The lucky lady in your life is about to give birth to your child. All advice is geared towards her, from friends, family and magazines. She’s probably put a lot of thought into the sort of birth she wants.. and been trying hard not to think about the birth she doesn’t.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that birth partners can be apprehensive in the run up to birth too. But genuinely- you are the key to a great birth experience. You could leave it all to the experts and just sit in the corner fiddling with your phone, or…
1. Take control of the logistics.
Be in charge of remembering loose change for the hospital car park, bring the hospital bags, the childcare/pet sitting arrangements. Filling the pool if you're having a water birth. If she is able to switch off her thinking part of the brain (the neo-cortex if we’re getting technical) she will be able to concentrate on labouring more effectively.
2. Help create a comfortable bubble.
Duvets, blankets and pillows. All familiar smelling comforts from home. Dim the lighting! Aim for a private, warm and safe environment.
3. Stay calm and keep adrenaline at bay.
Caused by anxiety, a change of plan, strangers, even embarrassment; The production of adrenaline not only suppresses the production of good birthing hormones, but will make her tense up, meaning contractions feel more painful. This can lead to a really negative cycle of fear which you really want to avoid happening.
4. Make her laugh!
Seriously- by relaxing the jaw and getting some happy endorphins flowing you can break the fear cycle. Breathe deeply- She will start to follow your lead. Try kisses, cuddles and words of praise and encouragement.
5. Be prepared for her to have “i can't do this” moments. Don’t rush to get that anaesthetist just yet. Often these moments of self doubt are fleeting and are actually a positive sign that labour is progressing really well. Again, loads of reassurance and support will help her get through this.
6. Be her advocate.
Familiarise yourself with her ideal scenario and let her stay in her zone as much as you can by being the midwives’ first port of call. Ask questions, be polite, but remember that ultimately this is your birth experience that will stay will you both forever. If you can help to keep it as calm and personal as possible, the mother of your child will be eternally