The Birth Partners Role
The Birth Partners Role
Birth partners are important in helping labor go smoothly as they can provide both emotional and physical support. While everyone that probably comes to your house or meets up with you from the time they find out Mama is pregnant until months after the new baby arrives only wants to know how Mama and baby are doing - your role is important.
The support that a birth partner gives Mama through pregnancy, labor and delivery, and postpartum are invaluable in assisting her and boost her confidence. Birth partners can help by doing some of these things through pregnancy as well as during labor & delivery.
Understand Her Wants & Needs
Birth doesn't always go as planned, so be aware of what mama wants. Talk about the things that Mama wants or doesnt want for labor and delivery so that you have a guideline to work from. This will help you anticipate what she may want and will allow to even pack some of them ahead of time.
Take Care Of You Too
It’s not unheard of for a birth partner to be overwhelmed or feel unwell during the event. It is often because your are dehydrated or haven't eaten. Sometimes birth can be long and if mama doesn't eat, the partner tries not to eat too. Take care of you, so you can take care of her. Its okay to take a break, if you have family or a doula there, they can cover you for a quick break to the cafeteria.
Try and take some pictures or video of the big day. You are going to want some memories of this day later down the road. They don't have to be perfect, candids or little snapshots throughout the day are perfect momentos. If you want something more talk to a family member, ask your doula, or hire a birth photographer.
Manage Your Fears
If you’re overwhelmed by the process, then you won’t be in a position to help her. Mentally prepare yourself by watching YouTube videos beforehand so you’ll know what labor looks and sounds like. Consider taking a childbirth class, they really are as much for you as they are for Mama. Childbirth classes are great at letting you know what to expect and can even help you with determining how to help mama feel comfortable during labor, birth positions, what labor will be like as well as life after baby and you can meet others going through pregnancy at the same time to talk to.
Help keep mama focused on other things. Labor can be long and if she is too focused on the contractions, especially during early labor before you get to the hospital, it can slow things down. Keep her focused on what would normally be going on; take a nap or take her out to a meal, watch a movie, play a game, or take a walk and let gravity help.
Find a nurse, talk to the doctor. Be involved in her care and asked the questions that need to be asked. Let them know what she wants if she is not speaking up because she is preoccupied with the labor. This can sometimes be intimidating as they are the ones taking care of your partner and child. You can also choose to hire a birth doula to be at your birth. Doula’s are great for helping Mama through labor - whether its keeping her moving in different positions or advocating for Mama and asking questions, doulas can be a great resource.
Make it feel like home
Hospitals are neutral spaces and can sometimes feel cold and empty. Try to make the hospital feel like home if you can; bring her favorite pillow or blanket, bring music if she wants music, snacks to eat or even cards to play (friendly game of Uno, anyone?). These little comforts of home can make all the difference.
Help mama out by making sure the house is ready for when you get home. Make sure the house has groceries ahead of time if possible, order take out, do the chores you normally wouldn't do around the house. Make sure mama has what she needs. Often, the first week can be the hardest as you adjust to the new normal. Take time off if possible to be with Mama and your new baby. Regardless if she has delivered vaginally or had a cesarean, she will be sore and could use all the support she can get.