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What to do(ula) during pushing?

What kind of comforting touch do you do(ula) during pushing?

This question comes up during almost every comforting touch for doulas class, so I thought I’d share my experience here.

1. Counter-pressure in the “right” spot can still prove helpful during pushing sometimes. If my touch is helping, I stay there.

And sometimes that touch is simply a hand to hold, er squeeze!

2. Be the pull for their push. Having a counter-point for pulling while pushing can give pushing a boost, so sometimes that’s a helpful role to play.

3. If my hands and body aren’t needed for support, clients are often grateful when I take photos or video during this time.

4. Be their reminder to relax/release/soften; hands, jaw, forehead, shoulders in between contractions so they can make the most of their break. You can do this with your touch or just a verbal reminder.

5. Push back/re-tie their hair when applicable. Keeping the mess of their hair out of the way can feel refreshing too.

6. Give them sips between contractions to stay hydrated during this highly “labor-intensive” part of birth.

7. Fan them and/or offer cool compresses. This is when things really heat up so, as shown in the third photo here, that cold washcloth on the forehead (or chest or neck) is sometimes people’s favorite part of pushing!

These are the main options that come to mind but as always, it’s not what we do. The quality of our presence is everything.

Anything to add?

Check out an upcoming Comforting Touch for Doulas class or my Sustainable Doula's Guide to Self-Care for more!

Photo credit: Kayla Grey


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