula speaking with us about the best ways to support mothers in labor.  Did we mention that Krisha is a birth doula with a 100% vaginal birth rate? And she gives all that credit to the birthing mother AND their partners for doing all the tricks and tips we share with you today!  Birth partners have an important job in labor and knowing the best possible ways to provide support go a long way toward mothers and their partners having the birth experience they desire.  So, tune in today and get the low-down on all things birth support!

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View Episode Transcript

Even if she looks distracted and focused, I promise you she will remember the tone of your voice. The look in your eye. What exactly you were doing, she will remember is part of the process using the letter roll with it and continue on and not take offense to anything that she could say or do in that most heated intense part of the birthing process. Power is in the ability to artfully gently supportively hold the space for the person allow her to focus on everything happening within her skin, which means you will be taking care of everything outside of her skin. 

I'm Cynthia Overgard, owner of HypnoBirthing of Connecticut, childbirth advocate and postpartum support specialist. And I'm Trisha Ludwig, certified nurse midwife and international board certified lactation consultant. And this is the Down To Birth Podcast. Childbirth is something we're made to do. But how do we have our safest and most satisfying experience in today's medical culture? Let's dispel the myths and get down to birth.

Today we're going to talk about how best to support her in labor and we have Krishna Crosley from Dallas, Texas with us to co host today to talk about this topic as Krishna we know this is an area close to your heart as a doula Is that correct? Yes, absolutely. Okay, great. So before we jump into our favorite ways to tell birth companions, how to support women in labor, how to support their woman in labor. Why don't you just tell us a little bit about yourself? Well, I am a doula. I'm a certified birth doula with donee international been a doula for a little over seven years. And I'm a natural birth doula I love natural birth. I think a woman's body is utterly amazing and will stretch just enough to have that baby and I have been completely out of hospital and doing only home and birth center birth for the last two and a half years. My personal clients I've have 100% vaginal birth rate, which I'm pretty proud of, but my mom has do the work. I'm also a childbirth educator, lactation educator, Billy binding specialists. I love educating about essential oils and I'm also your natural birth Trainer with my train for birth workshop. My passion lies with first time moms and one with the heart of an athlete who desire at home or person or birthing experience and I service the Dallas Fort Worth and surrounding areas. That's where I'm at. Right, cool.

So are you saying in two and a half years, none of his women had to transfer to a hospital.

I've had a couple transfer. We've all had vaginal births, yes. But he still managed to have vaginal births, even though some of the circumstances like water rupturing, you know, 24 hours plus ended up into a transfer things like that. That's impressive.

Yeah, since one day you'll of course be at unnecessary cenarion birth that day will invariably come but this is such a high vaginal birth rate. say if you could put in a phrase can explain that unusually high vaginal birth rate. What have they done to increase their odds would you say have conditioned their body and their mind for that natural birth experience. I've been an athlete, all of my life. I played division one collegiate volleyball, I tried out for the women's volleyball team Olympics in the 90s. And so I'm really big on train, train, train, practice, practice, practice, and doing all these homebirths birth center birth, I have realized that, oh, I can train moms to actually labor naturally because you watch her move and change positions and labor naturally. So I came up with a workshop that actually teaches moms and their partners how to labor naturally and they go home and they practice it 34 plus weeks to take my workshop and they practice daily, like on the daily and they're totally prepared. They step up to their starting line with competence whenever their baby picks their birthing game day, and they train and it's amazing difference. I can really tell the ones that are like diligently train, train, train, and then the ones who maybe haven't, but overall the experiences are pretty amazing because they they did the work they educated they did the practice. I know we're supposed to talk about partners supporting labor today, but can you just can you just tell us like a couple things that you help these women trained to do? Are we talking about like practicing positions or prenatal movements that help strengthen their legs there? What is it?

