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Advice for Birth Partners

Hints for birth partners

  • Just being with her will help your partner.
  • In the early stages of labour, keep your partner company. Distract her if that’s what she wants. Maybe find things to do together to pass the time, such as playing cards.
  • Help and encourage her through each contraction. Try different ways of helping, but follow her feelings. You might: hold her hand; hold her as she leans against you or let her hold onto you; wipe her face; massage or stroke her; help her to move about and change position.
  • Eye-to-eye contact can help her focus her attention away from the pain.
  • Offer words of encouragement such as, “you’re doing really well”, “blow the contraction away”, “focus on your breathing”, “each contraction is one closer to baby’s birth”.
  • Encourage her to use breathing and relaxation. Do these with her.
  • Help her to communicate with the midwife, and the midwife with her. Act as your partner’s advocate for her needs.
  • Support her wishes about, for example, pain relief or any other medical procedures. Help her do things the way she wants to do them at the time, even if this is not as planned.
  • Tell her what’s happening as the baby is born.
  • Don’t expect her full attention. She needs all her energy and concentration to cope with her labour. Don’t be surprised (or hurt) if she becomes irritable or angry. It may help her to have someone to shout at.
  • Some women don’t want to be touched, or even spoken to much, during labour, so don’t be surprised if this happens. It may still be important that you are there.
  • Give her support, encouragement and, above all, praise – right the way through.
  • Help her remember that there is no blueprint for labour and no such thing as right or wrong during labour. Take each contraction as it comes and concentrate on each individual contraction. Do not anticipate events or try to plan ahead.