How to be the best birth partner possible!
In these unprecedented times it’s probable that pregnant couples will feel even more anxious than normal. But labour is labour whether we are in lockdown or not and there is no reason why your birth should be any different to how it would be ‘normally’.
For now, in-person antenatal classes are no longer an option, but there is plenty of help online for birthing couples including ‘The Birthing Tool Kit’ antenatal workshop on ZOOM with birthing expert, ZenMuma and Orange Grove founder Jackie Heffer-Cooke. This ZOOM workshop is a 5-hour version of the SIMPLE Hypnobirthing method, by the award winning hypnobirthing teacher training school ZenMuma, and because it is a live class you get to ask the questions you need answers to and interact with Jackie and the other parents too, so it feels more like a ‘real-life’ class than simply just downloading an online version and watching it.
The truth is there is a lot you and your birth partner can do to prepare and get ready for your labour. Here childbirth expert Jackie Heffer-Cooke reveals all about birthing and how having a Birthing Tool Kit is paramount to an easier and better birth.
Birth Partners need to make their birthing loved one feel safe and secure
So, in days of many moons ago, before hospitals and houses, women would have simply crept into a cave, a hut, or some water, and birthed safely – knowing their ‘silver back gorilla’ was protecting them from any big nasties that may want to eat them whilst in the birthing act. This was and still is the only way women will birth comfortably and with ease, if they feel safe. These days it’s not about beating off approaching bears with a stick, but the idea remains the same. Birth partners need to make their birthing loved one feel safe and secure, that way birthing mum can forget about everything else and just simply birth.
10 quick steps to being a birth partner super hero!
- Be prepared for labour. Have the bag packed, know where everything is, have all the conversations about what you really do, and really don’t want – BEFORE the big day itself.
- Communicate confidence with your eyes, look directly into birthing mums’ eyes, and hold that gaze securely.
- Communicate calm through the body by being calm, that means breathing steadily and communicating confidence.
- With words be empathetic, understanding and add something positive like “Yes, you are doing so well and working really hard, you will soon be holding our baby in your arms, you’re nearly there, and you’re amazing!”
- During established birth and into transition – If you have practised breathing techniques together then it’s sometimes helpful for the birth partner to join in, even act them out, making the balloon breath into the surges for example with really big gestures with the hands. Or if birthing mum is using a count through the surges as a focus join in. Perhaps they are visualising something, ask what it is and see if you can help describe it and keep them there. It’s not hard, it’s super simple. A HypnoBirthing class will tell you all you need to know.
- Be the voice! Birthing mums need to keep themselves in birth, so birth partners be the communicator. Take on the role of talking to the midwife on the phone, or when you arrive at the hospital.
- Think – how can I make her more comfortable? You may not think there is anything you can do to support your birthing loved one whilst she is deep labour, but the next day she won’t thank you for the sore knees. Pop a cushion under her knees, her arms, behind her back. Help her be as comfortable as possible.
- Massage… Yup massage ticks all the boxes for birth. Whether it’s oxytocin enhancing soft touch, or meaty massage for back ache, you can be Massage God! Get it right. Practise beforehand.
- Don’t forget to pack a bendy straw – Birth is very dehydrating. Make sure your partner drinks every 20 mins, or every other surge during the final stages of labour. Ice cold water through a bendy straw will mean she won’t have to get out of her favourite labour position to drink it 😊
- Enjoy it. Birth does not have to be scary, it can be an amazing, exhilarating, experience you will both remember for the rest of your life, you just need some tools to help you both manage the whole experience calmly, and confidently.
To join Jackie on one of her popular ZOOM Birthing Tool Kit Workshops, or to use her Birthing Tool Kit Video visit ZenMuma.co.uk and for free hints and tips join her social media FaceBook, Instagram or FaceBook Group