Yes, so I teach them squats. I teach them lunges, and I teach them like curb walking to be moving their body like moving pelvis during pregnancy is a moving pelvis at birth. It's one of my lines, I like to say, and but I also teach them, okay, this exercise will help with this phase of labor. You know, if you do this, this is going to help move your baby here through the pelvis. So I'm very specific, but I teach the mom the movements, but I also teach the partner how to look at her body and see what's going on and know where baby is and what you do next, to help encourage baby to move down. So I'm very all about movement, but practicing those exercises. One is, hands and knees, practice crawling around the floor, on your hands and knees, holding your body up on your hands and knees, most moms who labor naturally will be bent over holding their bodies up, we're built correctly, we don't have a lot of strength in our arms or arms are kind of small compared to our leg muscles. And so I'm like, here are your drills, you need to practice daily to build that endurance and stamina physically. So you can actually hold your body up because doing natural births, we know that you're going to get tired holding your body up and you're going to try to change position, your body's like, Nope, I gotta go back. Right. So that's by watching all these natural births. I've learned. This is what moms do naturally. So now let's cater to that. And let's kind of practice those in that way. They're literally conditioned to have natural birth.

That's interesting that you say that, because we just did a poll on Instagram very recently about upright versus birthing on your back. And some of the moms who said they ended up on their back, many of them actually said it was because they got tired, they got fatigued, being upright or being on their hands and knees for hours and hours. They just didn't have the stamina, and they ended up on their back as a result of it.

Yeah, yeah, I look at the whole package like cardiovascular, respiratory movement techniques, all of that, you know, because it's a full package. It's literally the biggest sporting event of your life you'll ever run, it'll be one of the hardest things that you'll ever do. But it's so doable. And if you go in and you walk in, I can do this. You can do it.

Right, you would never enter a marathon without training, you would never expect to finish a marathon successfully. Without doing weeks and weeks, months of training. It'll be the same attention.

And then a topic what I have to throw in nor would you ever run a marathon without consuming liquid and food substance.

Yes. And that's actually one of the things I give the partners I'm like, okay, it's your job to make sure she's drinking this amount of water, especially during early labor, why she can get it down, you would not run a marathon and burn a whole bunch of calories doing it and not feel the body properly or water the body properly. That uterus has to function properly to have a nice flowing interval workout, so to speak.

Not to mention that a marathon is generally under five hours. Labor is four times that long, often.

Yes, generally over five hours, but not always. Not always. Not always. Okay. So Krishna, let's jump in, you already started to allude to the first tip that you'd like to give birth companions. So let's hear a little more detail around that first one you were just mentioning.

Okay. So one thing I like to educate the partners on is actually giving mom belaboring mom water making sure she's drinking enough and I tell them to make sure she's drinking enough that she pees every hour. it's twofold. One is the bladder is actually underneath the uterus and baby and it gets squished and it has to have no liquid in it for the baby to drop down into the pelvis. So she's going to the bathroom regularly. Then she's one injuring her bladder to it. She's getting a lot of fluids down which is awesome. also giving them bites to eat and eating. Make sure she's feeling her body. Well do you there's great things partners can do to help the laboring mom, and it gives them something new. They know they can do. Okay, great. What else have you got? Another thing I like to tell partners is it's their job to time contractions. I don't prefer moms to time contractions because they're putting their body on a clock, your body's going to labor how it's intended to labor. It's an innate birthing process built within. And we want the body to just go on its own. So if the partner has to communicate to a doula or the midwife or their health care provider, then they're the ones that can keep track of the time on their phone or their watch or whatever and the mom just kind of Labor's otherwise she's gonna be like, Why? What happened to that and where's my next one, and it really puts them on a clock and it throws the birthing, hormones and Joan, off a little bit. So I encourage partners to be the one who handles the clock, the phone, the timer type of thing.

Yeah, and really the birthing partner doesn't even To communicate those times to the moms, Cynthia and I are both big fans of not having to spend too much time worrying about length of contractions or how often they're coming, or how close they're coming together. Yes, it is important information when you have to call the midwife or communicate with the provider. But we don't want that information to get in the way of the moms birthing process. And the mom will definitely know the moment that it's time to make the change if they're going from home to birth center or home to hospital.

Yes, I want mom lost in their birth zone and labor land.

So just to be sure, I'm understanding because it seems we all agree that we don't want that mom in her prefrontal cortex, analyzing and evaluating her labor while she's in it. I actually recommend to couples like I don't see any value personally in timing contractions or surges. So tell me what, for the people who do do it? What is the real benefit of doing it? Why should anyone do it? Since we all seem kind of on the same page that it doesn't really serve the birthing mother? What is the value? Is it simply up until that point that you reach the doula and the midwife or doctor and then you don't need to time them anymore? Or is there an additional value in continuing to time them throughout labor?

