What does a Birth Partner do?

Birth Partners play a valuable role in labour and birth, in making you comfortable and supporting you.  I share 6 things below that a Birth Partner can do to nurture your birth experience.

Birth Preparation Workshop
Image by Paige Driscoll, Santa Cruz Birth Photography

1.   Protect your Privacy & Birth Space

Your Birth Space matters, it’s important you feel safe, comfortable and secure wherever you birth baby and that you’ve privacy.  Your birth partner can help create your birth space when you go into labour, protect your privacy and ensure you’re comfortable and have all you need.  You may like electric candles, aromatherapy and soft music in the background.  Discuss how you would like your birth space to be beforehand.

2.  Be your Advocate

I suggest to pregnant women to write their Birth Preferences or Plan.  This is an educational task you can do together.  By discussing your choices your Birth Partner can better understand and support your wishes.  When you’re in labour, your Birth Partner can answer simple questions on your behalf, enabling you to remain focused inwards, on your body, breath & baby – supporting the hormones that facilitate birth.  For example, when you go into labour, your Birth Partner can time your contractions and telephone the midwife to inform them of how you are.

3.  Encourage you with Positive Words & Praise

Take some time with your Birth Partner to list positive affirmations relating to labour and birth that you relate to and resonate with your heart.  You can make and decorate pictures with affirmations written on them.  These can be used to decorate your birth space (and home) before birth.  Your Birth Partner will have a list of your positive affirmations and can use these to verbally support and encourage you during birth.  Fear and anxiety, create tension which is often the root cause of pain and can also stall labour or slow its progress.  It’s important that you feel positive about birth and your body’s ability to birth your baby.  Surround yourself with positive people.

4.  Support your Breathing, Posture and Movement

In our Birth Preparation Workshop with Birth Partners, we work through this together, so that you’re both able to experience this in active role play before the big day. This supports a Birth Partner to understand why we use the techniques shared, so they’re less memorised and easier to apply.  This includes preparing your birth space for active birth and movement.

Moving with your body during labour helps reduce the intensity of sensations and enables you to work with your body and baby to create space and release – supporting baby’s journey earthside.

5.  Making sure you’re comfortable

For example, if you’re on all fours on a yoga mat, you may like a blanket under your knees or a pillow on a birthing ball to rest your head on.  Offering you sips of water and snacks.  Perhaps you’d like a warm or cold compress?  Asking you if there’s anything they can do to make you more comfortable.

6.  Using Pressure holds, Rebozo & Massage techniques 

Whenever a labouring woman is touched during labour, this needs to be done mindfully and with permission.  These techniques are not used to do anything to baby but instead are used to help a labouring woman relax, enabling her muscles to soften & release – creating more space for baby.  These techniques and their mindful application are shared in our Birth Preparation Workshop.

A video of the Beautiful Home Birth of Nathaniel highlights a Birth Partner supporting a labouring mum and shares many of the points discussed here.

Our Birth Preparation Workshop works to empower Birth Partners to support women in labour.  This Workshop compliments our Pregnancy Yoga.

Wishing expecting mums and birth Partners the very best.