Studies have shown that women who are supported during labour need to have fewer pain-killers, experience fewer interventions and give birth to stronger babies. After their babies are born, supported women feel better about themselves, their labours and their babies.
So a birth partner is definitely a good thing if:
• you feel completely relaxed and comfortable with them
• they know what's involved and have (ideally) been to antenatal classes with you
• you can trust them to be able to communicate what you want to your medical carers
• they'll be able to cope and not be distressed or frightened by what's happening
• they want to be there.
Here's a checklist to remember:
Position: Is the mother changing her position regularly and moving about?
Urination: Are you reminding her to go to the toilet every hour?
Relaxation: Is she as relaxed as possible?
Respiration: Is she breathing evenly and not gasping?
Rest: Is she making the most of the break between contractions to rest and refresh herself?
Reassurance: Are you giving her constant encouragement and reassurance?
Birth partners have needs too:
• remember to eat and drink
• wear loose, cool clothing
• stay as relaxed as possible
• take a break if you need to.