Most women start packing their hospital bag as they get closer to delivery. The kitchen sink? No dear, it’s in the RED bag. As a labor partner, your job is to make the laboring mother as comfortable as possible. You have taken the classes, and you’ve got that double-hip squeeze down. You are ready to help her with positioning and your disc-jockey skills are on point! Now it’s time to teach you some of those little labor hacks that might help you look like you’ve secretly been working in labor and delivery your entire life.
The volume button on the fetal monitor:
It can be nice to hear that reassuring sound of your baby’s heartbeat. It’s cute when you hear them hiccup or move around. However, when you are trying to sleep, there is nothing like waking up to a loud “ka-thunk” as your baby kicks the monitor! In a long labor, the same monotonous tones can wear on your nerves after a while and many people are not aware there is a volume button on the monitoring machine. The nurse may need to turn the volume up at first, when she is trying to find the baby’s heartbeat, but after she leaves, it is no longer for her benefit. Don’t worry she is watching your baby’s heartbeat on the monitors at the nurses station. Ask for permission before you start messing with the buttons, but usually a nurse will be happy to show you where the volume button is, and be perfectly fine with you turning it down when you are ready.
A make-shift hair-tie:
Forgot a hair tie to pull back mom’s hair? (She probably didn’t - it’s just that her support person or people can’t find it in one of the hundreds of bags she packed).
No problem! You can use a glove to make a hair tie in a pinch. Just break the cuff band away from the glove as carefully as you can, and you should have a ‘rubber band’ to use. It’s not the most glamorous thing in the world, nor is it the strongest hair tie you’ll ever see, but it does the job when you are desperate! See the pictures below for a guideline!
Pushing on the toilet:
Some people don’t even know this is an option, and for some hospitals this isn’t going to happen. However, pushing on the toilet can be very effective. Psychologically, moms relax their bottoms while sitting on the toilet, and that helps baby come down easier. Most moms are not going to push there the entire time and the nurses do not plan to have you deliver there. Since pushing can take a couple of hours (or more) for a first time mom, it’s beneficial to try various positions to help baby rotate and descend. Most nurses in a hospital setting won’t put you on the toilet if they think baby is likely to come there! Still, the thought of baby falling into the toilet will most certainly cross your mind, and this is where the handy towel comes in! Before mom sits down on the toilet, lift the lid and place a towel over the bowl - and put the lid back down. Viola! You now have a ‘safety net’ in place :-) You’re welcome.