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What Women Really Want To Hear During Labor

Photograph by Universal Pictures

During my first pregnancy I meticulously planned the details of my birth environment. But, surprise, surprise, things didn’t go as I planned when labor started. They actually didn’t go how I imagined with my second either... or my third. That's just how birth works—it’s a go with the flow kind of event. The only thing I did have control over during each birth was who I allowed into my circle to encourage me.

When all the perfectly planned details of birth go out the window, I knew needed a strategy of just the right words to keep me going, so prior to the onset of labor, I talked with each person about how they could best offer me verbal support. The right words during labor can truly empower a mama and revolutionize her frame of mind.

As you prepare for your own birth, consider typing out a list of exactly what you want to hear during labor. These verbal cues will be a godsend to your partner and birth team. When they know how to encourage you best, you’ll all feel a weight lifted from the intensity of labor and birth. From a crew of mamas who have birthed before and alongside you, here are some ideas to get you started:

“Breathe down into your pushes.” -Jessica B.

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“Push this baby out and I'll give you chocolate and french fries!” -Kelby P.

"Words didn’t help me much, but holding my water cup for me to sip when I pointed to it was just what I needed." -Aimee W.

“Wow, that was a great push. You’ll be holding your baby in no time!” -Naomi N.

"From my doula after a really hard contraction, 'Does anything in your body feel different?' For a split-second I was highly annoyed and wailed out, 'I don't knooow!!!' But the very next breath, I realized that something had indeed changed in my body, I just was too scrunched up emotionally and physically from the contraction to notice. So I took a deep breath, squatted forward on my knees, hung onto the side of the inflatable birthing pool and focused my mind on my uterus. With a few slow breaths, I actually felt my daughter's head slide past my tailbone." -Valerie R.

"You never have to do that contraction again!” -Charissa F.

“You can DO this!” -Traci V.

“Women all over the world are birthing with you.” -Rose E.

"This is what vaginas are made for!” -Sarah D.

“You can do it, you're a rock star. Push down and out.” -Jeannette G.

"I am so proud of you!” - Diane H.

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"Your baby is coming!” -Jasmine H.

“You are stronger than this contraction.” -Alicia P.

"Remember to breathe.” -Nancy J.

"We are right here." -Heather L.

“This is all normal. You are safe. Your baby is healthy.” -Hannah D.

“You are the only one to get this baby here and you are doing it!” -Mallory P.

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