Listen up Birth Partners….What can you do to assist mama during pregnancy, labor and postpartum? I should probably have my husband write this one since he has been amazing at all of our children’s births and gets a little more “doula” at each one! We just had our 4th baby, 2nd one at home a little over a week ago and wanted to write while it was fresh in my mind!
It’s only natural for birth partners to have feelings of anxiety and nervousness. But with anything, the more you prepare and educate yourself, the more confidence and less stress you bring to yourself and partner during this spiritual and beautiful journey of welcoming new life into the world.
Here are some tips:
• First and foremost, EDUCATE yourself. Whether this means taking childbirth education classes together or reading pregnancy, labor, postpartum books. Pregnancy is the time for you to prepare. You guys are a team. Put the time in to learn and especially know her desires.
• Advocate. Now that you know her wishes and birth preferences, advocate for her. Not only in the birthing room, but at her prenatal appointments. You know what she wants. Make sure she is heard. During labor if a medical procedure is suggested, ask if you can have time to consult with your partner, if it’s not a medical emergency. Ensure her original wishes are being respected.
• Be present during labor. Not just there. Not on your phone unless you are capturing moments. Hold her hand. Look her in the eyes. Kiss her. Hug her. Make her smile. Make her laugh. Because oxytocin.
• Document with pictures and videos if you don’t hire someone and have a back up plan. We hired someone for video but they didn’t show up. My husband had a stand for his phone ready to go so he never left my side.
• Praise. Support. Encourage. Be positive. Reassure her that active labor will progress on its own. Remind her of her strength. Remind her that her body is made to birth her baby. Remind her to breathe. Remind her to stay hydrated. Even remind her to keep her bladder empty which is important to do during labor.
• Trust the birth process. Remain calm. Help her to relax between the waves. Labor is not the time for high energy as its best to conserve energy. This goes along with education. When you are educated regarding birth, you are confident reminding her that her body is made for birth.
• Consider hiring a Doula. While you are preparing to be the best birth partner, it’s always nice to have more support from a professional trained in childbirth and comfort measures for mom. They are there to help support you so you can better support mom! Look at it as an extra set of hands and another caring heart for the welcoming of your precious baby. Doula’s do not replace the birth partner.
• Take charge of visitors before, during and after labor. Find out who mom wants there and when. This is the time to adjust as a new family and it’s perfectly fine to say no. Allow visitors only when it feels right for the both of you.
• Get support for the postpartum period. Help to coordinate with friends and family who can assist with other children, meals, house cleaning. Or if it’s in your budget to hire someone to help such as a postpartum doula.
• Know what the signs are of postpartum depression. Have some contacts of professionals before hand. So if you are aware of any early signs, you can reach out to them immediately. Do not wait.
• Very importantly, take care of yourself. If you are not healthy and prepared, then how can you help your partner.
Hope this was helpful! If you have any questions you can contact me via my website! Much love and good luck on your new parenthood journey!