Why a Birth Partner can be an essential part of your birth tool Kit!
If you’re pregnant you have probably heard of the term ‘Birth Partner’. Traditionally this may have been the partner of the expectant mother, however it is now 2021 and the dynamics of a family are evolving . A birth partner is defined as someone who is there to support you during the birth of your baby. The level and type of support they may provide will vary based on your needs and wants. The ultimate goal is for you to have a positive birth experience and your birth partner can support you to achieve this. They do not necessarily have to be someone who you are in a romantic relationship with.
So, who can I have as my birth partner you may ask, here are some examples:
- Your bestie
- Your cousin/ Aunt
- Your doula/ private midwife
- Your sister/brother
- Your Mum/ Dad/ Grandparent
- Your husband/ wife/ romantic partner
Some women have even asked their Hypnobirthing practitioner.
Can birth partners really do more than just hold your hand? YES THEY CAN! And most of the time they probably want to do more, and are just unsure how to help.
A birth partner can play a vital role and make a huge difference in having a positive birth experience. They can be your right-hand man, your cheerleader, and your advocate. They can assist with practical tasks such as bringing you water and snacks (you will need your energy Mumma) but also help you emotionally and assist in keeping you feeling calm and safe.
If you are anything like me, I tend to let stress get the better of me. Now the stress hormone (cortisol) can impact the progress of your labour. Your birth partner can assist you in producing those good hormones such as Oxytocin (nicknamed “the love hormone”) which contracts the uterus and promotes the progress of labour. Some ways to get the oxytocin flowing are having your partner perform light touch (my favourite) and having them read words of affirmations.
A birth partner can be especially helpful if you are Hypnobirthing as when you are in that deep state of relaxation, listening to your MP3 tracks and focusing on breathing through your surges, the last thing you want is a nurse/ doctor distracting you with questions. Discuss your birth preferences with your birth partner prior so that they can be your voice and advocate for you when you can’t.
Here are some evidenced based techniques that your birth partner can do to support you, learnt from the Hypnobirthing Australia class:
- Providing anchor point touch (allows you to drift into a deeper state of relaxation)
- Providing acupressure
- Playing your birth playlist (I listened to Tranquil Chambers during my labour)
- Adjusting the light/ temperature of the room
- Setting up your diffuser with essential oils ( I had a blend of clary sage and Grapefruit) Light touch massage
- Assist you to change positions (such as the slow dance position)
- Assist you in making informed decisions
- To communicate with your birth team what your birth preferences are when you are unable to.
These are just some of the amazing techniques your birth partner can use to assist you in having a positive birth experience. Your birth partner may be the only safe person and familiar face during your labour and birth. So, when choosing, make sure that they can provide the care, support and guidance that you may require. Having your birth partner provide that continuity of care by supporting you during your pregnancy and at birth is invaluable.
This blog is written by Chloe Blanchard who is both a Mum and a Hypnobirthing Australia Practitioner in New South Wales, Bowral. CLICK HERE for more details.
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