What is a birth partner?

A couple of people have messaged me saying that their midwife had been asking them about who their birth partner will be and that they weren’t really sure who to choose.

Firstly, what is a birth partner?

This is someone who you feel will give you the best practical and emotional support during labour. They can also act as a voice for you in the later stages of labour or in an emergency. It has also been shown in the past that if your birth partner does a good job, you are more likely to have a straight forward birth.

Most women have either the baby’s father or their mother with them. This is usually because you know your mum has been through this process before and if its your first child, it can be a terrifying experience so having someone there who has been through it all can be a real comfort.

One person spoke about their choice of birth partner saying that she had chosen her mum because “she knew what it was all about – I found her amazing” and went on to say “she spoke for me when I couldn’t speak”.

Another mum went on to say that she had her partner and her mum there and highlighted that a key factor in choosing your birth partner should be “people that know you very well and if you are aggressive or rude, won’t take it personally and will understand”. One other mother pointed out how labour isn’t the ‘prettiest thing’ so makes sure you pick people you’re comfortable with.

The NHS has a brief list of tips to consider when choosing your birth partner including:
  • Someone who will keep you company and help pass the time during the early stages of labour.
  • Someone who will comfort you in the later stages.
  • Help you explain what you want or need to the midwife.
but probable most importantly, someone who supports and respects you decisions about the pain relief you choose. You can find more on this at http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/what-your-birth-partner-can-do.aspx#close
Until next time…

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