Being a new mom can be even more special when it’s shared with someone close. A “champion” is a person who supports you and stands up for you. They are with you before, during, and after your baby’s birth. This can be the baby’s dad, your partner, your mom, or someone else who cares about you and the baby.

It’s simple! Just talk with your family and friends while you are pregnant about how they can support you. Ask someone you trust to be your champion.

Mom
  • Ask your champion to go with you to classes and visits to the midwife or doctor.
  • Ask your champion to stay with you during and after your baby’s birth.
  • Tell your champion what you want and how he or she can help you.
  • Give your champion ways to feel close to the baby, too.
  • Thank your champion for staying by your side through this amazing journey.

Before Baby is Born

During your pregnancy, your champion can go with you to prenatal classes and exams. This helps him or her learn what to expect and what your needs might be. Your champion can also learn how to help you prepare for a great start as a new mom.

During the Birth

Your champion can be with you during the baby’s birth. This will help you stay calm and comfortable. He or she can also stand up for you to be sure the things you want for your birth are honored.

After Baby is Born

After your baby is born, you and your champion will marvel over your little miracle. You can watch your baby adjust to his new world in the magical first hour. Once you are back in your room, your champion can help you calm and comfort the baby. He or she can snuggle with the baby and even hold the baby skin to skin. Your champion can also talk with your nurse, doctor, and visitors about the things you want.

  • This new world is strange and scary.
  • I hear voices that I know. I relax and begin to calm.
  • I love feeling warm and close to those who love me.
  • I can feel my mom relax when you are near, and I feel safe.

When you are by mom’s side, she will be able to relax and enjoy her new role. As her champion, you are crucial to her success!

  • Be there when she needs you.
  • Learn about breastfeeding.
  • Protect her! Ask her how she wants you to help her.
  • Enjoy the new baby together.
  • Ask your nurse and doctor to wait until after the first hour before doing routine procedures.
  • Praise her.

Help with Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed babies. But both mom and baby must learn how to do it. Learn all you can so you can support her. You can also hold the baby skin to skin when mom is not able to so baby feels warm and loved.

The Power of Praise

Being a new mom can feel a little lonely at times. It’s easy for her to feel down, especially if she isn’t feeling well or things don’t go as she planned. Praise goes a long way to help her feel confident. Tell her you are proud of her. Show her she’s doing a great job.

Your champion will help you greet your baby into a strong family of love.

  • Your champion helps you feel calm and confident, knowing you are not alone.
  • Having a champion with you helps you relax and get more rest while you recover from the birth.
  • When you are better relaxed, your baby is calm and content.
  • Your champion stands up for you and the things you want.
  • Having support makes you less likely to be depressed.

Time to Recover

Having a new baby is a wondrous time. It can also be a lot of work right at first. After the birth you will need lots of rest. Your champion is by your side to help make it easier. After all, you’ll need to get strong to care for your baby once you’re home.

Loving Baby Together

There is no greater joy than marveling over your little miracle with someone close. Keep your baby in your room so you can both get to know the baby. Baby knows both of your voices! Baby will feel calm and relaxed knowing that people who care are near.

Baby Blues

Most women feel both baby bliss and baby blues soon after the birth. This is often due to rapid changes in your hormone levels. The baby blues often go away soon. Having a champion near you for support helps you bounce back more quickly.

Your Champion Cannot Be with You all the Time

Your champion may not be able to be with you all the time. If that’s the case, ask a second family member or friend to be with you in the hospital. This is especially crucial if you had a C-section and need a little help to recover.

Your Support Person is not Sure about Breastfeeding

Not everyone has heard the reasons to breastfeed. Perhaps your champion is a woman who did not breastfeed. That’s okay! This is a time for all to learn. Even if your champion does not know much about how to breastfeed, he or she can still learn about it and give you support.

Your Support Person Does not Know how to Help You in the Hospital

Many people are not sure what to do in the hospital after a new baby is born. This is a time for you and your champion to learn and talk about what will support you best. Ask your champion to download the Coffective Hospital Prep app to learn more.

Should my champion go to all of my prenatal classes?

It’s great when champions go along to prenatal classes and visits with the midwife or doctor. The more they know, the more they can support you. If your champion is not able to go to all of your classes and visits, you can ask other family members or close friends to go with you.

How will my champion help me in the hospital?

Your champion will help make your hospital stay easier. He or she can help keep your room calm and quiet. The champion can talk with your nurse or doctor to see if routine procedures and exams can be conducted while the baby is skin to skin with you. Your champion can tell visitors what you want. He or she can bring you fluids when you are thirsty, and help you get in and out of bed if you need help.

