The role of the partner
The role of the partner is very important during the labour process. Your Birthing Partner is your advocate in labour. You will be invited to bring a partner with you to the labour ward. This partner may be your husband, partner, mother, sister, or friend. It is your choice. Sometimes women choose to have their babies alone with the Midwife present. As long as you are comfortable that is all that matters .A relaxed mother often means a relaxed baby! Society puts a lot of pressure on mothers and partners and they feel under pressure to conform to current trends. There is no pressure to conform in the labour ward. There is no standard to be achieved! The midwives are very kind and supportive.
When you arrive in labour it can be both daunting and overwhelming.
Tips for your partner:
Be positive at all times. While you may have read all the books and googled everything when your partner is in labour it is quite different! Labour is hard work and you may see some slight personality changes. This is normal!
- Some partners describe feeling a little “in the way” in the labour ward. You will feel a little out of your comfort zone initially but just relax and everything settles as the labour progresses. The midwives are very reassuring.
- It is the simple things that count .Carry the bags as she moves from one Department to another.
- Have snacks throughout the day. Keep your sugars up as it may be a long day.
- During the early stages of labour the neck of the womb(cervix) will need to thin out (effacement)and open(dilate).The neck of the womb has to open to 10cms before the baby is born. Walk with your partner as she works through each contraction. Practice the breathing techniques you have learned in your antenatal classes. Ensure that nobody disturbs your partner as she breathes through a contraction. You may have to count her through the initial contractions. Remember each contraction is bringing you closer to the birth!
- When in labour a woman goes into her own world. Sometimes she will want you to touch her i.e -back massage and sometimes she won’t feel comfortable with you touching her at all! Be ready. This is normal too.
- A cold facecloth on her forehead is magic!
There are no do’s and dont’s for labour. The fact that you are present is what counts . Everyone tries their best. It will be worth it!