Physical and emotional needs of adolescents during labour and delivery
The birthing process is both physically and emotionally demanding. The woman's body goes through transformations of tissues and organs and tremendous changes in hormones that affect every bodily system. The combination of these changes can have a negative impact on a woman's emotions and this can be particularly true for young women. These emotions range from anticipation and anxiety during early labour to fear, a sense of being overwhelmed, loss of control, and exhaustion leading to a desire to end the process immediately towards the end of labour.
The cardinal rule for birthing care for a young woman is Never leave her alone. Support, comfort, and explanations of what is happening or going to happen will break the cycle of fear that produces tension and thereby increases the intensity of pain.
The young mother in labour also has physical feelings and needs, which could include finding a comfortable position, experiencing thirst, feeling too hot or too cold. You should try to identify her physical needs and respond to them. You should explain the different options and allow her to choose a comfortable position. Some women prefer kneeling; some want to squat and others may choose a lying position. A labouring woman who is thirsty could be allowed to take sips of fluid. If she feels too cold she needs to be covered with clean clothing.