Touch; Imagery; Meditation
Each of us responds differently to being touched. Touch tends to be more soothing when it's done with the whole hand and not just with the fingers. Be sure to tell the person who's touching you what feels good and what doesn't. You might trade places with your birth partner during a practice session so you can show him or her what you like.
Touching doesn't always mean massage. You might touch by simply holding hands. Some women like effleurage (light fingertip massage); some prefer deep touch as in counterpressure. Others like leg, foot or hand massage. You might prefer to have your partner use a smooth, sweeping motion with his or her hands above your skin. This can be useful if your skin is very irritable and you can't tolerate being touched. Be sure to tell your partner what feels best, and know that it will vary as labor progresses.
If the contractions become very intense and the rest period between them is short, a quick relaxation strategy might be needed. In this case, try a couple of slow, comfortable cleansing breaths or a quick allover tensing of your whole body; then, as you breathe out, let your body go limp. A simple hug from your partner can also do wonders!