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Labor Aids

It’s a boy!  My girlfriend Abby gave birth to her second son yesterday.  As with her first labor, I was lucky enough to be there to support her during such an amazing time.  The birth was absolutely beautiful, and since it was her second, the labor went pretty quickly!  (Though she might argue it felt like an eternity).  Abby opted to go natural if at all possible, so I brought a few props to help out with the labor, and after seeing them in action, I think they helped so much I wanted to pass my favorites on to you.

  • An MP3 player!  Music makes a huge difference, transforming a sterile hospital room full of beeps and blips into something closer to your living room.  Program a couple playlists in advance – one full of your favorite upbeat and energetic tunes, and one full of soothing, mellow songs.  You never know what you’ll be in the mood for when the time comes.  Also make sure to bring speakers for it, and that the speakers run on batteries, since most hospitals won’t let you plug into their outlets for fire reasons.
  • An exercise ball.  Many birthing centers and even hospitals provide them now, but it’s a good idea to bring your own in case theirs is in use.  And honestly, one of Abby’s favorite labor positions used both her ball and the hospital’s at the same time.  This ball made a huge difference in the number of positions we could use, and since the hospital didn’t have a seat to use in the shower, the doctor encouraged us to use the ball as a chair while she let the hot water run over her.
  • Mood lighting.  When looking for props for my own labor, I discovered you can’t use candles in a hospital – fire hazard.  Then a doula I know recommended these battery candles she found.  They look just like flickering firelight and run for dozens of hours; since we’ve been home with Madeleine, we’ve used them in her room sometimes as well.  If you'd rather not have a glass holder, you can check out something similar in plastic.  These are rechargeable, which is great; I just like the look of the others better.  Click here, then click on "sleep time."
  • Massage tools.  I found these great body massage sticks, and they were a real hand-saver, giving Abby a much-needed massage on her lower back during contractions without wearing me or her husband down too much.  You may also want to bring some unscented massage oil – like almond oil – in a Ziploc bag for rubbing legs or back or feet.
Those were the main tools she found useful; any of you have any favorites you’d like to share?


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