Verbal Support in Labor: What To Say and What to Avoid

Verbal Support In Labor

October 27, 2022

Verbal Support in Labor Can Be Powerful

One of the most powerful support techniques for partners to use is verbal support in labor. We all know how words of encouragement can make an impact on us, especially if they are said in a kind and genuine tone. Some studies say that there is no stronger motivator that words of encouragement. 

One way to make sure that this works is to talk about verbal support in labor with your partner before labor begins.  Are there phrases that you know will help you feel stronger? Or are there things that you know that you want your partner to never say in labor? (now is a great time to forward this blog to your partner!)

Maybe you aren't sure if what would make you feel good and supported in labor. That's okay! It can be hard to imagine yourself in labor, so I have an easy way to make the process of verbal support in labor easier.

The Race Technique

Have you ever been part of a running race or participated as a volunteer or watched a friend run? There are certain phrases that you would yell out during a race that you wouldn't think twice about whether they are supportive. This is a great hack to figure out what is a good phrase when providing verbal support in labor.

Positive Examples:

  • “Good Job
  • “You are Doing Amazing?”
  • “Keep it up, You got This!”
  • “You are So Strong!” 

Never Say In Labor

There are other phrases that are obviously not going to be helpful to a runner these are also not going to be helpful in labor. If you say that 

Negative Examples:

  • “You Look Tired”
  • “You've Been Doing This a Long Time”
  • “I'm Tired”
  • “Are you Tired?”

You might be laughing at the negative phrases, but they are commonly said to people in labor. And they are not helpful and definitely not recommended. I don't know how many times I have been in the room with a client in labor and the doctor walks in a says something completely unhelpful like “You've Been In Labor a Long Time.” Why would anyone want to hear this phrase?

Partner Tips: When you are supporting someone in labor remember the race strategy. If you wouldn't yell it at your partner during a running race, don't say it to her when she is in labor. Seriously, don't say it. And if you find yourself saying something in the “never say in labor” category, that's okay. Just follow-up with something positive! 

Knowing how labor works and what to expect can help you decrease fear and help you feel prepared and excited about labor and birth.

You can continue learning more about how the body works during birth inside the Birth Tool Box course. This course provides uber-practical guidance you can recall easily and apply naturally.

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