Giving birth is a big deal, and having people to support you when you're in labour can make it easier.

Who would you like to be your birth partner?

Your life partner may be the obvious choice, but some women prefer to have a parent, a close friend, or a sibling with them.

Benefits of having a birth partner

A birth partner can make the whole childbirth experience a positive one. Feeling loved results in the release of the hormones that help your contractions work well. Being scared or tense results in the release of hormone that can slow the labour.

Research shows that having the right birth partner during labour and childbirth may help:

  • Reduce the length of labour
  • Control your pain better
  • Decrease the need for medical intervention
  • Boost your confidence

Tips for your birth partner

Every pregnancy is different, and there's no way to know for sure what your’s is going to be like. However, your birth partner can help you with the following things.

Before birth, your birth partner can:

  • Help you with the household chores
    • For example, in the early months, the smell of food cooking can make some pregnant women feel sick.
  • Go to doctor appointments and prenatal classes with you
  • Help you pack your hospital bag

During the birth, your birth partner can:

  • Hold your hand and be with you
  • Wipe your face
  • Give you sips of water
  • Help you move about or change position
  • Encourage and comfort you as your labour progresses
  • Help explain your needs to your doctor/nurse and letting you know what they advise
  • Tell you what's happening as your baby is being born if you cannot see what's going on
  • Update family members on your progress, if you wish

After birth, your birth partner can:

  • Be with you while you learn to breastfeed
  • Look after your other kids, if you have them
  • Take on more household tasks
  • Give you emotional support

Supporting a woman during labour can be very tiring for the birth partner. The following tips may help your birth partner to take care of themselves. They should:

  • Bring snacks and drinks for themselves
  • Take rest breaks when possible
  • Wear comfortable walking shoes
  • Bring a change of clothes and toiletries

References

  1. Healthdirect Australia. Pregnancy, Birth and Baby. Choosing a birth support partner [Internet]. Available at: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/choosing-a-birth-support-partner. Accessed on Aug 13, 2020. 
  2. NHS Wales. Bump, Baby & Beyond [Internet]. Available at: http://www.bumpbabyandbeyond.wales.nhs.uk/. Accessed on Aug 13, 2020. 
  3. Healthdirect Australia. Pregnancy, Birth and Baby. Being a birth support partner [Internet]. Available at: https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/being-a-birth-support-partner. Accessed on Aug 13, 2020. 
  4. Counselling for Maternal and Newborn Health Care: A Handbook for Building Skills. World Health Organization; 2013. Chapter 10, Support during labour and childbirth; p.114. 
  5. NHS. Tips for your birth partner-Your pregnancy and baby guide [Internet]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/what-your-birth-partner.... Accessed on Aug 13, 2020.   
  6. NHS. Pregnancy, birth and beyond for dads and partners [Internet]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/dad-to-be-pregnant-part.... Accessed on Aug 13, 2020.