10 Ways To Be An Excellent Birthing Partner
Being a woman’s birthing partner is a great privilege but with that comes great responsibility. Simply being asked to fulfil this role means that the woman considers you to be someone that she trusts and someone that she associates with support and security.
She plans to give birth while you are present which speaks volumes about how comfortable she is around you.
Giving birth can feel like a very lonely experience. Regardless of the support around her, the woman is essentially doing it alone.
For this reason, the birthing partner plays a huge role in making sure that the woman feels supported, encouraged and respected while she undergoes such a life-affirming experience.
As a birthing partner, you may be the woman’s romantic partner, co-parent or perhaps you are a friend or family member. You might even be a Doula in which case you could probably write this post yourself.
Here are ten ways to be an excellent birthing partner
1. Preparing for birth is almost more important than the birth itself. Devote time to talking about the woman’s birth preferences and help her to make a plan that she is comfortable with. She may even ask you to attend antenatal classes or appointments with her.
2. Be a great listener. This may involve putting your own opinions about birth and parenting to the side. Your job is to support her and make her feel as comfortable as possible so really listen to her fears and hopes regarding the big day.
3. If you have other children or responsibilities put the plans in place to have everything taken care of for when you get “the call”. The last thing a woman needs is fear that her birthing partner will not be present. Do what you have to do and reassure her that all plans are in place and you will be there with bells on. It is essential to be flexible.
4. Be her advocate. If you know that she has strong birth preferences or goals around the birth it is important to be her advocate if you feel she is not being listened to. Due to her level of discomfort, she may feel unable to articulate these things as strongly as she would like to while in labour.
5. Be a calming force. She will have enough things to worry and panic about so try to remain as calm as possible as it will really help her.
6. Be a step ahead when it comes to drinks, snacks and a cool flannel for her forehead for example. If you see her drink running low top it up rather than having to ask for it as it may distract her.
7. Know when to stop talking. Giving birth requires a huge level of concentration and many women are irritated by talking or too many questions. Let her dictate the chatting.
8. Provide emotional support when it is appropriate. Tell her that she CAN do this and compliment her on how well she is doing. This will make a huge difference for her.
9. Provide physical support if she needs it. She may want you to rub her back during periods of discomfort or to lean on you during some of her contractions. Talk about this before the birth to gauge what she will be comfortable with and how you should know when to help in this manner.
10. IF she has asked you to take some photos or videos for her then do so. These are memories that she will thank you for time and time again.
Tracey is mammy to five-year-old Billy and newborn Willow. She is a breastfeeder, gentle parent and has recently lost five stone so healthy family eating is her passion! You can follow her on Instagram