Having a birth partner with you through labour can make it a much more positive experience as they can provide you with emotional and physical support. This person might be your partner, mother, sibling or close friend. You may even choose to have more than one person with you.
Preparing Your Birth Partner
You may reduce your birth partner’s anxiety by using some of the following preparation methods:
- Talk to your partner about any concerns they might have about the birth
- They may find it helpful to watch birthing videos or visit a birthing room
- Attend prenatal classes together to learn what happens during birth and the options for managing labour and the birth. These are also known as birthing or antenatal classes
- Plan how to get to the hospital or birth centre together, the best place to park and which entrance you’ll need to use
- Discuss your birth plan with your partner and tell them how they can best support you during labour. Keep in mind you may need to be flexible as this may change on the day. For more, see Writing a Birth Plan.
Your Birth Partner During Labour
When the time arrives there are a few ways your birth partner can support you, including:
- Being there for you. By simple encouragement and reassurance they can offer you the emotional and physical support to comfort you
- Offering you a massage, this may help you cope with the pain of labour
- Coaching you through breathing exercises and relaxation techniques
- Repositioning you if you need to move to a more comfortable position
- Speaking up for you. You may not be able to speak for yourself, so they can make sure you get what you need
- Thinking clearly. They can listen to the doctor or midwife’s advice, ask questions and discuss this with you.
Birth Partner’s Checklist
For information on what your birth partner can help you get ready for the day read Preparing for Hospital.