How to be a great birthing partner

You want to be there to support her but how can you be a great birthing partner? Here are some tips: 

Be organised

Pack the hospital bags together so that you know where everything is when she needs something. It can be stressful if you can’t find something she needs. Make sure there is always enough petrol in the car, you know the route to the hospital and where to park. Have money for parking. Limit alcohol from 37 weeks of pregnancy so that you are safe to drive or be ready to order a taxi.

Organise any music if needed and make sure devices are fully charged. Arrange the care of other children and pets. On the day pack plenty of food and drink for both of you. You may want to arrange to have a relative or friend to support you both either at the birth or on the end of the phone.

Be ready

Make sure you are local if possible and can be contacted at all times. If you normally work away from home try to arrange less travel near the due date. Remember, you don’t make the decision to go to hospital on your own. Call the midwife at the hospital and she will advise you what to do. She will want to talk to your partner to see how she is coping.

Be open-minded

Labour and birth can be very unpredictable so be prepared to just go with the flow. Labour can last many hours but can also be shorter or longer than you expect.  Go to antenatal classes if you can and read about labour and birth so that when you need to make decisions along the way you already have the information. Never be afraid to ask questions.

Agree in advance what she would like you to do (and NOT do) during the labour. Go through the birth preferences with her so that you are clear about the things that are important to both of you. Be prepared to communicate those to the midwife.

Encourage her

Encourage her to breathe through her contractions by breathing with her.  Use a calm, quiet voice. Give lots of reassurance.  Don’t take anything personally if she says or does something out of character. If you are not sure what to say or do just reassure her by holding her hand and being close.

If she has backache, massage the lower part of her back. She will tell you the right spot. Help her to try different positions such as sitting on a birthing ball and sit behind or next to her for support. Offer snacks and drinks regularly if it’s ok for her to eat and drink.

Look after yourself

Wear comfortable clothes in layers and take items for you such as a change of T shirt and a toothbrush. Pack plenty of snacks and drinks and take some painkillers for you in case you need them. Remember your phone charger, money and something to read if she is resting. Take breaks if you need to.

Enjoy the moment

Enjoy that precious moment when the baby finally arrives. You might want to cut the umbilical cord but you can see how you feel at the time. Some partners are so concerned about phoning family and friends that they rush off as soon as the baby is born. She still needs you after the birth and you can help with skin-to-skin with your baby. A T shirt or shirt with buttons down the front is ideal for this.

For information about BirthPrep Antenatal Classes click here.

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This entry was posted in Antenatal Classes, Labour and Birth.

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