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  • Writer's pictureGina (hollyblue-antenatal)

The crucial role of the birth partner; A guide to support and empowerment during labour and birth.

Updated: Mar 10


Pregnant woman sitting on the settee holding her back with a male birth partner massages her shoulders sitting behind her, both people are wearing blue jeans and light blue shirts
The role of the birth partner.

Automatically it is normally assumed that the other parent - dad or mom will be the birth partner at their babies birth, but this is not always what happens, for example with my second child my step mom was my birth partner as I needed my husband to stay home with my toddler so I knew she was happy and safe. The role of the birth partner is an important role and sometimes, there may be other people, friends, family member, mother who may have the qualities to either be the sole birth partner or to support the actual partner.


Here are some ways the birth partner has an important role


Emotional support


The birth partner role is to provide you with emotional support, to give you the positive encouragement, to hold your hand, to give you eye contact, to just be in the room, to support and reassure. They are also there to listen to you.



Physical support


The role of the birth partner can be offering lots of touch, massage, back rub, holding hands,(these all help with oxytocin, the hormone that encourages contractions) supporting you when moving positions, giving you sips of water through your labour and offering snacks. Reminding you to go for a wee and supporting you to do this. They can also remind you of relaxation/breathing exercises you have been practising. Help you get in and out of the shower or birthing pool.


Advocate


The birth partner role is to be your voice, and should be the go between from midwife/ consultant to you. They should be aware of your birth preference list and follow your wants and wishes, this keeps you in control of your birth. They should feel confident in the to ask the questions about anything that is offered - please look at the link or decision making at the bottom of the blog. Only you, however can give consent for treatment.


Organised


It will be one of the birth partner roles to get you to the hospital, to know where items are in your hospital bag, time contractions, have parking money and make sure they have packed their own bag too with the things they may need - snacks, phone charger etc



Conclusion


Having a birth partner who you trust and can support you during labour and birth, can reduce the pain relief a woman may need, can reduce the length of labour and can give an overall more positive birth experience.


I run groups in Wolverhampton and 121's too where we look at the role of the birth partner in more detail.









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