Beyond the midwife or physician, and other medical staff, having someone you know really well and can feel relaxed and comfortable with during childbirth can provide immeasurable support. They can hold your hand, massage your shoulders (although you may find you don’t want to be touched at all), help move you into positions you may have practiced in childbirth classes and remind you to breathe during contractions. But who to chose?
Once upon a time a birth companion was not allowed to be present in the delivery room. Today, medical emergencies excluded, you can choose your partner, a family member, a friend or perhaps a doula, a professional support for women in childbirth.
Today most partners are present at their child’s birth and for many it is a defining moment for them and their relationship with their children and the mother of their child. However, you or your partner may feel that an additional support person might help.
Family members or friends
Whether it’s your mom, your aunt, your sister or a close friend you need to know them well enough to know that you can be completely relaxed and comfortable with them and that they will respect your wishes.
A doula is a trained professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth. Doulas are not medical professionals. Some doulas provide emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.
Certification for doulas usually includes multiple workshops, readings and childbirth education, as well as requirements to attend a number of births and being evaluated by a midwife or doctor present.
For more information about doula’s check out the DONA International Birth Doula FAQ. You can find doulas offering services in town through DONA’s directory search.
What can your birth partner do?
Make sure you talk before about what type of birth you would like and what you’d prefer to avoid so they can support you in those efforts. If you have made a birth plan, go over it together.
Be there for you
Whether it’s just chatting with you during the early stages or sitting quietly, this can be a long process.
Make your environment comfortable.
From massaging your back, to getting you water, plumping pillows, to providing support as you walk your birth partner can make your environment more comfortable.
Breath with you
It’s especially helpful if your birth partner attended childbirth classes with you, they can remind you about the relaxation and breathing techniques.
Cut the umbilical cord
Your birth partner may be able to cut the umbilical cord – you can talk to your doctor or midwife about this.