Childbirth is a huge, life-changing event for families. Preparation often focuses on preparing the birthing parent for labor and birth. This can leave partners wondering about what their role will look like. How can they be supportive and an effective birth partner?
Labor can be intense; it’s called labor for a reason! For a partner, it can also be hard to see your loved one in physical pain, and it can be even scarier if you weren’t expecting it. Taking childbirth education classes can help partners gain insight on what to expect, what’s normal and how they can help. For instance, the Bradley method is designed with partners in mind and focuses on using teamwork to get through labor.
Having a doula is also a great step in preparing partners for childbirth. A good doula has seen it all before and can guide both the laboring person and the partner through the process.
Midwives also practice informed choice and explain what is happening throughout labor so both the laboring person and their partner feel respected and heard.
In the postpartum period, the birthing person will most likely be busy feeding the baby. Sometimes this task can get divided up amongst the family, but in the case of exclusive breastfeeding, a lot of the work falls on the chestfeeding parent. When this is the case, partners have the opportunity to get really good at cleaning the kitchen or helping around the house in ways they may not be used to.
Much of the work of bringing a new life into this world falls on the laboring person, but behind every laboring person there should be a team of support people. Partners play a key role in the process and can prepare by knowing what to expect, managing house chores, sharing baby responsibilities and gathering a team of other support people.
Kanya DelPozzo , MSN, CNM
McKenzie Midwives & Lactations Services
960 N. 16th St., Ste 104, Springfield (541) 744-8660