How will a champion help me breastfeed?

Only you can feed your baby at the breast. But your champion has a special role to make it easier. Your champion can calm the baby if he is upset, and bring the baby to you for skin to skin care. Your baby likes to feel safe and warm in the arms of your champion, too. Your champion can also watch you while you’re nursing to see if the baby is latched well, and call for help if you aren’t sure how things are going.

Can I have more than one champion?

Yes! You may want a single person who knows you well to be with you during and after the birth. But it’s also great to have others who know what you want to support you. Suggest that others download the app to learn more about how they can help.
  • Encourage mothers to identify a champion to be her support in the hospital and at home.
  • Discuss with the champion ways he/she can help the new mother before, during, and after the birth.
  • Acknowledge the champion’s role and thank him or her for their support.
  • Encourage mothers to identify a champion to be her support in the hospital and in the early weeks at home with the baby.
  • Discuss with the champion ways he/she can help the new mother before, during, and after the birth.
  • Acknowledge the champion when he or she is present with the mother and the specific ways he or she is supporting her. Thank him or her for their support.
  • When providing patient education, include the champion as a valued part of the family unit.
  • Include the champion when providing discharge instructions.
Your champion is here to give you support and love. All you have to do is ask!

You’ve waited a long time to see your little one. Soon you will meet your baby face to face and become a family. As anxious as you are, give baby all the time he needs to fully grow. It may be a hassle now when you’re tired of being pregnant. But knowing your baby is healthy will make it all worth the wait!

You can wait until your baby isready to be born, even when you’re sore and tired. Try these comfort tips during your last weeks.

Mom
  • Keep baby’s sonogram picture handy to remind yourself that your baby is still growing.
  • Use small travel-type pillows to support your body where you are sore.
  • Eat smaller meals throughout the day to reduce heartburn and gas.
  • Use an exercise ball to rock your hips from side to side. Change positions.
  • Take warm showers to help relax your muscles.

Your Due Date

Your doctor will set your due date. This is the time when your baby will likely be ready to be born. It usually takes babies around 39-41 weeks from the last day of your period to be “full term.” Babies who are born full-term have the best chance of being healthy.

The Problem with Scheduling Births

It’s hard to know exactly when you got pregnant. Even a sonogram is not perfect. Your due date can be off by as much as 2 weeks! If you induce labor too soon, your baby can be born too early before he is fully ready.

Working with your Doctor

Talk with your doctor about the right time for your baby to be born. Don’t insist on inducing the birth to fit it into your schedule. This can cause problems for both you and your baby. Instead, let labor begin on its own. Your body will tell you when it’s time!

March of Dimes Campaign

The March of Dimes has launched a campaign, Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait!®™. This campaign educates moms about why they should wait at least 39 weeks to give birth. Learn more at their website at: www.marchofdimes.com

    I can’t wait to see my mom, but I still have some growing to do! There’s not much room in here! Mom sits up straight to give me more space. I twist and turn to get comfortable in my cramped space. Mom rocks and gently rubs her belly. This calms me and helps me relax. I move down into the birth canal. It’s almost time!

As mom’s champion, you have a vital role in her last weeks of pregnancy when it can be so hard to wait.

  • Go to doctor visits with her to hear first-hand how things are going and how you can help.
  • Remind her how crucial it is to wait until her baby is ready to be born.
  • Help her find ways to keep busy while you wait.
  • Help her get comfortable so the last weeks will pass more easily.
  • Call the doctor if she thinks she might be in labor.

Extra Support in the Last Weeks

The last weeks of pregnancy are often the hardest. The baby is large and there’s not much space. The baby puts pressure on mom’s back, legs, and other areas. She may complain a lot because relief does not come easily. Here’s where you can shine!

Help Mom Cope

As mom’s champion, you can help her cope with the last few weeks while waiting for her baby to be born. Treat her like a princess. Bring her food and help her get comfortable. Take a walk with her. Keep her busy while waiting for the baby to come. And remind her that soon the wait will be over. Having a healthy baby will make it all worthwhile.

When you see the beautiful face of your new baby, you’ll be glad you waited. Every single week helps your baby grow healthy and strong.

  • Your baby’s brain and lungs grow in the last few weeks.
  • Baby is less likely to have vision or hearing problems.
  • Your baby stays warmer.
  • Breastfeeding will be easier for your baby.
  • Your milk may come in more quickly.
  • You will be less likely to need a C-section.

