Your birthing partner can be anyone you choose; your partner, a close friend or a relative. The most important thing your birth partner can do is to just be with you during this new chapter.
Beforehand, it's good to talk to your birthing partner about the type of birth you would like and the things that you would prefer not to do, so they can help support you in your decisions. It can help to go through your birth plan together.
Your birthing partner could also accompany you to antenatal classes to learn other ways and techniques to help support you:
- Keep you company and help to pass the time during the early stages
- Hold your hand, wipe your face and give you sips of water
- Massage your back and shoulders, help you move about, change position or anything else that helps
- Comfort you as your labour progresses and contractions get stronger
- Remind you how to use relaxation and breathing techniques, even breathing with you
- Support your decisions, such as the pain relief you choose
- Help you explain to the midwife or doctor what you need - and the other way around - which can help you feel much more in control of the situation
- Tell you what's happening as your baby is being born, if you can't see for yourself
Cutting the umbilical cord - can be done by your birth partner and you can talk to your midwife about this.
For many parents, being together during labour and welcoming your baby together is an experience you cannot put into words.