Top tips for birth partners???
I thought I would review the Top five tips for birth partners from Dads Labs: (see video here)
- Bring change for the vending machine – because you might get hungry?? – Okay, so we know guys often think with their stomachs – but REALLY??? Number ONE tip??? Please!!! We are all for you taking care of yourself, and of course you need to eat, drink and pee – we get it. As doulas we are no different – we need to take breaks occasionally – but I am yet to risk telling a mum that I am leaving because I’m hungry! Be sure to pack yourself some snacks and drinks (enough to last a couple of days maybe) for BOTH of you! However, trying to get any food into a woman once she is in established labour can be tough. Feed her small morsels so that she has the opportunity to chew and swallow between each surge – breathing around a mouthful of dry crumbly biscuit can be pretty difficult. If you feed mum anything bigger – then be prepared to hold your hand our so that she can spit it back out if needed!
- Learn how to give foot massage – well sure, why not? Many women would love a foot rub at the end of ANY day, so you can utilise this skill well beyond the birth room. Foot massage is especially great if mum is on a bed with an epidural on board and offers a lovely way of connecting with her. However, many mums will hope to be off a bed and using their feet in a standing, swaying, all fours, squatting, or floating around a pool position, so don’t rely on this one as your “speciality” as you may not be able to get to her feet at all! If you fancy treating her during pregnancy then organise a reflexology treatment to help her relax in those last weeks. The wonderful Sandra Oram based in Stratford is well worth a visit!
- Make a special play list for her and download onto your MP3 – This one is actually a lovely idea and really gives the partner a job to focus on in pregnancy. Try and have a few different playlists available. If mum is hypnobirthing she may already have her own “playlist” of affirmations and calming background music. If she hopes to relax and breathe then a bit of “thrash” may not quite be appropriate – think more of the kind of stuff you hear in a garden centre on a Sunday afternoon. However, if you are having a planned section then all avenues are open – pick anything she loves. I have been doula at a section where salsa music was playing loudly at the parents request. It was quite amusing to watch the surgeons briefly bouncing around with scalpels in their hands shaking them like maracas.
- Pack a push present – YEAH!!!! – make it a birth stone (I’m hearing diamonds!) – and bring some champagne – I’m feeling yeah again – although it may be just you and the doula enjoying it. Unfortunately the staff won’t be able to join you in whetting the baby’s head and in my experience mums just want a cup of tea after birth 🙂 Shall we go back to the push present in case I haven’t covered it enough? Definitely consider buying mum a gift to thank her for carrying your child for the past 9 months, suffering nausea, heartburn, constant pee-ing, backache etc.etc.etc She SO deserves a gift from you! Make sure it is thought through and long lasting – something she will be able to treasure for the rest of her life.
- Don’t faint – mm, helpful suggestion there! It is very unusual (although not unheard of) to hear of a partner fainting in a birth room. If you start to feel squeamish then find a seat – put your head between your legs and breathe. Alternatively if you can find a quiet and clear space on the floor then lay down with your feet up the wall. If you think this could be a real issue for you then consider bringing in a friend to support you both (her friend – not yours!) – or hire a doula who can step into the breach and look after you both. If the thought of theatre is terrifying then you DEFINITELY need some back up so that your partner isn’t either left alone, or even worse, feels she has to look after you whilst she is birthing!!
If you would like to learn some more effective ways of supporting your partner through labour then book onto our antenatal courses, and visit us at the Birthability Pregnancy and Baby Fair where we will be giving a free talk about the best ways to support a mum through labour. Come and learn from professional birth partners that have been there and done it many times before, in many different settings. Let us give you the skills to support her through this amazing time – and she will forever tell people that she couldn’t have done it without you!
Hope to meet you on the 8th.