I personally as a doula don't time contractions anymore, I don't feel like it's necessary, I'm going to pay more attention to what mom's body is communicating to me based and how she's sounding how she's moving. I think it is a societal thing that we agree upon that you have to time your contractions, not everyone's gonna have contractions the same and I think we are so as a society fixed on this is exactly how it's supposed to be. And then when it's not, it throws everybody into a panic, because they don't know that it couldn't be a little bit different mom, the mom to Mom, I think it's something that first time moms do a lot more than second or third time moms. I mean, by then you absolutely know. But I think in the beginning the very early stages of labor, sometimes timing your contractions, having a general sense of them is helpful in determining if you are just in prodromal labor, or if you are getting into active labor. And really the only reason you're going to need that information is to answer the question. And when the midwife or provider asks you because they will most of the time ask you, it's always very clear, if the mom is still making the phone call to the provider, it's usually a sign that the contractions are still far enough apart. But you know, you don't really need to be there. But if the partner is calling, then we know and we don't even really need to know how close the contractions are coming or not at that time, because the mom is no longer able to communicate on the phone. That's a sure sign that she's in active labor. So Cynthia, to answer your question, can we use that data to help decide if it's time to get in the car and make the 45 minute drive to the mom's home? Or is it time for the mom who may live far from the birthing center or far from the hospital? Is it worthwhile for her to make the journey?

Yeah, it is you just brought back a memory Trisha that when I called Amy at my home birth, but ss homebirth. I remember calling her at about I think 4:30pm. And I remember saying to her, I'm not sure if I'm in labor, I would hate for you to come out of your way. Well, I'll just take a shower, and I'll take my time heading down. And I was like, Okay, I'm really sorry in advance if you come and nothing happens. She's like, No, no, don't worry. That's our job. She was great. And then she showed up and then you showed up. And Vanessa was born at 9:17pm. So it's like that woman who said I don't even know if I'm in labor who did make the phone call even. It just reminds me of my favorite thing that I'm always saying it's childbirth is an art and not a science. And we try so hard to make rhyme or reason out of it. And it can help us. It can't there's their little rules of thumb that are helpful. But we don't want any mom listening to over analyze and to think, oh, gosh, but they're not this far apart, or I am able to talk, right?

Yeah, it's true. But with my third eye, it's the exact same thing. I called the midwife at 1am. And said, I think labor starting, you know, I'm just giving you the heads up to come. And 30 minutes later, my husband was calling and saying you got to come now. I mean, it can be that quick of a transition. So yes, you can't say just because my contractions were only coming up every five minutes at 1am. And at 130. They were coming every two to three minutes. You're even a minute apart like it can make it can change that quickly. So it is an art not a science. And I ended up having the baby before the midwife arrived. Your midwife? Yeah, but I didn't need to be anyway. You need to come that quickly. You don't need to be a midwife. You just you just need hands to receive them.

That's very true. I tell my clients when I'm doing their prenatal visits in their home, I'm like she won't be calling me you will be.

That's a sure sign for me to get in the car if it's if it's not the mother calling.

Okay, so I'll throw in one or two that I like to tell her companion's, the first thing I like to say is just to get your head around supporting her is allow her to focus on everything happening within her skin, which means you will be taking care of everything outside of her skin. So it's for you to make sure the lights are dim if she wants the lights dim that providers who walk into the room are respectful that they treat it like a reverence space that they're whispering if she doesn't want sound, that she has music if she wants music, but she has so much work to do, by focusing, and any observer witnessing that scene would assume the partner is doing more work. But it's like watching someone in a yoga pose, they are concentrating so intently on holding that pose on keeping their physiology relaxed, on breathing deeply that we have to make sure that environment is right for her. So do you have anything to add to that anything about that space, that environment, what we can do for that birthing mother?

I agree with you. And yeah, be like her protector, it's something you can't fix. I know men have a tendency to want to be the fixer and fix everything. But there's nothing to fix in labor, he just let her lose herself in the birthing process. And then if she asked for something, make the change or dim the lights or ask people to whisper just like you said, I think that's a great thing for partners be able to help out with and also be part of the experience.

