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Birth Partners

One of the most important people at a birth is the birth partner (if we choose to have one – not everyone does). It is really important that we choose someone that is right for us and right for the work the role of birth partner involves. This might mean we ask someone other than our partner or nearest relative.

Birth partners can help us to feel safe, calm, confident, supported, and ready for what labour and birth involve. Their presence can help us to feel loved and secure which generates oxytocin in our body, a hormone that helps labour, birth, bonding, attachment and breastfeeding.

You can always talk through your thoughts and feelings about birth partners with your midwife as part of preparing to talk it through with your loved ones.

Birth partners roles and responsibilities include

  • Practical support – be prepared and understand birth preferences
  • Emotional support – be understanding, caring, empathise, encourage
  • Company & comfort – your presence will be soothing and a source of strength
  • Listening to what she wants
  • Physical support – helping with positions, bathing, showering, toileting
  • Communicating with professionals – speak up, press the buzzer, ask questions
  • Confidence building and motivating – Keep telling her she’s doing great!
  • Protecting privacy - managing visitors and contact with family and friends
  • Supporting feeding and nutrition for the mother
  • Helping with bathing and changing

Tasks a birth partner might carry out

  • Transport to place of birth and working out routes and parking
  • Packing bags of kit for parent/s and baby/ies (clothes, toiletries, snacks, drinks etc)
  • Familiarising yourself with the birth plan
  • Organising regular eating and drinking through labour
  • Running baths/showers
  • Accompanying on walks
  • Back rubs or massage
  • Music
  • Keeping spirits up
  • Supporting labour or birth positions
  • Announcing baby/ies arrival
  • Organising quiet, relaxed and comfortable return home