Labor Note Cards

I’m currently visiting a friend who is expecting her first baby in late August.  I’m so excited for her and am trying to give her all the great books and resources that I have been distilled from the endless choices out there without overwhelming her with my excitement, information, and ability to talk endlessly about birth. 

When I was pregnant with my first, I created some Labor Note Cards and then promptly forgot about them.  I can’t even remember if we brought them to the hospital for my short labor before my CS. Then I’m pretty certain I came across them a couple years later, filed them away, and promptly forgot about them again when I had my home VBAC.  Fortunately, I remembered them when packing my huge suitcase full of materials and hand-me downs for my friend.

Labor cards are great because sometimes all those great things you read in books or learned in your childbirth prep class are quickly forgotten as soon as the excitement of labor takes over.  They also help your non-professional labor support – husband, friend, mom, sister, aunt – stay focused and full of ideas and supportive words when the intensity of the moment sucks all rational thoughts out of their brains.

These cards were created from a variety of sources.  As I read the birth stories in Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, I started making a list on the inside cover of things that resonated with me: techniques, words, things I wanted either myself or my husband to remember.  Then I found further inspiration from the notes I took in my Bradley class and in the variety of books I read.

Looking through those cards today brought back so many sweet memories and I hope they facilitate the creation of sweet memories for my dear friend.  She’s pregnant and tired and not up to copy the cards tonight so I was thinking of doing it for her.  And then I figured if I was going to copy all that once, why not make it count and share it with the world?  Besides, I can type way faster than I can write.

This is about as crafty as I get, so get ready.  You need 3″ x 5″ index cards and a Sharpie.

I like 3″ x 5″ index cards because some of these are a little lengthy and you don’t want to have to write real small and make your labor support work harder than needed during labor.  I used a Sharpie marker because it’s easier to read than regular ball point pen.  Each dark bullet point goes on one card.

If you have any note cards to add, please leave a comment!

Labor Note Cards
  • Labor is hard work!
  • Relaxation is the key to a more comfortable labor
  • You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it!
  • Observe!  You must be aware of your wife’s tension to be able to help her release it.
  • Some words for relax:
    • melt
    • let go
    • release
    • float
    • sink into the pillows
  • Relaxation takes concentration
  • During contraction:
    • Cleansing breath
    • Abdominal breathing
    • Relaxation
    • Relax kegal
    • Cleansing breath
  • I love my baby and am capable of doing what is necessary to bring about a healthy birth
  • I am confident in my ability to birth naturally
  • One contraction at a time
  • You can always relax a little deeper
  • Tune into your body
  • Contractions are good for your baby!
  • With harder first state contractions breathing is: faster and deeper
  • 1st Stage Contraction Hints
    • Quiet peaceful atmosphere
    • Talk only as needed
    • Visualize what is happening to the baby
    • Eye contact can help during hardest contractions
    • Back pressure or rubbing
  • Nature doesn’t hurry
  • You are giving your baby the best possible start in life
  • I love you!
  • Back pain
    • hands & knees
    • counter pressure
    • heating pad
    • extra encouragement
  • We’ll be seeing out baby soon!
  • Breathing for 2nd Stage
    • 2 deep breaths
    • 3rd breath hold
    • relax kegal
  • Pushing hints
    • Listen to your body
    • Don’t push to soon
    • Steady, even pressure
    • Visualize the baby moving down
    • Don’t need to push with every contraction, but it usually feels better
  • Relax kegal
  • To coach in second stage: Don’t confuse the facial appearance of effort with that of pain
  • A little encouragement can spark a great endeavor
  • 5 Things to help me relax
    • Massage [I laugh as I write this now because I did not want to be touched at all during labor]
    • Warm water
    • Visualizing
    • Music
  • Self doubt means: YOU ARE ALMOST DONE!
  • Contractions – as they pull stronger, they are working better
  • Contractions are just muscles working
  • Face each birth like a bull, with full force, no fear or hesitation, with the attitude that you can do this.
  • Visualize your birth canal as a big, open cave beneath the surface of the ocean, with huge, surging currents sweeping in and out.
  • Peace
  • Your cervix is melting like butter
  • Don’t try to hold contractions back
  • Warm olive oil & washcloths
  • It’s up to you to set the tone
  • Blow raspberries
  • Look into someone’s eyes
  • I know I can.  I know I can.  I know I can.
  • Dry heave
    • pulls cervix open
    • pushes the baby down
  • Speak in a lower tone of voice
  • Stay in control by getting your energy together, set a pace, and haul ass the last lap.
  • Encourage the sensations and welcome the opening process
  • This is for my baby.  I want to open up.
  • Low grunts
  • Face relaxed, eyes open, lips flapping while exhaling during the most intense moments
  • Breathe and relax through the first part of a rush, then hold my breath and let the contractions lead me.
  • I can open another centimeter
  • Let go!  Surrender!
  • Don’t fight it.
  • Surrender
  • Go with the flow
  • Discharge negative thoughts
  • I just want to open up and let this baby out.
  • Perception affects reality
  • Change in attitude can alter our perception of it.
  • Relax your pelvic muscles
  • Urge to push will arise spontaneously
  • Laugh! = Most effective form of anesthesia
  • Singing will maximize the ability of the body’s sphincters to open
  • Speak loving and positive words
  • Pelvis becomes larger when you are on your hands and knees
  • MOO! [Drawing of cow]
  • If you think you are in labor and it’s late in the day, try taking a warm bath, drinking a glass of wine, and going to bed for a while.
  • Pee every hour
  • Move thighs from side-to-side during a contraction
  • Six needs
    • Dark & solitude
    • Quiet
    • Physical comfort
    • Relaxation
    • Controlled breathing
    • Appearance of sleep/eyes closed
  • Emotional map of labor:
    • Excitement
    • Seriousness
    • Self doubt -> almost done!
  • PEP
    • Praise
    • Encourage
    • Progress
  • Encouraging words
    • Fantastic
    • I’m so proud of you!
    • You’re doing great!
    • That was a good one!
    • You’re doing a great job!
    • The baby is moving down!
  • Between 2nd Stage Contractions
    • Position changes
    • Observant of needs – cool cloth, fan, rest, reassurance, energy (honey)
    • Water
    • Encouragement
    • Unbounded love & support
    • Praise
  • When the baby’s head is about to come out, slow down your pushing as much as possible
  • Breathe for your baby!
  • Crowning
    • Touch baby’s head
    • Burning sensation is okay
  • For the birth
    • Open your eyes!
    • Tell wife what is happening!
  • For the actual birthing of the head & shoulders (push to start them through)
    • Open your mouth and breathe
    • No panting or blowing
  • Put the baby to the breast – left side first to hear the heartbeat
  • After 3rd Stage
    • Before mom gets up – drink 16oz of orange juice
    • Start doing kegals

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