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Monday, 14 October 2013

Doula-ing with a Language Barrier

Okay.  If you ever find yourself trying to support a woman in labor when you do not speak their language, here are some ideas for you. 
Tips for supporting women during  Stage 1  of labor:
If there is any way to watch a woman be supported by another woman in her own culture, that is the best way to learn.  
Are there any bilingual (English and the language where you are) people that you can interview? Ask them how to support a woman.  Also, come up with a list of things you would like to be able to say and then get a translation.  Memorize those phrases.
Smile, love her, be with her, touch her, hug her.  Be there to hold her weight so she can achieve whatever positions feel best to her. 
 Use counter pressure and massage if this seems appropriate and is well received.
Follow her hands, she will often rub her own back where it feels good to her.
 Sing softly, this says... I am calm, there is no emergency, what is happening to you is normal. 
Offer water or other liquids to keep her hydrated
Mostly just be with her
When Labor is Slow:
Consider the position of the baby. If the baby is sitting off-center on the pelvis, the head may not be able to put enough pressure on the cervix for dilation.  Changing positions and moving the pelvis every 20 minutes or so may help to change the baby's position.
Some suggested positions would be:
·         Lunges with one foot up on a chair or something
·         Hands and knees or standing next to the bed while swaying the hips
·         Walking

Tips for supporting in Stage 2
When they are pushing, remember that asking them to squat enlarges the pelvis and unsticks stuck babies.  Most women are hot when pushing, they often like being fanned and a cold, wet cloth on their foreheads.  They are usually thirsty too.
Tips for supporting in Stage 3
 Fill up a water bottle with hot water (not too hot) and wrap it in a towel, and put it next to her.  Most mamas end up cold and shaky after birth.  Smile at her, she will be able to see that you are proud of her and that you think her baby is beautiful.
 I hope this is helpful to somebody!



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