Updated: Apr 17, 2021
Birth is one of the most physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally intense experiences that a human can go through. It can sometimes be hard for the other people in the room to know exactly what to say to a birthing person. Be sure to put this list of 10 things to say to a person in labor in your back pocket when you're in the birthing suite so that you aren't caught grasping for words when your partner needs you the most! Please remember that it is important for support persons to read the situation and use these words wisely, because each affirmation may not be right for every person or every situation. 1. "You get to see your baby soon" This might seem like it should be obvious when a person is in labor; however, it can be encouraging to take a moment to consciously refocus on the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. 2. "Take a drink" It's important to stay hydrated during labor, but often a laboring person can be so inwardly focused that they might forget to drink. Offering sips of water is one way that you can help during labor. 3. "I'll make sure you and the baby are safe, while you rest" Feeling safe is such an important thing during labor. In fact, it is so important that if the birthing person doesn't feel safe during labor, it can actually cause labor to progress poorly. Make sure that the person who is laboring feels safe to rest in the early stages of labor, and between contractions. 4. "I'm here for you" Make sure that the birthing person knows you are there for whatever they need, and that you are committed to being an active participant in their labor, whether that means breathing together, helping with labor positions, or emotional support. 5. "You're making so much progress" During a long labor (or even a short one) it can be easy for a laboring person to feel like it's never going to end, or that they're not making enough progress. Time can feel different during labor, and sometimes minutes can seem like hours. Let the birthing person know that they are making great progress, and that every contraction brings them closer to their baby. 6. "You're doing everything right; your body was made to do this" In this day and age, birth is often looked at as a "medical event," especially during a hospital birth. Because of this, it can be affirming to remind a birthing person that this is a natural function and that their body was designed for this. 7. "I'm proud of you" This is a short but sweet bit of encouragement that can come from anyone, but is a great one for parents of the laboring person, who might be in the room providing support as well. 8. "I'm amazed at how strong you are" My husband said this to me during my labor with our son, and to have someone whose strength I've always admired, look at me and be amazed by my endurance, courage, and power, made me feel like I could do anything. 9. "It's ok to feel nervous, scared, disappointed, etc." When things don't go as planned, it can lead to negative feelings during the birth process. Maybe a previous trauma resurfaces, or the baby is being born premature, or a planned birth partner couldn't be there for the birth. It can be hard for a birthing person to accept that they are having less-than-happy feelings at what is supposed to be such a joyful time. It can be tempting to say things like "don't be sad!" or "it's ok!" but your best bet is going to be to acknowledge and validate their feelings rather than gloss over them. 10. Nothing. Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. When words fail you, and nothing you could say can improve the moment, simply be silent, hold space, and witness the miracle unfolding in front of you The words that are said to a person during labor and birth will stay with them forever. These affirmations can help you make sure that those memories are positive, peaceful, and empowering for the person that you love.