Yes, I would agree with all of those things. I mean, no labouring person should not have to worry at all about anything that's happening externally to herself. And as her partner, don't be alarmed or surprised if her needs or wishes change on a dime. From what you may have thought she wanted, she may suddenly hate the music that she thought she was gonna want to listen to through all of her birth, she may decide that the candle that you lit, smells horrendous and is making her want to vomit and you need to quickly eliminate, you know, the candle that she was so sure she was going to want to labor by. And you know, to not take offense to any of these things if she if she suddenly feels or acts very differently than how you thought she might feel. And you're trying to do all these wonderful things to support her. And suddenly she just doesn't even want you, you know, touching her somewhere. All of that is part of the normal process of a woman going through her experience in labor. In my home birth Trisha, I don't know if you'll remember this. But there was a moment when Amy was whispering to you were both kind of huddled on the bed, looking at me lovingly, affectionately, warmly, positively reflecting on your own home births. And I think she whispered Oh, yeah, I remember I got about in two pushes. She whispered, she wasn't even using her voice. And I looked up, it was like nails on a chalkboard. I looked up and I said to her, would you to please stop talking? I mean, and all you were doing was whispering positive words. And even that it was too much a matter. Sometimes it's really magnified to you. It's magnified, yeah, magnified. And then you think this is why women have hospital births and come out telling other women It was a negative experience, because it might have taken just the slightest thing to annoy her, where she's now associating that emotion with birth itself. Whereas had she births under different circumstances, she might have had a more positive experience. So even in a hospital, it can be reverent, it can be silent and beautiful. But that is ultimately what we want the birth companion to focus on. And another example that falls under this umbrella is if she doesn't love the nurse or the provider, that can be the birth companions role to go out asked for the charge nurse asked for a replacement, and they will provide one because it is critically important that she feels safe with whoever is in that room.

Exactly. A lot of people don't know that they can ask for different birth team members.

If only when we did that it would be well received.

We don't want to worry about easier. I had a couple years ago who switched from a home birth to the hospital, their baby was breech. And they needed a C section and they flat out refused one for two hours. They were just she was feeling fine. She was insisting on having a breech birth, the doctor was refusing. And the husband was really supporting his wife. And ultimately, after two hours they relinquished and the husband said to the doctor, you know what, fine, it's not going to be you. It's not going to be you. Because an ego battle happens between the husband and the doctor during that two hours and he said it find it we're going to do it. It's not going to be you the doctor left. A little while later, another doctor came in very softly shook their hands introduced himself and I said I understand the C section is in order here. Do you have any questions? And that became a really satisfying part of their birth experience because they just had a bad vibe whether they were responsible for creating that or not. It just underscores their right to change the provider who is in the room.

Yeah, absolutely. 

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Well, you just made me think of another one. And that is to make sure that you understand their birth wishes that you have spent the time throughout the pregnancy going, either taking a childbirth education course together, going to the prenatal visits, working on the birth plan together, but it's so important that you're on the same page about your birth choices, because when it comes time to give birth, you will be her advocate, and you may have to strongly be her advocate,

one that I really like to talk about that I don't hear very much is what gets pregnant gets you unpregnant. So it's the same type of hormonal flow within the body and that oxytocin flowing between the couple that gets you pregnant helps get you pregnant, just like touching, rubbing the shoulders, kissing the forehead, that connection, holding hands, just that connection really drives the oxytocin levels up with the laboring mom and the partner. And it just really promotes the hormonal exchange supposed to be happening in the birthing process to continue I really, I'm more of the hip squeezer and changing positions and techniques like that. And if at any point, she's like, Don't touch me, then we all we don't touch at that point. And then we offer again, a little bit later down the road, see if she's willing to have touch. And then when she's ready, do it again. And I've seen the birthing process really escalate. When that connection between the couple is with touch and feeling and things like that, it's pretty neat thing to witness because birth is very, very vulnerable time. So that connection and allowing them to have that vulnerable time as you're me as a doula quietly back there squeezing hips or helping or change positions or whatever is it's it's their moment. It's they made this baby, they're going to have this baby. Yeah, I mean, you're reminding me of other things that I do say to to birth companions in my classes. And one is that it's kind of a bit of a dichotomy. One is that you will experience intense powerlessness, we don't know why nature has made her all powerful in this entire process, and made you utterly powerless. I mean, the birth companion literally could not even be present. And she will continue to carry that baby birth that baby and be able to breastfeed that baby. So it's just bonus to have that loving person by your side. But it is an overwhelming experience in powerlessness. I don't know how doulas and midwives do their work, because I can't imagine doing that work. Because you have to be so comfortable with supporting that person, while they're completely in control of that experience. And you're ultimately not in control of it. But the interesting thing about the birth companion is that I say this as well. The most important thing for you to remember every moment of this birth is she must feel safe. These are the same organs involved in sex, the same hormones involved in sex. The brain is by far the most important birthing organ as it's the most important sexual organ and you are powerful in that you're the person who makes her feel safe. You're the person with whom she does relinquish emotionally and physically. So that's, in that sense, a very powerful person in the room, and kind of what you're talking about, right? Yeah, bring out that part of their relationship together to get it all going.

