The Top 5 Things Your Birth Partner Should Avoid

The Top 5 Things Your Birth Partner Should Avoid

Although romantic partners aren’t the ones in the spotlight on the actual day of labor, their support in the delivery process is equally important. Not sure how to handle a baby on the way? Start by avoiding these 5 things before and during labor.

  1. Don’t stay out too late as her due date nears.  Yes, you might have that business meeting planned and everyone’s going out for a beer right after. But make sure it’s just one beer. I once had a birth where the dad got a call from his wife at 2am asking where he was, because she was in labor! He was already drunk and while he managed to be somewhat helpful during the labor, (after drinking lots of water and pulling himself together somehow) I am sure the new mom did give him quite a speech after.
  2. Don’t order pepperoni pizza when you get the craving. Stay away from snacks with a strong scent, because the smells can be amplified for some women in labor. Stick to nuts, nutritional bars or plain crackers that have minimal odors. If you need something heartier, excuse yourself to eat outside the room.
  3. Don’t ever feel insulted, ever. Emotions and hormones can sometimes translate as screaming insults that have no meaning or truth behind them. Going through labor is A LOT to deal with – it’s important not to take things personally. Imagine a time when you said something you regretted from a place of exhaustion or discomfort. Then, multiply that feeling by 100. I’ve assured ”my” client’s birth partners on several occasions: what is said in the delivery room stays in the delivery room.
  4. Don’t try to be a hero. Look away if something is making you light headed. Cry if you feel like it. And allow yourself to be scared if that’s what’s coming up. These are all normal emotions that arise as an expectant parent. The last thing you want to do is try to be a tough partner and end up passed out, on the floor, when your family needs you most.
  5. Don’t give instructions to your laboring partner unless you know what you are doing. Did you take a childbirth class? In that case you know what you are doing. If not, ask your midwife to tell you how you can help your partner during labor. Here are some tips on what to say:
  • In between contractions put your hands on her shoulders and remind her to lower her shoulders, relax her face, and enjoy this break.
  • During the contraction breathe with her. Give EASY instructions, and never say “relaaaaaaax” or “breeeeeeathe”. This is way too broad. Say things like: “Breathe out longer”, “breathe in through your nose”, “try breathing out with an aaaaaaaa”, “keep your lips loose”. These are easy instructions that a woman in labor can follow. Being in labor makes them tired and shuts their brain down. Too much information can stress her out and slow down labor. After the contraction say:” You are so strong, that was amazing”, “I am right here and we are doing this together”.
  • Discuss before birth what affirmations/sentences would make sense for her labor. Maybe you have done that crazy hike together and can remind her about how she made it through that so gracefully and how that same perspective will keep her energy up during labor. Maybe she has a fear of losing control and helping her keep her breath under control can make labor easier for her. Or maybe she has a life-motto and you can repeat that for her.

Which words or sentences by your birth partner helped you during your labor?

Stephanie Heintzeler, Midwife and Doula,

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.