When supporting a woman in labor, remember to use “TLC”:
Touch–this can be massage, hand-holding, foot rubs, stroking her hair, and encouraging frequent position changes. It also includes the use of water (hydrotherapy).
Listen–this is half of the emotional support in labor. Listening builds trust and meets emotional needs. Use active(reflective) listening and lots of encouragement.
Communication–there are two types in labor. One is information sharing–about her progress, her choices, ideas of things to try, interventions, complications. The second is mediation with hospital staff–this can involve reminders about mother’s wishes, and assertiveness about care.
Or, you can use “BLT”:
Breath–remind her to breathe if she is holding her breath. Model a “cleansing breath” if she is stressed. In through the nose and out through the mouth (like a sigh) can be helpful.
Language–this can be mind-body communication, internal conversation, or verbally telling, showing, or modeling (body language).
Touch–as discussed above. Large muscle massage or firm pressure usually feels better to the laboring woman than light patting, stroking, or “tickling” at the skin or clothing level of her body.
Material on TLC is drawn from the International Journal of Childbirth Education, June 1998. Material on BLT from The Pink Kit–New Focus: Breath, Language, and Touch.