The power is in the ability to artfully gently supportively hold the space for the person. So what that means is to create exactly what you said create the safe, supportive, non judgmental space, whether you're the partner, the doula or the midwife, you are there to keep that space safe and supportive for her to do all of the things that she needs to do to go from point A to point B to having her baby. And that you know, that sometimes looks like sitting in the corner and doing nothing. Yeah, that sometimes looks like being in there with your hands on her back or her forehead or suggesting this or that or making a strong recommendation or making a gentle recommendation. It can be all of those things.

It's also not back to the point you made earlier about not taking offense, if something should come out of her mouth that you're not keen with. It's part of the process, you have to let her roll with it and continue on and not take offense to anything that she could say. Or do in that most heated intense part of the birthing process.

It's always kind of funny when that happens in labor, because usually, when a comment like that comes out, it's it's a contraction, when the contraction is over, the mother will apologize. And then everybody has a moment of laughter. Which is also really good in labor. Having those funny moments.

What have you heard women say to their partners in labor? I have only heard one story in all these years of a woman who kind of got all emotional and used bad language. I never hear about that. And what what have you heard? Have you heard women saying things to their partners that are like what I mean, it could be any snappy comment. It could be a swear, you know, a curse, like, like, leave me alone or just too harsh, harsh language. Well, you have bad breath, get away from me. Yeah, yeah, your breath. I can't stand your breath in my face.

I mean, I've been gripped by the caller before by a mom who was laboring in a tense heated moment and pulled in tightly to her face. And she let me have it and I let her do it. You held space during that moment?

I did. She needed that. That was like a release for her to help with that. And she was transitioning.

And I again, I don't know how you guys do that work. It's just, it's incredible to me, thank God, you're out there doing it. Okay, I thought of two more. Okay. One thing that I say, I always say the first day of class when I start to give a little bit of attention to how the partners can start to envision themselves during that labor because they have to create a vision of themselves, supporting her loving her. And I often say do what you're doing right now you're by her side. You're receptive. You're with her in this process. But I also say, look, this is my opinion. And I'm going to put this out there. If she disagrees, she will tell you later that she doesn't agree with my opinion. Otherwise, assume she agrees with this. It's my hope, when she looks up at your face at any moment in labor, that she sees your loving eyes looking back into hers. And it's very much not my hope that she will look up and see you killing time on your iPhone. Because this might be a long labor. This might be a long process, you just might be bored. Oh, well. But be present. When she looks up at you be there looking back. thoughts on that? That's a good one. Very important. Yeah, I actually don't see a lot of that since I've been out of the hospital for two and a half years. My partners I doula are very hands on, they're very tentative, they actually want to help they want to be part of the process. But I have heard, it's more likely, I guess, in a hospital setting, we're kind of just waiting. Or maybe they've had an epidural or something like that. Or maybe the partner isn't even educated and don't even know what they're supposed to be doing. So they fill effect, and they don't know what to do. So they're like, well, I'm just gonna sit over here and be over here. They just and that's part of going to the appointments, getting the education as well. So they also know what to expect and what's to come. And I think that would actually help decrease looking at the phone. I think there's a lot of that the lack of discussing it in advance, the lack of pointing it out is something that could be annoying or disruptive or feel like lack of support to the mother, which it is, I mean, think how addicted people are to their phones, they're in an important business meeting, and they're checking their phone every 20 minutes to ask them to put it down in labor. It will be so habitual for them to just pick it up and do it in a moment where she seems fine that a really do think it's something that needs to be addressed prenatally and discuss and say, you know, this is not going to feel good to me. If I look up and you're scrolling, because I don't think they all will realize it just like you said, Yeah, it's a betrayal you don't it's just part of our everyday life. And we don't think so I agree. And at this point, and I always when I do my visits prenatal I tell Mom, I'm like, you know, you should put your phone in a drawer or your bag, we don't need a phone to have a baby. We don't want it again, it goes back to just letting your body go through the process with that as least amount of distractions as possible.

