On the topic of physical supports during labour and birth this month, we are talking about counter pressure.
What is it?
Well, there are a few things that a doula typically carries in their bag of tricks that help with providing counter pressure to the small of mama's back when they are experiencing back pain. Sometimes, babe is just in a funny position so we feel the contractions more in our back than in our abdomen (though, that is completely fine in your birth process!).
Absolutely, counter pressure can be applied with your thumbs, fingers, knuckles, or palm of your hand. It's a great way to get mama's partner involved in the physical comfort measures of birth, but if labour is taking a bit of time...your hands can get tired.
Tennis balls, lacrosse balls, and hard plastic massagers can provide the same technique, and dig a little deeper if that's what mom needs.
The tennis and lacrosse balls are something that mom can even use on herself, between her body and a wall, rolling it as needed and letting the pressure sit where she needs it most.
The plastic massagers (my personal favourite!) have different sized balls on the ends, which helps if you need to change the pressure, or use it for a total back massage (lightly) between contractions for some soothing touch and relief.
Typically, I bring two of the plastic massagers with me in my bag, and Stephanie likes the tennis ball method (having hers connected to a cord to make sure it doesn't get dropped on the floor!).
Counter pressure...there and available to you when you need it most.