Excerpt from The Birth Center Client Manual

P U R E*

P= Position: Change position every 30-60 minutes with special attention to whether position increases effectiveness of contractions. Rotate pelvis around 360°: knee-chest, side, side, etc.

U= Urination: Go the bathroom every hour or so since a full bladder presses on the uterus and increases discomfort. To assure that your body has enough energy to do this work, keep fluid intake up using juice, water, Popsicles, ice chips, etc.

R= Relaxation: Use anything that will increase mother’s ability to relax: music, massage, progressive and touch relaxation techniques, TLC, positive suggestion, breathing techniques.

E= Environment: manipulate the environment to enhance mother’s comfort and ability to cope: turn lights down; change temperature; cool clothes on face and hands; socks or blanket if the mother is cold; hot compresses on the abdomen and perineum; cool, dry gown as needed or no gown; shower or tub; close doors to reduce noise level.

*From Childbearing: A Guide for Pregnant Parents, by Sherry Lynn and Mims Jiminez

Dry mouth

Mouthwash, breath spray, Popsicles, toothbrush and toothpaste, ice chips, juice, ChapStick, lollipops, wet washcloths to chew on

Back labor

Back labor refers to the pain and discomfort that laboring women experience in their lower back. Although most women will feel a degree of achiness or slight cramping in the back at some point during labor, about a quarter of all women report experiencing severe discomfort in the lower back that is most intense during contractions and often painful between contractions.

Back labor can often be accompanied by an irregular contraction pattern, labor that is slow to progress, and a prolonged pushing stage.

Techniques to ease discomfort

  • Hot and cold compresses applied to the back.
  • Changing positions to the side, knees to chest, getting on all fours, pelvic rock.
  • Applying pressure with something that rolls down the back such as a tennis ball.
  • Hydrotherapy, a shower, warm bath, or birth pool.
  • Massage.
  • Sterile water papule injections to be administered by your midwife, in the event of prolonged back labor
  • Other pressure techniques.

Additional Aids for Labor

Listening to your body’s signals, working with your body, working with gravity to help with baby’s descent (standing, walking, squatting, sitting), having sense of humor, being flexible and trying anything suggested, staying in the present (reminding yourself that this may be the last contraction and not projecting ahead), and remembering that the labor will end and that the result of the labor is your baby, and telling yourself that you can do anything for one day.