Birth Partners play a valuable role in labour and birth, in making you comfortable and supporting you to birth your baby. I share 6 things below, that a Birth Partner can do to nurture your birth experience:
1. Protect your Privacy & Birth Space
Your Birth Space matters, it is important that you feel safe, comfortable and secure wherever you birth your baby and that you have privacy. Your birth partner can help to create your birth space when you go into labour, protect your privacy and ensure that you’re comfortable and have all you need. A dark environment away from bright lights helps to support the hormones for birth to be released. You may like electric candles, aromatherapy and soft music in the background. Discuss how you would like your birth space to be beforehand. An illustrative example, highlighting why the birth place matters is shared here.
2. Be your Advocate
I suggest to pregnant women to write their Birth Preferences or Plan. This is an educational task you can do with your Birth Partner, sharing your choices, so that your Birth Partner can better understand and support your wishes during birth. When you’re in labour, your Birth Partner can answer basic questions on your behalf, so that you are not outwardly distracted, 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 your midwife to inform them of your progress.
3. Encourage you with Positive Words & Praise
Sankalpa, Sankalpa, Sankalpa. Take some time out with your Birth Partner to list some positive affirmations relating to labour and birth that YOU relate to and resonate with YOUR heart. You can make and decorate pictures with the 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 work to stall labour or slow its progress. It is important that you feel positive about birth and your body’s ability to birth your baby. Surrounding yourself with positive people and actively using positive affirmations can help you.
4. Support your Breathing, Posture and Movement
In our Birth Preparation Workshop we work through all these things with you and your Birth Partner, so that you are both able to experience this together in active role play before the big day, to enable your Birth Partner to understand why we use the techniques shared, so they become less memorised and are easier to apply naturally during birth. This includes preparing your birth space for active birth and movement.
Moving with your body during labour and birth can help to reduce the intensity of sensations and enables you to work with your body & baby to create space and release – supporting baby’s birth into the world.
5. Making sure you’re comfortable
For example, if you are 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 to relax, enabling her muscles to soften & release – creating more space for baby to move as baby needs – supporting birth. 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.
Wishing expecting mums and birth Partners the very best.