The role of birth partners

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The role of birth partners

Maternal support: Find out more about how a birth partner could help you

The role of birth partners

Maternal support: Find out more about how a birth partner could help you

Giving birth is an incredibly exciting but also a nerve-racking time, so you'll want to make sure that you've got the support you need around you. For many people it's an obvious choice like a husband or partner, but it can also be a close friend or relative who can provide practical support - as well as a shoulder to lean on and a hand to hold! In fact, there's nothing to stop you having a partner and a friend or family member as well.

If you're wondering how a birth partner can help you, we've got some top tips on how they can provide all the creature comforts you need.

Mum Louise says

"My birth partners were my sister and fiancé. My fiancé wanted to be there to see his daughter arrive but was apprehensive about how he could support me. My sister recently gave birth after a very hard and long labour, so she kept me calm and helped me through every stage. I couldn't have done it without them both. I don't even remember my midwife and doctor; I only listened to my sister!"

There's no way of knowing what your labour will be like - everyone is different! But whoever you choose to be your birth partner, they can help you in the following ways:

  • Keep you company and help to pass the time during the early stages
  • Hold (even squeeze!) your hand, wipe or spritz your face and give you sips of water
  • Massage your back and shoulders or help you to move about - whatever makes you comfortable
  • Comfort you as labour progresses and your contractions get stronger
  • Remind you how to use relaxation and breathing techniques - breathing with you if it helps
  • Support the decisions that you've made, particularly around pain relief and making sure everyone is aware of your birth plan requests
  • Help you explain to the midwife or doctor what you need - and the other way around as well, which will help you to feel more in control
  • Tell you what's happening as your baby is born, as you may not be able to see what's going on

Angela's birth partner story

When I completed my family, I thought I had seen the last of labour wards and midwives but a few years later a friend of mine asked me to be her birthing partner during her planned C-section. Her husband was not keen to be present during the caesarean and she really wanted someone she could trust to support and help her through her birthing experience.

Mum of two Angela

Initially I was slightly nervous - would I be enough support for her, what did she expect me to do, how could I replace a partner being there? But then I realised what an honour and privilege it was to be witness to someone's arrival into the world and to be on the 'other side' of giving birth!

I had chatted through my friend's wishes before 'C Day' and so, on the morning of the caesarean, I was fully briefed and ready to support her if things got complicated to ensure she kept to her birth plan. As it was, we went into the operating room and my main job was to hold her hand, provide reassurance and give her regular updates (much like a partner would be doing). I will never forget the moment they presented my friend's daughter after the C-section; we were both in tears and it was a truly bonding moment in our friendship.

I am now the little girl's proud godmother and feel very blessed to have been there for her birth and to have supported my friend in her hour of need.


Read more like this:
A labour of love: Your birth plan
What to expect from labour
Birth stories

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The role of birth partners

Maternal support: Find out more about how a birth partner could help you

Giving birth is an incredibly exciting but also a nerve-racking time, so you'll want to make sure that you've got the support you need around you. For many people it's an obvious choice like a husband or partner, but it can also be a close friend or relative who can provide practical support - as well as a shoulder to lean on and a hand to hold! In fact, there's nothing to stop you having a partner and a friend or family member as well.

If you're wondering how a birth partner can help you, we've got some top tips on how they can provide all the creature comforts you need.

There's no way of knowing what your labour will be like - everyone is different! But whoever you choose to be your birth partner, they can help you in the following ways:

  • Keep you company and help to pass the time during the early stages
  • Hold (even squeeze!) your hand, wipe or spritz your face and give you sips of water
  • Massage your back and shoulders or help you to move about - whatever makes you comfortable
  • Comfort you as labour progresses and your contractions get stronger
  • Remind you how to use relaxation and breathing techniques - breathing with you if it helps
  • Support the decisions that you've made, particularly around pain relief and making sure everyone is aware of your birth plan requests
  • Help you explain to the midwife or doctor what you need - and the other way around as well, which will help you to feel more in control
  • Tell you what's happening as your baby is born, as you may not be able to see what's going on

Angela's birth partner story

When I completed my family, I thought I had seen the last of labour wards and midwives but a few years later a friend of mine asked me to be her birthing partner during her planned C-section. Her husband was not keen to be present during the caesarean and she really wanted someone she could trust to support and help her through her birthing experience.

Initially I was slightly nervous - would I be enough support for her, what did she expect me to do, how could I replace a partner being there? But then I realised what an honour and privilege it was to be witness to someone's arrival into the world and to be on the 'other side' of giving birth!

I had chatted through my friend's wishes before 'C Day' and so, on the morning of the caesarean, I was fully briefed and ready to support her if things got complicated to ensure she kept to her birth plan. As it was, we went into the operating room and my main job was to hold her hand, provide reassurance and give her regular updates (much like a partner would be doing). I will never forget the moment they presented my friend's daughter after the C-section; we were both in tears and it was a truly bonding moment in our friendship.

I am now the little girl's proud godmother and feel very blessed to have been there for her birth and to have supported my friend in her hour of need.

Read more like this:

A labour of love: Your birth plan
What to expect from labour
Birth stories

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