How easy is it for you to cheer up your partner, make her smile, and bring out her greatest strengths using just your words? In this post, we’ll cover eleven of the most encouraging phrases you can use to make this birth experience a memorable one. You will know exactly what to say to a woman in labor.
You can breathe easy. Because it will be easier than you think – and you will love how it feels when you can provide safety, encouragement, and make your partner feel capable, just by what you say.
But remember, words are powerful, but they have a limit. It goes without saying that your actions must match what you say. This is especially true when you are supporting a woman in labor.
Are you ready to become a master of the spoken word and support your partner in an incredible birth? Let’s get started.
Why Does It Matter What You Say To A Woman In Labor?
You may wonder why it is so important to be conscientious about the words you say to a woman giving birth. Many people are surprised when they learn that birth is deeply influenced by emotions.
You are likely familiar with how stress can make it nearly impossible for a woman to enjoy or get into the mood for sex. Similarly, those same hormones that make sex work, also make birth work.
When a woman is under a lot of stress or in a place of fear, it can be nearly impossible for her labor to progress.
Oxytocin and beta-endorphins – the same hormones needed for sex, are what fuel birth. These allow her to feel bonded. They are powerful pain relievers. More importantly, they allow her to disconnect from the logical mind, and allow her primal instincts, the limbic system to do what it needs to do.
You see, birth is not something that usually has to just be endured. When her need to feel safe, secure, and loved are met, birth can be an incredible experience.
When you are careful and purposeful with the words you choose, you can make her feel safe, help her relax and that will let her body do the job it was made to do.
What To Say To A Woman As She Is Getting Ready For Birth
“I’m here for you.”
Women fundamentally need to feel that their partner is there for them. They want to know that you can handle shit and that you will handle shit. It is very attractive to most women when you say I am here for you and then show up fully. When you do this, you make her feel safe and appreciated. She will respect you at a very high level.
“Tell me more about that. What do you mean by…?”
Often women feel scared about giving birth. It’s true that birth is hard. Some women suffer major trauma during birth. In fact, even the risk of death is higher for this generation of women than their own mothers. If a woman opens up to you about her fears, letting her talk, asking her questions, and letting her process that fear is a great gift.
After, and only after, you’ve let her talk about her vulnerability and feelings, suggest something that can help. Sometimes, reading a book about birth, or taking a pregnancy class is a good place to begin addressing these fears.
Sometimes simply talking about her fear is enough. and the fact that you listened and asked questions will mean the world to her.
What To Say To A Woman In Labor Before It Gets Painful
Early labor is a time of excitement and nervousness for most women. Labor isn’t too painful… yet. But, they know it is coming. The more you can help her imagine her baby, connect with your baby, and remember that labor is purposeful, the better. So words like ‘imagine how it will feel when you get to hold her’ or ‘imagine how great it will be see her eyes and count her fingers’ etc. are very powerful words to support a woman in early labor.
“When do you want me to be there?”
Many women prefer quietness and privacy in early labor. Or to do something such as bake a cake for their baby is the early hours of labor. Just knowing that you are ready to meet her when she needs you and are checking in on her is enough for most women at this point.
What To Say To A Woman In Labor When Labor Gets Painful
“I’m proud of you.”
A woman in the throws of labor is doing the most intense thing she has done in her entire life. She may have prepared her own mind with birth affirmations and words to build her up.
But, what she needs from her partner is the most simple and short words of encouragmenent possible. Phrases like: I’m proud of you. You are so beautiful right now. I love you. I believe in you. Those are short and simple – but they will give her the boost she needs more than anything ese.
“Lean on me.”
I have seen this phrase said in dozens of birth. It’s a phrase that some partners intuitively use when they are watching their girl struggle through contractions. It immediately softens a woman who is dealing with stress and pain. It makes her feel safe, cared for, secure. Let her physically lean on you as if you were slow-dancing and your confidence in her will literally seep into her.
“Let me help you more next time.”
Many partners struggle with seeing their partners in pain. They are quick to want to give their partner an easy out, an epidural, medicine, anything to bypass the process. And if that is what your girl wants, go for it. But, understand that some women do not want this to be their first solution.
One of the things I teach about in my free ebook, The 11 Worst Things About Labor + What To Do About It is that women with epidurlas are 2.5x more liekly to have a c-section. Plus, there are several other significant risks to this medication. Also, she may be in pain BEFORE she is able to be admitted to the hosptial or in some cases an epidural may not be available.
Instead of looking for a drug to take away the pain, look her in the eyes. Tell her she can do it and that you will help. Give your hands to her. Hold eye contact during a contraction. And model a slow deep breath. Set a rythm and let her follow you.
If she can breathe, her body will release oxytocin that will work as a natural pain reliever and help her keep the pain at a manageable level. You can help with this greatly.
“Let’s try something new.”
Look, labor is overwhelming. When it gets hard, one of the most important things to remember is that change makes change. If labor is getting hard, encourage her to try something new. Such as, getting in the shower, going for a walk, or trying a new labor position such as hands and knees. (Cool fact: water is more effective than narcotics at releiving labor pains.)
“Here, drink some water.”
During birth, women won’t be able to take care of themselves the way they normally do. Remind her to take water and food. When you look after her simple physical needs such as food and drink, you help her have the energy she needs to do the work of giving birth.
“It’s okay to cry. It is hard.”
One of the most important needs a woman has during pregnancy and birth is being able to release her emotions. In labor, this usually means crying. If it gets hard, giving her the space to cry and validating the challenge she is in will help her greatly. Let her cry and fully release anything she has built up. Then she will be free to move forwards with a renewed freshness and spirit. Tears are often a good thing.
“Babies always come out.”
You know, a common thing women feel during labor is that it will never end. Helping her refocus on the purpose of the pain, the fact that her baby is coming and that it will be over soon is very important. It will help her stay centered. Emotionally women often feel defeated after being in labor longer than they anticipated. Using a phrase like this can help her have the grit, courage, and faith in herself and her baby to keep going.
What To Say To A Woman In Labor – Conclusion
On behalf of the birthing woman you are going to support, and all mothers everywhere, I want to say thank you for taking the time to read this article. I appreciate that you took the time to listen, and prepare to support your woman through birth. Your words can make her feel appreciated and loved.
When she feels loved and secure, her labor can progress in a more straightforward way. Often women who feel supported and loved have lower pain levels throughout their birth.
Because of you, this birth experience will be special for your partner and can be a beautiful beginning for your child. Thank you for looking into what to say to a woman in labor.