How Your Baby Grows in the Last Weeks

In the last few weeks, your baby grows in crucial ways. Your baby’s brain develops rapidly in the last few weeks. His lungs and liver finish development. Fat cells are grown to prepare baby for staying warm outside the womb. Your antibodies are going into your baby to prepare him for the germs he will encounter in the world.

Waiting Helps with Breastfeeding

When baby is born full-term, he is able to suck better. He is also better able to combine sucking with when to swallow and breathe while he feeds. This is a crucial skill to be able to breastfeed well. Baby also has more energy to stay awake long enough to feed well.

Problems with Inducing Labor

When labor is started too early, your baby may not be fully mature. Drugs may be needed to get your labor going and to deal with pain. These drugs brings on stronger, more frequent labor contractions. They can also delay your milk coming in and lead to the need for formula. Starting labor too early can also increase your need for a C-section.

Other People Pressure You

Well-meaning people often ask, “Have you had that baby yet?” They are anxious, too! Just remind people that you want your baby to be fully ready to be born. Your baby will be here soon enough!

Your Doctor Suggests You Induce Labor

Your doctor might offer to induce your labor. Ask whether there is a medical reason to do so. Ask about the risk of waiting a little longer until labor begins on its own in case your due date is off a little. Find out what method would be used. Being informed will help you make the best decision together.

You’re Tired of Being Pregnant

No woman wants to be pregnant forever! And it can seem that way when you near the end of your pregnancy. Find ways to keep busy and stay comfortable so the time will pass quickly. Tell yourself your body has done a great job growing a healthy baby so far. Give it the time needed to finish the job.

Why does it take so long for my baby to be born?

All mammals need a certain period of time to grow. Human babies need around 39-41 weeks to be ready to face the outside world. At every stage of growth your baby is getting ready. When you give baby the time he needs, he will be healthier.

What if my doctor wants to induce labor?

Sometimes there are problems with the pregnancy. There may also be a concern about your health or your baby’s health. In these cases, your doctor will advise you about whether it’s the right time to induce labor.

Won’t the sonogram tell me when it’s time?

Many doctors advise moms to get a sonogram to see how things are going. These can be helpful to see about how far along you are and to see how baby is doing. However, they are not always 100% accurate. When you go into labor on your own, this is often your body’s way of telling you it’s time.

What if my baby is born too early?

If your baby is born too early, he might need a little help waking up and sucking well. Ask your nurse and lactation consultant to help you if your baby has trouble learning how to breastfeed. You might need to hand express your milk to make sure you get started making milk.
  • Encourage mothers to wait until labor begins on its own.
  • Educate mothers on why their babies need the gestation to grow and develop.
  • Provide women with strategies for coping with the final weeks of pregnancy, including comfort measures.
  • Do not do elective inductions unless medically indicated.
  • If an early induction is medically indicated, arrange for the mother to have breastfeeding help and support to help manage potential feeding concerns.
You can wait and let labor begin on its own, even when you’re tired and sore. Keep your eye on the healthy baby you will enjoy because you gave him the time he needs.

Your little one is nearly here! Soon you will meet each other for the first time. Once your labor begins, you can find comfort to help shorten your labor and feel less pain.

The key to coping with the work of labor is learning how to relax. Here are some tips to help.

Mom
  • Take childbirth classes to learn more about comfort measures during labor.
  • Find a champion to help you during your labor.
  • Engage a doula for labor support.
  • During labor, find a soothing place to relax. Learn how to use steady breathing to stay relaxed.
  • Take warm showers or baths if the doctor says it’s okay.
  • Walk or move often to take pressure off your back and hips.

Plan Ahead!

One of the best ways to prepare for labor is to learn all you can. Attend classes. Arrange for a doula and a personal champion to provide support. Read all you can about what will happen during labor. Practice ways to relax with your champion.

Keep Moving!

During labor, it helps to move often. Try walking with your champion or swaying from side to side. Rock in a rocking chair, or roll on an exercise ball. Lots of moms find that it helps to moan in rhythm to their movements.

The Role of your Doula

A doula is trained to support you before, during, and after your labor. A doula is not the same thing as a midwife. A midwife will focus more on the birth. Your doula will focus on giving you direct support to remain calm and comfortable. A doula also helps your champion support you. Studies show that when moms have a doula their labor goes better. They are also less likely to need a C-section.

