Helping your partner through early labour

There are many ways to help your partner through early labour:

  • Be available. Early labour can last a long time and it can be frustrating and unpredictable. Make sure that your partner can contact you easily.
  • Arrange childcare. If you have older children, making sure they are looked after means you will both have less to worry about.
  • If your partner is having a hospital birth, check the hospital bags and your route to the hospital. When the time comes you don’t want to be worrying about how to get there or what you need to bring.
  • Making sure you know where your partner’s maternity notes are. You will need them when you leave for the hospital or to give to the midwife if she is coming to the house.  
  • Walking round the house with your partner can help move labour on and keeping upright should help with any pain.
  • Help your partner to relax and keep encouraging her. Deep relaxing breaths help.
  • Try giving your partner a massage. Her back will probably ache and a massage should relieve it.
  • Run your partner a bath. A bath can ease the pain of contractions, though it can also slow them down. Remember to help her in and out of the bath it; she might find it difficult by herself.
  • Make sure your partner is eating and drinking to keep her strength up.
  • Use a stop watch to time her contractions. Time how long each contraction is and how long between each of them. At the start of the first stage they may last about 40-50 seconds and your partner may get one every 10 minutes. By the end, the contractions will last 60-90 seconds and there will be a gap of no more than a minute between them.
  • At any time, if you and your partner are not sure what to do, then call your maternity unit for advice.
  • Stay calm. Labour is exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time. Your partner may be anxious, but you’ll help her by staying calm.
Last Updated: 15 October 2014
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