The big day is looming and you might be wondering as a partner, how can you offer birth support to the mother of the child? As a birthing partner your main goal is to keep calm and assist mum in any way you can. Saying that, it’s crucial to have a plan in place instead of just winging it.
Birth is an extremely emotional experience (especially for first time parents), and having active partner involvement makes the experience easier and calmer. The mother will be going through many intense physical and emotional feelings from anxiety, uncertainty, discomfort or pain.
How can you assist your partner during the birth process on what is going to be a physically exhausting day for both of you? Here are some tips to help you prepare yourself for what most certainly will be one of the most important days of your life!
Knowledge is key, do some research on what to expect and what your partner is going to be going through (although not all birth processes are the same) it will help to keep you calm when your partner is going through labour. Know the stages of labour and understand contractions, you must be able to distinguish between true contractions and false ones. There are many birthing classes that teach new parents all they need to know about the birthing process.
Prepare for baby:
Help pack that hospital bag for mum and the new baby. Know what it should contain and have a checklist. Ensure you have a car seat suitable for a new-born baby.
Support and distract:
On the day you are there for support and distraction! It is most likely going to be a long day (10 plus hours in labour is not unusual). Have games, stream few of her favourite television series or a movie, make a playlist of her favourite music or you can dance or walk around if she is up for the exercise.
Both of you will need to keep relaxed, there are many muscle relaxation exercises that you can do with your partner or some mind teasers. Downloading relaxing music and massage is a great way to relieve some stress during contractions, gentle head or back massage. If contractions are severe just holding hands will offer some support.
An essential during the birth process, you will need to be assertive if there is uncertainty, be assuring when she gets emotional (and she will get emotional) and become her personal assistant – switch on the tv, rub her back, put on socks if her feet get cold all while remembering not to take anything personally during this whole process.
Expect the unexpected:
Not everything will go according to plan. Even the most well thought out birthing plans can go out the window on the day. In unpredictable situations, you must keep an open mind and be able to make quick decisions when mum is not able to.
Be there for the big push:
You will need to support her body during the birth, all while reassuring her and keeping her informed of what is going on. Even if you have opted for a c-section you will need to support your partner through what is essentially a massive surgery.
Once it is all done:
Do not be scared to be hands on once the baby arrives, assist in cutting the cord (if you are up to it) , assist where you are allowed to and be part of that special moment.
Say thank you:
Especially to mum for going through the labour and birth of your child. Many partners will get a small gift for mum as a token of their appreciation of what mum has gone through over the last nine months. Also, remember to thank doctors, midwives and hospital staff.
Your presence as a birthing partner is vitally important! Just being there is a huge support to your partner and will strengthen the bond between the two of you and your new-born baby. Taking the above tips into consideration will make the moment that much more special and memorable.