The Role of the Partner: Birth
40 weeks (give or take) have come and gone. The big day is here. Whether you’re driving to the hospital or filling up the birthing tub in your living room, chances are you’re nervous and excited. Your biggest job during birth is to protect and support the laboring person and their wishes. Consider hiring a doula. The job of a doula is to support the laboring family – you’re going through labor together and your doula is there to support you as a team. You’re going to get tired and forget to take care of yourself. Your doula will remind you to chug a protein shake so you can stay alert and present with your partner. If you start to feel uncertain, your doula is there to reassure you. A doula is one of the best investments you could make at this stage of parenthood.
Take care of yourself. In the weeks leading up to the birth, make sure you stay rested, hydrated, and well fed. You will need your energy to support your partner through labor, whenever it happens.
Expect a flood of emotions. You will have an emotional roller coaster. You’re becoming a parent and watching the one you love tackle an enormous physical feat – there will be a lot of emotions to process. Expect that and make sure you have a support system for yourself as well as for your partner.
Protect your partner's wishes. Become informed about patient rights. Even if you plan to birth in a birthing center or at home, sometimes the unexpected can happen and you may find yourself in a hospital. Make sure you know how to protect her right to informed consent - wherever birth takes place - so that the birth experience can be as safe and enjoyable as possible. Your doula can help you with this as well.
Learn some techniques to apply to help with discomfort during labor. If your partner doesn’t opt to have their chiropractor at the birth, there are some gentle soft tissue techniques that your chiropractor can teach you to perform if needed during labor that may help make labor more comfortable.
No matter how the birth goes – whether it goes as planned or not, make sure your partner knows that you are proud of them. Any birth is a huge physical feat. If for some reason plans change and they don't have the birth that they were striving for, disappointment may be felt. Let your partner know that they're still an amazing person and an amazing parent.