The labor and delivery process is often an intensely emotional time for both partners, but it can also be an overwhelming time for the partner who is not in labor. While your partner may be focused on their own experience during the labor and delivery process, it is important to remember that you are a vital part of their experience.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your partner feels supported throughout the entire process. You should do everything within your power to help them feel safe and secure so that they can remain as calm as possible during this time.
Supporting your partner during labor is not only a vital role, but it can also have a significant impact on the outcome of the labor and delivery process. Research shows that continuous support during childbirth for a person in labor can have positive benefits for both them and the baby. Positive support might even improve the outcome and reduce the length of labor.
Providing support can also help you bond as a team, which will be especially helpful once you welcome your new addition into your family!
If you are committed to being a support person for your partner during labor and delivery, you’ll need all the tips and suggestions you can get to prepare you for the process. Your journey starts here.
Why Is Support Important?
As you prepare to support your partner during labor, it’s important to remember that your role is crucial in ensuring that decisions are being made with the birthing person’s consent and are in the best interest of the family. Active support can decrease the need for medical intervention, promote quicker labor, and help women feel empowered and supported throughout the process.
When supporting a birthing person, it’s important to remember that they may be feeling vulnerable and alone at this time. Remembering that their needs are more important than yours will help you keep calm and focused on what’s best for them.
Dr. Emily Guarnotta, PsyD, PMH-C, a licensed clinical psychologist and certified perinatal mental health provider, says: “Having a supportive partner can help enhance the experience of labor and birth. People who feel supported are less likely to experience their birth as traumatic. Even if a [person] experiences trauma during birth, having the support of a partner can help them cope and give them a sense that they were not alone in what happened. A supportive birth experience sets the stage for working together as a couple to navigate the parenting challenges ahead.”
Preparing For The Day
If you’re going to be by your partner’s side during the delivery process, you need to start preparing well before their due date.
One of the most important things you can do is attend labor and delivery classes with them. This gives both of you an opportunity to talk through what it will be like and what kinds of decisions you’ll have to make together when the time comes.
You should also discuss your birth wishes and preferences as a couple. You might both be eager to get started but remember: this is a long road, so be sure to check in with each other about how you’re feeling throughout each step of it.
Providing Physical Support
As your partner goes through labor, you will want to provide her with physical support. This can be as simple as holding her hand or giving her a shoulder rub, but it can also include back massages and helping with breathing techniques. It is important that you know how to support your partner’s body so that she feels supported during this time.
It is also important to educate yourself on the progression of labor. This will help you clarify the birth person’s wishes for pain management and other aspects of their birth plan. This information will help guide you in decision-making during labor.
Also knowing the stages of labor helps you know when to hold them, when they need more hydration, or even when they need food!
Providing Emotional Support
Being a support person during labor will also require you to be flexible and not take things your partner says or does personally. For example, if your partner speaks sharply, try not to take it personally. Instead, acknowledge the emotion your partner is feeling and remind her that she is doing an amazing job.
Be open to taking on different tasks and offering support in different ways. Know that your role may change throughout the process. Be open to changing up what you are doing so that you can give her what she needs at each stage of labor.
Be ready to be the brunt of your birthing partner’s pain, anxiety, stress, and frustration during labor—and don’t take it personally!
You may need to arm yourself with coping techniques and stress-management methods to help you go through this.
You’re about to embark on one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. As a birth partner, you will be an advocate, support system, and voice for your loved one as she goes through this incredible experience.
The best way to go through this is to always stay informed by connecting with your midwives.
We can walk with you through every process of labor and delivery, answer any questions that may come up along the way, and help prepare you for what’s to come.
- Bohren MA, Hofmeyr GJ, Sakala C, Fukuzawa RK, Cuthbert A. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003766. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub6. Accessed 21 November 2022. https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD003766.pub6/
- Emily Guarnotta, PsyD https://www.choosingtherapy.com/emily-guarnotta/
Do you have other questions and concerns about your pregnancy? Connect with us today!
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