Words of Encouragement for Laboring Women

Encouragement in Labor

Couple at the hospital in labor
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In general words of encouragement for pregnant women can make a meaningful difference. But if you take that one step further and think about what it means in labor - you have got a bigger picture. Pregnancy is long, but labor is much more intense and the words you use will make a meaningful difference.

Comfort in labor comes in many forms. A very easy way for nearly anyone to help comfort a laboring woman is to talk to her.

These kind words really help and work with her she is having an unmedicated birth or a birth with an epidural. Words and how they are said can make a huge difference in how she remembers her experience of labor and birth.

Ten Things to Say in Labor

  1. Hang in there!
    A note of support without a lot of pressure, this phrase is a very generic one, but can get you out of a bind if you're not sure what else to say. However, if you overuse it, watch out!
  2. You're doing a great job.
    She may not believe you even if it's true. Her experience of what is going on feels much differently than what you're seeing. Meaning she may feel out of control while she looks calm and collected. Reminding her of what she's doing and why can be beneficial.
  3. I love you!
    Need I say more? Though I would remind you to say it often. When I'm working as a doula, many partners tell me that they feel overwhelmed with love for the laboring person. This one sneaks out more readily than you may think.
  1. Think of the baby...
    For a mother who wants to be reminded of the baby in labor, which is easier than you think to forget about, this can be helpful. You might also use a similar phrase agreed upon in labor. You can also encourage her to picture the baby, is that's acceptable to her. It's a great way to work in a visualization as well.
  1. You're going to be a great mother.
    Sometimes laboring women have fears, including what kind of a mother they will be. If she's concerned about it, be sure to ask ahead of time to find out what her fear is and use an affirmation like this to help ease that.
  2. Awesome!
    A nice quick word to whisper in her ear when she's got very low concentration levels. You can use almost any single word with a similar meaning. Think: great, good, wow... Use whatever word feels right at the time.
  3. Keep going...
    A nod of approval during a long labor, as in "I know you're tired, but you're doing great, so keep going..." You may also consider saying something active, like: "You've got this..." or "You're ______!" Insert an adjective that is appropriate for a bit longer of a phrase.
  4. I'm here for you.
    You're not leaving her side, be sure she knows that. Sometimes you may be physically slightly separated by a birth tub or medical personnel, let your voice be a reminder to her that you're still there for her.
  5. Just a bit more...
    Use this one only if you're reasonably sure that it's true. Otherwise, you lose your credibility. Ask a nearby professional for some help here and know they are guessing too.
  6. You are doing it!
    This can be a great encouragement when she's pushing. It can really convey power and excitement.

    Read more: What You Shouldn't Say in Labor

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