If Birth Was a Football Game

football.jpgWith the "Big Game" coming up this Sunday, it seems like everyone has football on the brain. So of course I thought, there's no better time to talk about birth and football than right now!

If you're a diehard football fan and expecting a baby soon, this post is for you. Maybe you're feeling a little confused or anxious about your upcoming birth. Maybe you feel out of place, or like you have to learn a new language. Alleviate your worries with this helpful football-to-birth translation* guide!

*Yes, I know some of the translations aren't exact -- that's how it always is when going from one language to another! 


Football to Birth: A [Loose] Translation Guide

The game - Labor, birth

Field - Where the laboring person chooses to labor... there aren't firm boundaries like in football

Ball - Baby

Home team - Person in labor

Opposing team - The unexpected events and circumstances that can change the course of labor and birth

Quarters - 1st quarter = early labor; 2nd quarter = active labor; 3rd quarter = transition; 4th quarter = pushing

Sidelines - This is where, for the most part, nurses, staff, doctors/midwives stay, unless they're called onto the "field"

Touchdown - Anytime a labor/birth milestone is achieved, like getting through another contraction, moving into transition, pushing, or giving birth

Time out - There may come a point in labor where coping plans or decision making needs to be re-evaluated. Take a time out, in between contractions, to do so. 

Handoff - Sometimes the support person needs a break (or even a quick trip to the bathroom!). In this case, there's a handoff from one support person to another. Like, from partner to doula or doula to partner. 

Interception - If the "opposing team" is the unexpected that can happen in labor and birth to change its course, then an interception could be a stalled labor, back labor, a long labor, unexpected cesarean, or an induction

Officials - The dance that happens between the person in labor, the baby, and the care provider; everyone has a part to play in maintaining the order of "the game" 

Possession - The person in charge of the process in birth; this is and almost always should be the laboring person

Punt - Tactics to help improve coping in labor, like moving into the water, using massage, or getting an epidural; or methods used to speed up labor, like changing positions or walking, or the use of pitocin if needed

Fumble - Losing control in labor, often seen when the laboring person can no longer adequately cope with pain. Possession can often be regained with the help of a support person, like the partner or doula. 

Quarter back - This role is played by the person in labor and that person's support team (partner, family member, doula). Together, and taking the laboring person's lead, they call the shots and lead the game.

First down - Labor is uncomplicated and generally on course to be fairly routine; for each additional down, something has changed in labor that may limit the options and require a different approach/strategy 

End zone dance - Anytime in labor or birth when the person giving birth celebrates a victory, big or small, whether it's getting through another contraction (and the complete relief that's felt after it), or it's time to push and everyone in the room starts "dancing" around to get ready


Labor and birth is like a football game in so many ways -- there's a lot of hard work and grunting; there are unexpected plays; a whole lot of people root for the home team; and when the game is over, everyone needs a really good nap. Whether you're watching the Big Game this weekend or prepping for your own "big game," we're cheering you on!   


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