It is very important that the birth partner knows what their role is!
Do not underestimate the importance of your support….. It is the key to the woman’s experience.
- Always talk through birth preferences (birth plan). Discuss hopes and fears together. Perhaps make a list alone and discuss together finding sound solutions that each are happy with.
- Choose encouragement, not sympathy during labour. Sympathy is a wonderful thing to offer, however during labour, encouragement is the key.
- Attend parent craft classes together, bonding is important.
- If you become anxious or panicky ….. take a break!! She needs you, so take time away if required.
- Watch her signals, such as sips of water, toilet breaks, face may need a freshen up, hair put back, etc.
- Watch her body language ….. a nasty cycle in labour is fear and tension. Avoid Fear – Tension syndrome. Labour will not progress if she is tense, keep the jaw area especially relaxed.
- Keep the lovely environment going. Dim lit room, music, anything that relaxes and enhances relaxation.
- Suggesting in-take of food/ water consumption/bathroom trips.
- Tending to music
- Light touch massage while mum using birthing ball.
- Cool facecloths on forehead and neck.
- Effleurage in the bath.
- Placing pillows where needed – under knees, at back, behind shoulders.
Birth companion Guide whilst in first stages of labour: Onset of labour – stay calm and relaxed!
During night: sleep until contractions are 5-6 mins apart.
Position Any: in which mother is comfortable
Breathing : use calm relaxed breathing. (breathe in for 4 secs and breathe down for 8 secs).
During the day: continue with any activity mother is comfortable with, use visualisation techniques. Breathe gently down towards the vagina.
- Listen to tapes – anything that relaxes you!
- Remain at home until mum’s body signals need to move.
- Call hospital at 5-6 mins apart.
Arrival at the hospital or birth centre.
- Return home if less than 4cm dilated.
- Discuss preferences with the midwife, i.e: use of pool etc, dim lit room, use of i-pod, artificial candles.
As labour progresses- opening and thinning stage.
- Keep mum well hydrated.
- Change positions frequently to assist in rotation of baby: lateral, back, bath, birthing ball, chair, standing, toilet sitting. Two or three pillows placed under knee if in lateral position.
- Stay connected with baby!
- Breathing through the 1st stage of labour (breathe in rapid 1-20+ up visualise filling a balloon. Only the abdomen draws up.
- Body is loose and limp (ragdoll).
- Mum will go into birthing body- often amnesiac state.
- Mum will express need to bear down – encourage her with positive/ loving phrases.
- Assist in change of position.
- Mother receives baby.
- Remove any obstruction such as towel/clothing/fabric.
- Heat is very important for 3rd Keep warm.
- Baby is put to the breast.
- Bonding continues.
- Once the baby is born, lots of attention is on the baby, so make sure mum has lots of attention too. Remember she still has to birth the placenta, will still feel some contractions and may feel exhaustion. She may need a drink, her face wiped, hair out of her face, and once everything is settled she may be starving!! So a lovely cup of tea and some toast maybe just the ticket!