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The Childbirth Kit

[Table of Contents] [Cards for the Phases of Labor]
[Excerpt from the Introduction] [How to Order]

Table of Contents

  • Cards for the Phases of Labor
    • Preface
    • Acknowledgements
  • Opening
    • A Wellspring of Ideas
    • Especially for Birth Partners
  • Progression
    • Anticipating Labor
    • Early Labor
    • Active Labor
      • Transition
      • Pushing
  • Extra Help
    • Waiting Days
    • How to Use Images
    • When to Use Images
    • When to Use Music
    • What to Take to the Hospital
    • Resources
    • Index

Cards for the
Phases of Labor

  • Early Labor
    • Garden
    • Droplet
    • Earth
    • Waterlily
    • Knit
  • Active Labor
    • Roses
    • Bubbles
    • Waves
    • Beads
    • Rings
  • Transition
    • Hearts
    • Rock
    • Waterfall
    • Braid
    • Breeze
  • Pushing
    • Energy
    • Arrival


Excerpt from the Introduction to The Childbirth Kit

Having many options for childbirth gives you the freedom to find the right ones in your unique situation. The Childbirth Kit does not advocate one particular view, but rather it aims to present a full range of non-medical pain relief techniques.

If you are fascinated by visual cues, for example, you may find help through the colorful images in The Childbirth Kit. If you are very attuned to sounds, you may find suggestions about music or vocalizations work best. If you are comforted by touch, the sections on massage and water may be soothing.

Some women and their birth partners find that all the knowledge they acquired through books and classes becomes muddled with the increasing intensity of the contractions. It is hard to remember what to do and what else to try. The Childbirth Kit not only helps before labor begins, it also helps you and your birth partner during labor. The book helps you prepare for labor, the calendar eases you through the last few weeks of pregnancy, and the cards are quick references to use during labor itself.

The Childbirth Kit Preparation Book

The book is a wellspring of practical ideas to help you through labor. We explain various techniques to ease pain and to help you labor more effectively. Then we suggest ways to practice them. For each phase or stage of labor--Early Labor, Active Labor, Transition, and Pushing--we describe physical changes, what you may be feeling, and which techniques may help during that phase.

Waiting Days Calendar

Use the Waiting Days Calendar to pencil in some fun, motivational, and relaxing activities while you are waiting for labor to begin. If you need help thinking of activities, you will find many suggestions in the "Waiting Days" chapter of the "Extra Help" section.

Quick Reference Cards

These convenient cards summarize ideas and techniques that are explained more fully in this book. The cards let you put the images and ideas you find most useful in the order you want, so that you have your own set of tools filled with quick tips for labor. Each card has an image on one side, and techniques, trigger words, and a visualization on the other.


Each image offers several ways to help you move through a contraction. Some emphasize opening or yielding. Others contain elements that you might imagine tracing and touching, tasting and smelling, or observing and counting. You might find a rhythm or pattern to an image and immerse yourself in its detail. Or you might find yourself observing and counting individual elements within the image as you explore the mystery of it. Other images are simply soothing.


Each visualization relates to the image on the other side of the card and enhances the visual cues by adding suggestions for relaxing, opening up, and yielding to the birth process. The visualizations can help you create a mental image to calm yourself or focus the power of birth. Use visualizations while practicing breathing exercises from childbirth classes, to wind down at the end of the day, and during labor.


The techniques listed on the back of the cards are summaries of those described in the book, such as massage and breathing patterns. There are also ideas relating to the image itself, for example, imagining the soothing feel of warm water.

Trigger Words

Each card has five keywords that may trigger new ways to look at the image. We chose the words for their soothing or evocative effect.

Adding Your Own Images and Ideas

There is a blank card for you to personalize with your own special image, visualization, and tips. This is a good place to adapt certain ideas to better suit your own personality or situation. You may want to create more than one special card.

Your Birth Partner's Role

If you plan to have someone to support you during labor, you may be trying to decide whether to have another woman attend your birth or whether to have the babys father support you. Some options are a doula (a woman trained to support laboring women), your sister or mother, or a friend.

Don't feel pressured to do what others feel is the right thing to do--follow your instincts and only have the person or people present who make you feel comfortable and secure. For you that could mean that the baby's father is the best person for this role--you may see birth as an intensely private experience, to be shared only by life partners.

However, the best combination for you may be the baby's father and a woman (especially one who has experienced birth). Having the three of you take childbirth preparation classes together can help you work out your roles during labor. The baby's father may take on a role of emotional support, while the woman supplies physical support, such as practical ideas for pain relief. If the baby's father is very uncomfortable about birth and doesn't want to be present, you may choose to have a doula or someone else attend your birth.

Whoever you choose for your birth partner, you will find it useful to share this book with that person. The Childbirth Kit will give your birth partner a wealth of ideas to help you during labor. The chapter "Especially for Birth Partners" gives specific suggestions for helping during labor. Encourage your birth partner to become familiar with the Quick Reference Cards and then use the cards to practice together. Show your partner your favorite images; it can be a great boost when your partner shows you one of your favorites during a difficult phase of labor.

Other Resources

To supplement The Childbirth Kit, we recommend that you read at least one pregnancy book that explains the medical aspects of childbirth. We also encourage you to attend childbirth classes to learn and practice techniques for easing pain in labor and to familiarize yourself with the facilities where you will give birth.

We have listed some helpful books and organizations in the "Resources" chapter of the "Extra Help" section.

Finding Your Own Path

Take time to think about your own ideas of childbirth. Talk with your doctor or midwife and friends who have given birth to discover your own preferences. Knowledge will often reduce fear of the unknown, so learning about birth through books and discussions will help you feel ready. By determining your feelings about childbirth, you will feel more secure about what you want during labor. Knowing your preferences also helps you to decide which ideas and techniques in The Childbirth Kit might work best for you.

Childbirth can be hard work, but if you prepare well and have the support of people you trust, you will improve your chances of being able to handle labor without medical intervention. However, should you choose to use medication, be aware that you often have to reach a point in your labor where contractions are well-established and you cervix is dilated about halfway before medication can be administered. This book can help you reach that point more quickly and with more ease.

Using some of the techniques described in The Childbirth Kit may help you relax more fully and help labor progress more rapidly. This could minimize the need for interventions or medication. And while medication can be a godsend in some situations, it is best for both your baby and you that you keep the use of medication or interventions to a minimum, since all interventions carry some degree of risk.

Whatever path you take, we hope that the ideas and images in The Childbirth Kit will help you meet the challenge of labor.


Ordering Information

The Childbirth Kit is available from:
Swanstone Press
15127 NE 24th, Suite 136
Redmond WA 98052

Tel: (206) 644-1401

Price: $22.95
Discounts: 20% for 2-4 books, 30% 5-9 books, 40% for 10+ books.
Shipping: $4.00 for the first book, $2.00 for each additional copy
Tax: WA State residents please add 8.2% tax


Online Birth Center ** Midwifery Today ** New Items

Especially for parents

Last updated Mar 16, 1996 by
Donna Dolezal Zelzer