Change Your Position
According to Clarke, when a laboring woman moves in and out of all sorts of positions seeking comfort, the process is called the "dance of labor." It certainly may look like dancing, when you're standing, sitting, lying down, and rolling around on a labor ball, but whatever feels best is again the motto here. Try some of these positions to ease labor discomfort.
The key to having successful support during labor is to discuss your wishes with your partner and anyone else who will be with you during labor before your due date, says Evans. "This way there are no expectations that won't be met," he says. This is also a great time to decide whether or not you'd like to have a doula.
Once your partner knows what you expect from him, he can be even more helpful by actively listening, says Clarke. The support person needs to pay attention to what the mom-to-be is saying and what she needs, help her move into different positions, and bring her warm packs when she says she feels tense. Most of all, it's important for the support person to have gone through the labor classes with the pregnant woman and to have a working knowledge of what makes her comfortable outside of labor.
Lastly, don't set your expectations too high and expect a "textbook labor."
"Be flexible," advises Evans, "the best of plans can and do change as labor is a dynamic process." All you can do is show up prepared and bring your "bag of tricks" to make labor more comfortable. The rest is left up to time and nature—but there's no harm in helping the process move more smoothly for you and your baby.