The Birth Partner Is Often an Expecting Mother’s Best Ally
When it comes to Labor, there are so many unknows. When is it going to happen? What will it feel like? Read our article below.
There are so many unknowns when it comes to labor. When is it going to happen? What will it feel like? How will the labor unfold? Will the doctor that you want be at the birth? If birthing at the hospital, how will the nurse be?
Robin Ross, who wrote this blog, has supported more than 800 mothers through their pregnancies.To learn more about
With so much being out of your control, the one consistent factor is your birth partner. The birth partner is the person who will be supporting the laboring mother throughout her labor and birth experience. This person should be in line with the mother’s birth preferences and act as her advocate.
With this, it is best to take childbirth preparation classes that also provide helpful tools for the birth partner, such as:
- Knowing the stages of labor (early, active, and pushing)
- Understanding position changes to help with the efficiency of labor
- Knowing when is it time to head to the hospital or have birth professionals join in home
- Providing comfort measures throughout the labor birth process, such as counter pressure, massage, and relaxation techniques
- Asking questions to stay fully informed
The responsibilities of the birth partner are many, but the main role is to help protect the space of the birthing mother. She is in one of her most vulnerable and comfortable states of her life, and those around her should be there to support her every need.
In understanding the stages of labor, the partner can help guide the mother through each transition point. For example, in the early labor stages when contractions are more than five minutes apart, the partner can encourage the mother to sleep, drink fluids, eat, take a warm bath or shower, and try to conserve her energy. In the active labor phase when contractions are between two and four minutes apart, the partner will need to remind the mother to stay hydrated and to keep these beverages filled. The partner also will need to encourage positions changes interchanged with hydrotherapy (using the bath and shower every so often), and creating a smooth transition between home and hospital.
The partner can provide the birth team with the mother’s birth wishes and discuss those with the team so that the mother can keep focusing on her breathing and relaxation. The partner can create a calm atmosphere by turning off lights, putting on LED candles in the labor room, and starting music.
When it is time to push, the partner still can make suggestions for different birth positions and help to make sure the doctor is being respectful of mother and baby by not rushing things if not necessary.
The birth partner has several responsibilities and is vital to the laboring mother’s experience. Neither mother nor partner should rely heavily on nurses or doctors (even though they are amazing, trained professionals) to provide helpful suggestions because often they are busy with other families simultaneously.
If the birthing family feels that an extra pair of hands would be helpful, then enlist in a supportive family member or friend to help or seek the guidance of a trained birth doula. This is an incredible experience, and with so many unknowns, it is great for a mother to count on the one consistent part of her experience – her birth partner.