By 16/04/2018 Read More →

Choosing a Birthing Partner

Have the right person with you at the birth of your baby

Choosing A Birthing Partner (Maternity)

Choosing who will be at your side for practical and emotional support during the birth of your baby is a very personal decision. While having a birth partner isn’t essential, the right person can provide support, care and empathy for you at time when you really need it.

The choice is yours and your partner’s to make! Do not allow anyone to emotionally manipulate your decision. Your baby’s father is usually the first choice for a birth partner, but sometimes dad is unavailable to take on the role. You can consider anyone close to you – a granny, mom, sister or close friend or even hire a professional midwife or doula with whom you build a relationship through your pregnancy.

Characteristics to look for in a birth partner

  • Reliable and timeous
  • You trust them explicitly
  • Calm under pressure (able to adapt to change)
  • Understands the birth process
  • Comfortable in a hospital environment and able to deal with blood and pain
  • Tuned in to your needs
  • Will respect your choices and respect medical staff as professionals attending to you

You will need to get permission for the presence of a private midwife and/or doula from the maternity ward prior to labour day. Not all hospitals allow it.

You should also consider an alternative birth partner, just in case of an unforeseen event – for example your husband may be unable to be there but your sister can stand in for him.

Birth partners – preparing for labour day

Print out this section of the article and give it to your birth partner.

A birth partner should know what to expect in terms of the process of birth, pain management, delivery methods, birth positions, timing complications and what that mom-to-be expects for her labour and delivery.


  • Consider accompanying mom to childbirth education classes. Birth partners are taught all aspects of labour and birth including calming your partner, coaching the mother during delivery, effective breathing techniques and timing of the contractions.
  • You should discuss all preferences with mom in detail, along with pain control choices and what her choices for after the birth are with regards to bonding and feeding methods. Get a copy of the mom’s birth plan and keep it with you on the day.
  • You need to be contactable 24/7 in the last two weeks before the due date.
  • Be sure to have reliable transport available and plan a few different routes to get to the hospital.
  • Have plans in place so you can ‘drop everything’ to be with mom. Advise your boss in advance about the pending birth. You may be unavailable for a long stretch of time.
  • Pack a birth partner bag for yourself – include reading materials, snacks, a camera and batteries, wet wipes, change (for a vending machine), extra money (for your meals) and a change of clothing for yourself.
  • If the birth is a water birth (and you will be getting into the birthing pool), you will need a costume and towel.


Tips for labour day

  • Try to be calm for mom’s sake, especially in the first stages of labour.
  • Listen to mom – she will know how things are progressing.
  • If she wants to go to the hospital, take her but don’t rush her.
  • If mom is having a C-section, decide before hand if you will be the one to take her to the hospital at the booked time, or if you will meet her there.
  • Once settled at the maternity ward, discuss the birth plan with the attending staff.
  • Ask mom if she is comfortable and if there is anything she needs.
  • When contractions become more intense, focus on breathing strategies and talk her through each contraction.
  • Be calm and supportive throughout the process.
  • Be present in this important job – don’t have your laptop in the delivery room so you can work while mom labours. Don’t take calls on your cell phone during this time.
  • Reassure her that she is doing a fabulous job.
  • Be prepared for a change of plan – keep mom grounded if things take an unexpected turn.
  • Respect any changes in decisions that mom makes and communicate these to staff.
  • Never get snappy or irritated with her – keep calm and collected at all times.
  • It’s an emotionally charged situation. If you feel you need a break for a cup of coffee and a meal, take one. Tell the maternity staff that you will be stepping out for a while.







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Posted in: Pregnancy
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