  • My journey to your arms is about to begin!
  • It’s a tight fit and my warm home is pressing against me. But I wriggle and push to help!
  • When you relax, I feel more secure and safe.
  • The hormones you make help me to be more alert after I am born.
  • I’m just as anxious as you are to see you face to face!

As mom’s champion, you have a starring role as her major support during labor. She will look to you for support to cope.

  • Attend childbirth classes with her to learn how to support her during labor.
  • Create a setting where she can relax. Use music, pleasing aromas, and a comfy place to sit or lie.
  • Massage muscles that are tense so she can stay relaxed.
  • Apply pressure against her back.
  • Tell her she’s doing a great job. Often!

Help Her Relax

Between contractions is a good time to check to see if she is relaxed. Look for tensed muscles in her face, hands, arms, and legs. Gently massage tense areas and remind her to relax those muscles. Keeping other muscles relaxed lowers her pain while her uterus contracts.

Back Pressure

As the baby moves through the birth canal, mom might feel strong pressure against her back. She needs your help to manage this! Press your fist or the heel of your hand against her lower back. She will tell you where she needs to feel pressure. You can also roll a tennis ball, rolling pin, or a cold soft drink can that area.

It's Not Personal

A woman in labor faces one of the hardest jobs of her life. Her emotions might range from wanting to give up to feeling out of control or even angry at times. She needs to know you are there for her, no matter what.

Being able to relax can shorten your labor and help with pain relief.

  • Comfort measures help you feel more in control of your labor and lower your pain.
  • Being relaxed helps your labor progress more quickly.
  • You are less likely to need drugs or a C-section.
  • Without labor drugs, your milk might come in more quickly.
  • Your baby will be more alert so you can get to know each other right away!

Relax!

When you are relaxed, your body is able to do its work. Your body will produce more labor hormones to move your labor along. You’ll also have more energy. When you are tense, your muscles tighten and labor hormone levels go down. This can slow down your labor.

Are Drugs Needed?

Labor is a normal process of giving birth. When you are able to use comfort measures to stay relaxed, your body releases feel-good hormones to help you cope. Being relaxed can help you manage labor without drugs. It might also help you go longer without needing drugs for pain relief.

Breastfeeding Success

Birth without drugs will help babies to be more alert and ready to engage right away. Babies latch more quickly and suckle better. A baby who is alert is also more likely to feed better and more often. Without drugs, your milk might also come in more quickly.

You Plan on Getting an Epidural

Even if you plan on an epidural for pain relief, comfort measures will help you cope until you can get it. Being relaxed will also help you delay the need for drugs. You might even find that the natural pain relievers your body gives you will be enough!

You had a C-Section

If your labor does not progress or there is a medical concern, the doctor may advise a C-section. This is major surgery and you will need time and pain relief methods while you recover. The comfort measures that helped you relax in labor can help you cope after your surgery, too.

When should comfort measures begin?

You can start methods to relax early in labor. That will make it easier to stay relaxed later when labor becomes harder to manage.

Can you really relax during labor?

It’s hard to believe, but you can learn to relax during labor. Focus on steady breathing and keeping your muscles loose. Between contractions you will not feel as much pain. This is a great time to relax your muscles. Support from your doula and champion will help.

Can I still breastfeed if I decide to get an epidural?

If you end up having an epidural or receive other drugs, you can still breastfeed. Just be patient in the early hours if your baby seems drowsy or does not suck well. Hold your baby skin to skin contact in the first hour and throughout the hospital stay. This will help your baby have lots of chances to learn how to feed well. It will also help your milk start flowing more quickly.
  • Encourage mothers to arrange for labor support with a champion and a doula.
  • Educate mothers during pregnancy about the importance of comfort measures during labor.
  • Encourage mothers and their champion to attend childbirth classes to learn labor coping skills.
  • Encourage mothers to allow labor to begin on its own, if medically indicated.
  • Advocate for policies and practices that allow women to freely move during their labor.
  • Praise the mother and her support team.
  • Advocate for practices that allow immediate skin to skin contact after birth, especially if the mother received an epidural or other labor analgesics.
  • Encourage and help mothers to move about as much as she is able during her labor.
  • Offer extra pillows to help the mother meet her comfort needs.
  • Praise the mother and her support team.
  • If the mother receives an epidural or labor analgesic, help her hold her baby skin to skin right after birth until the baby latches on his own. Monitor the mother and baby closely if the drugs have made them drowsy.
You can cope with the work of labor by learning to relax. Your support team will make the work easier to manage!
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