A birthing partner is someone who will be with you during labour and birth, to give you emotional and practical support. Who you choose to be your birthing partner is entirely up to you.
For many mums-to-be, their partner may be the first choice. However, it’s also common for women to ask a relative or friend to be their support during labour and childbirth – particularly if that person has gone through it themselves. While you may feel pressure to pick a particular person to be your birthing partner, it’s a personal decision that only you can make and, as hard as it may be, try not to be influenced by anyone’s opinion or worry about offending people.
The person you trust the most, feel most comfortable with and who you believe will be able to support you best on the day is the person you want to choose.
The role of your birthing partner is to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible and encourage you through labour. Here are some of the things they should do:
• Be sensitive to your needs
• Stay calm under pressure
• Be attentive, positive and encouraging
• Be able to explain what’s happening
• Ask for help on your behalf if you need it
• Reassure and comfort you
Whoever you choose, make sure you discuss how you want them to help and go through your birth plan with them if you have one prepared.
Remember that childbirth doesn’t always go the way you want it to, so someone who’ll be flexible and able to make decisions about your care is ideal.