Another point, Cynthia that you made about taking the time as the partner to envision yourself as who you want to be in that labor. Just to elaborate on that a little bit. Creating that vision of yourself as a calm, supportive, Zen person and labor is so important because she is going to be looking to you as we already said to keep that space safe. And if you haven't done that work in advance and you haven't educated yourself and something feels scary or uncommon. Trouble in labor because sometimes women can look like they are in a lot of discomfort, it can be overwhelming to partners. And that person needs to know how to keep their poker face or keep their supportive face. Keep that Zen ness so that they don't increase the stress levels in the mother if she feels scared.

Yeah, which reminds me of one of the other remaining points I wanted to talk about today. And that's that the birth companion needs to they need to make sure they're taking care of themselves so that they can provide for her. So when they're leading up to the guest date, I say you have to make sure you're not staying up late watching movies that you're hydrating, you could go to bed at 1131 night, and she just might wake you up at 1215. And you just had 45 minutes of sleep and for all you know you're heading into a 24 hour labor. And if you're not taking care of yourself, you're not going to be much support to her. So you must take care of yourself, you must have a responsibility to drink two to three liters of water a day, get sufficient sleep, take care of yourself emotionally. And then add by the way this is practice for the early postpartum months, because she will need you greatly and you're not going to be able to provide if you're not taking care of yourself. Excellent point. Many anecdotes on the last two points we made one I had a mom tell me after her birth, who had the longest pushing stage six hours. And during it, she looked up and saw her provider on Instagram flipping through images on Instagram. And that just broke my heart when I heard that that's so that was rare. And I don't hope to ever hear a story like that again. But that was years ago. It's maybe not that rare. But that's what I want to talk about. I'm thinking of the I'm thinking of the doctors and the nurses in the room watching the monitors sitting scrolling their phones, all the time when moms are pushing that's happening all the time. It's just not in their face
on to her I mean, and if your part isn't important to her. And if your part is doing it that'll hurt. I mean, what how your partner is conducting themselves during the labor is making a permanent imprint in her brain. Even if she looks distracted and focused, I promise you, she'll remember the tone of your voice, the look in your eye, what exactly you were doing, she will remember and many women fall far more in love with their partners after this experience, because they were so cared for they were so attended to. The other little mini anecdote I had was that I had a mom, a couple who took my class and she had she had a just fine birth. But she shared in the postpartum group, she was really mad at her husband, because he had a cold during the birth and he kept he kept sleeping and closing his eyes. And of course, the cold wasn't his fault. But she was resentful because she was like, Oh, he has a cold Oh, poor guy. He's lying back with NyQuil because he's not feeling well. And you know, if there's any room for those partners to take a little bit better care of themselves, get the sleep they need, take some good supplements, just try to reduce any likelihood of not being at your best because that becomes part of the story. You know, and I'm sure he didn't want to feel that way either. Yeah, that's funny. That's actually kind of a funny story. Don't get the cold every week or girl like we can. We can take care of ourselves. When we get right down, we can look back and find out why. It's like, oh, I've been going to bed too late or I've been not right.

Yeah. And keep the gas tank full. Don't have to be stopping for gas on the drive to the birth center or the hospital.

That's one I've never heard never crossed my mind like the most common one. Really yes leading in though it two weeks before your guest date, you better make sure that every time you go out, you're more than half full in your gas tank. Oh my gosh, I also have a real on my Instagram page. And it shows like the gear you should take with you you need to vomit bucket a bottle of water, a wet washcloth if you're in the central oils, peppermint oil for nausea, and then trash bags and also get a like a pee pad. So if the water breaks on the way, then there's less mess to clean up afterwards. So it's like a partner survival kit to transport to the environment and make sure you know how to install that infant car seat. Yes, cuz man, will she be mad if it's time to go home with the baby and you're like, either don't have the car seat or have no clue how to put the baby safely in it.

