What it is:
During labor, the mother can feel free to walk around. During contractions she can sway her hips back and forth or side to side while leaning on a support.
How it works:
Walking helps to reduce the total time of first stage labor, because it keeps the pelvis moving to help the baby find the best way through. It also keeps the mother active, which helps her to reduce boredom.
When to do it:
Walking and swaying can be used at any time in labor, even between pushing contractions if the mother desires the stretch.
If the labor is slow to progress, or slow to start, walking can help encourage a good pattern of contractions.
Incorporating it into labor:
During a contraction, have the mother put her arms over your shoulders, place your arms under her arms and around her back to support her weight. Sway with her as if you were dancing.
When a contraction starts, have the mother lean against the wall or counter, whatever is nearby, until she can walk again.
During hard labor, the mother will need a lot of support to walk between contractions, and will need you to support her entire body weight during contractions. Be prepared to hold her.