Awesome Birth Partners in Labor and how to be one

Birth partner helping pushing in pittsburgh

Why we love your birth:

When I think back on the many births I have had the pleasure of attending over the last few years there are two elements of the sacred birth process that I really love. The first is the strength that ALL women show in labor and the second is the connection shared between the birthing person and their partners. Several families have expressed their interest in capturing the baby once it is born but are not at all interested in aspects of the labor being documented. I can’t convince them all, but I always tell them this: You will cherish photos of you and your partner connecting with one another. It is a RAW intimate experience that is so beautiful, you will never know until it’s your birth story.

Couple at The Midwife Center

Couple at The Midwife Center

He’s about to become a Dad!

He’s about to become a Dad!

Beautiful moment between couple in labor at The Midwife Center

Beautiful moment between couple in labor at The Midwife Center

Who are the birth partners?

Everyone and anyone supportive of a laboring woman’s needs. Often times a significant other like a spouse (husband or wife) is present and eager to assist. We see many Mothers attend their daughters births. Yes, even many Fathers or Fathers-in-law are present and help out! We also see the couple’s children offer up a lot of emotional support when they attend the birth. Typically we are the doulas in the room at our client’s births. We are part of the team as well. Many midwives and OB’s have lent a hand in need. Sometimes we get a special treat and have professionals come in to help out our laboring women, such as Chiropractors, OBGYN friends, and nurses. My personal favorite tear-jerker kind of birth partner was in a surrogate birth in which the intended parents of the baby where so hands-on in the birth. It was the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed in a birth.

Surrogate Birth at Magee Women’s Hospital

Surrogate Birth at Magee Women’s Hospital

How can I be an awesome birth partner?

That’s easy! Well, being at a birth is not EASY but these tools will surely make you the most awesome birth partner out there.

  • Step 1 is very important: Be on the same page before birth occurs. Sitting down together and writing out a birth plan can be a super helpful way to make sure you both agree on your choices. If you are not sure how you feel about something the soon-to-be birthing Mother is wanting NEVER shut her down or tell her “We’re not doing that.” Ask her to explain why she wants to do it that way and respect her thoughts on the matter. The hope is that you will both be able to come to an understanding together with one-another.

  • When early labor begins don’t be the TV sitcom spouse or friend that looses their mind running around everywhere acting super nervous and jumping the gun. You are the rock in this birth. If you are calm and cool, she will be more at ease. If you are afraid parts of the birthing process might make you too nervous or are afraid you might not know how and what to do, consider hiring a doula. It’s also wise to take a good Childbirth Education Course together. It will give you both confidence when the time comes.

Jefferson Hospital couple in the heat of final labor.

Jefferson Hospital couple in the heat of final labor.

Intimate tender moments between this loving couple.

Intimate tender moments between this loving couple.

Laboring Mother being assisted by two nurses at The Midwife Center, Pittsburgh PA

Laboring Mother being assisted by two nurses at The Midwife Center, Pittsburgh PA

  • Tell her many times in labor how incredible she is doing! It’s nice coming from us and all but it means 100x more coming from you. You know her. You have a deep connection with her. Here are some examples:

    • I’m so proud of you

    • You are more beautiful now than ever

    • You are so strong

    • You can do this. I am here with you.

    • I love you.

  • Have a few simple tricks on hand ready to help her physically. An easy one is, wait for it………. holding her hand. Yes, even simple touch like that will let her know she is safe and supported. I’d also suggest reviewing the double hip squeeze, counter back pressure and how to support her physically in a squatting position. For my families laboring with an epidural in place: birth partners should remember to have Mother switch positions often and opening up pelvis with a Peanut Ball (your nurse will know what that is I promise).

Rebozo double-hip squeeze with counter back pressure.

Rebozo double-hip squeeze with counter back pressure.

Pushing can be very physical on both mother and partner

Pushing can be very physical on both mother and partner

Mother and Husband West Penn Hospital

Mother and Husband West Penn Hospital

Wife of laboring Mother doing double-hip-squeeze

Wife of laboring Mother doing double-hip-squeeze

  • Ask her if she needs sips of liquid after just about every contraction. Give her small bits of food often if it is permitted for you to do so.

  • If complications arise you ask questions. Be your family’s advocate. Make sure you know all your options. You are not a bystander at this birth. This is YOUR birth, so be an active participant. Make sure you understand things as clear as possible and above everything else, let your significant other know that you are there for them and you will be there for her in an emergency situation. Sometimes I will let my clients know, “You are in a safe place with professionals who are practiced in these situations. We are here.”

Son comforting his Mother in labor at home birth

Son comforting his Mother in labor at home birth

Pain management in the shower!

Pain management in the shower!

Doula (Me), Mother, Husband, Nurse helping while pushing

Doula (Me), Mother, Husband, Nurse helping while pushing

Now you’re almost ready!

The only thing to remember if you haven’t already done so is to hire someone like Kate and I to capture these priceless moments at your birth so you can focus on your number 1 job of being an amazing birth partner! We’d love to capture you being super awesome just like these cool partners in our blog.