They won't even let you. Alright, I have just one more. Okay, I tell partners try to get through that whole labor without asking her a single question. Because we are still our lovely polite selves in labor. And if you ask her a question, she will feel the pressure or the burden to respond. So if you're near her, and you're wondering if she's thirsty, rather than saying, Are you thirsty, do you want water? Just say I've got water right here, put it into a statement and give her the opportunity to respond. But if you put a question mark at the end of it, she will feel the pressure to respond. And we certainly don't ever need to ask her what she's feeling or what that experience is like for her Physically, that's her own intimate personal bodily experience, and she has no obligation to come out of herself and describe it to us.

I tell my partners that too, it should come across in a communication as a statement, not a question, because she's not gonna know the answer to the question. It can be frustrating. And that's a great, that's a great point. I like that. And I love partners at birth, because as a doula, I rely on the partners because the partners know her best. And if something's going on, they might pick up on it faster than I do. So partners, I love partners. They really, really help. I think they're vital to have that support person. Yeah. And the Part II bring a doula and you've got a great birth team with everybody. But yeah, it really does help as far as the flow of how I doula knowing that that partner knows a lot more about how she will cope and handle things as we journey through the process together. Trisha, you have another? Should we throw out a few things with what not to say? Yeah, always, what not to say, I'm just taking too long. to Eric, how bad is bad is it? Did you pack the birth bag? Just you pack it if it's not packed? Are you sure you're in labor?

Yeah, I mean, kind of, you know, that partner might legitimately feel tired, hungry. And I say this to my clients, your needs, may not be met, you're gonna have to make sure you're meeting your own needs, because you can't turn to her in labor, or in the early couple of months, you can't turn to her to meet your needs, you have a responsibility to your family, to make sure your needs are getting met. And I say also, you know, when you have a newborn, you will I say this to the partners, you will be tired, you will get less sleep. But God help you if you wake up in the morning and tell her you're tired, because she has likely spent hours awake with that baby hearing you snore. And to only have you wake up in the morning and say you're tired, you will be tired. But go take it to your friends at work and tell them and they'll understand. But don't go to the person who is having even fewer needs met than you are. It's just a bumpy little chapter in your relationship that you both need to get through. And just try to make sure you're really taking care of yourselves in order to be there for each other. It gets easier later gets easier, but we don't want to give her any reason for resentment and resentment is palpable for most women in labor and postpartum. So it can be a really lovely bonding experience. Conversely, you know, when when everyone understands whose needs need to be met, and how to best achieve that, but it's hard for the couple postpartum because neither one of them is going to have all their needs met for a while, and then it'll get easier later, but for a while, everyone won't. So just to be understanding and compassionate toward each other.

And the support begins the day you find out that you're having a baby. The support begins with you know, working together to make the choice of where the birth is going to take place who the provider is going to be attending those prenatal visits starting to work on the birth plan together from day one. Totally agree.

Well, Krishna, this was an awesome fun conversation with you. Can you tell everyone how to find you on social media?

Yes, I am serenity life doula. I'm on Instagram. I'm on Facebook, and my website is Krishna crossly, calm and I am the natural birth trainer for trinco birth workshop. Thank you very much for having me.

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But when Eric filled the tub and he was just setting up the space, and I was getting in the tub, he's like okay, I've got music, what would be the perfect music for you? And I thought about it. I was like ah Andrea Bocelli just play Andrea Bocelli. So I got in the tub and I was draped over the tub focused, the room was silent. And I don't know how much later it might have been an hour later, but i the only part I remember was I just looked up at all of you and I just said, turn off the Andrea Bocelli. There was a moment where I needed absolute silence.

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About Cynthia Overgard

Cynthia is a published writer, advocate, childbirth educator and postpartum support specialist in prenatal/postpartum healthcare and has served thousands of clients since 2007. 

About Trisha Ludwig

Trisha is a Yale-educated Certified Nurse Midwife and International Board Certified Lactation Counselor. She has worked in women's health for more than 15 years.

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