Are you going to support your partner/spouse/friend in labour? Read these tips to help you be the best birth partner possible.
Keep your cool – Your partner needs you to be a lighthouse during the storm, be calm and confident, even if things don’t go to plan, reassure her that what’s happening is normal, women have been giving birth for thousands of years – she can do this.
Do your research – Find out as much as you can about birth to prepare yourself (Men, Love and Birth is a great book by Mark Harris) and talk to your partner about her hopes and preferences so you can advocate for her, be prepared that she may change her mind though! Roll with it if she does and support her regardless.
Understand that you won’t always be ‘doing’ something – You and your partner don’t know how she will cope with labour, a back massage might sound lovely now but in labour she may not want to be touched at all, many women become very introverted and partners are often left twiddling their thumbs, if you are present and engaged then that is enough.
Be practical – The last thing she will want is you asking for directions to the hospital/birth centre mid-contraction, make sure, if you are leaving home for the birth that you know the route and have change for parking if required. Even better bring a bag for yourself with a change of clothes, snacks, drinks, phone charger etc. On this day she needs you to be organised and in control. If you’re staying at home get familiar with the birth pool (if you are using one) or make tea for the midwives ☺
Be ready to get hands on – If your partner does want attention a foot or back massage can be really helpful and relaxing, don’t be shy! Offer her snacks and drinks, attend to her comfort needs and adjust her environment to suit her (pillows, bath/pool, lighting).
Lastly, don’t sweat it, the most important thing is that you are there and remember, at the end of this journey you will be a family! Good Luck. x