Eight steps to being a good birthing partner

The birth of a child is a huge moment for you as a family, and it’s understandable that you’d want to do all the right things to support your partner. If you’re feeling nervous or unsure about your partner going into labour, these eight steps may help you feel more confident about how to offer the right support.

    1. Have discussions with your partner about where she’d like to give birth. Does she want to give birth at home, or in a hospital? Does she want a water birth?
    2. Talk about the kind of birth she wants more generally. Find out whether she wants an epidural during labour, or if she is interested in hypnobirthing. It’s useful to understand your partner’s feelings on this so you can help support her when the time comes.
    3. Try not to push your own feelings on her, and keep firmly in mind what kind of experience she is hoping to have.
    4. Focus on the experience your partner is going to have, and try to avoid telling stories of other people’s birthing experiences.
    5. Ask beforehand what kind of support and encouragement your partner is going to want from you during the labour. But be prepared that this may all go out the window when the time comes.  
    6. Have a supply of food and drink to hand for both of you.
    7. Bring a toothbrush and a fresh set of clothes. She’ll be really grateful for this after the birth. Ask if there’s anything else she might want – things like lip balm and a fan or cooling spray can often be welcome during labour.
    8. During labour, ask your partner, “What would you like me to do?” Don’t assume she will just tell you.

If you have any other questions, worries or concerns about the birth, don’t hold back from talking to your partner about it. You can also talk to your midwife, who may be able to reassure you that you’re on the right track. It’s quite common for you to feel a bit anxious, but there’s plenty you can do to help and support. Remember that the little things can go a long way.

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