Some partners may feel like they don’t have a significant role to play in the birth space. It’s important to communicate that while they are not birthing the baby, they still have a key role to play in pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods.
Pregnant people may need some extra pampering or attention during pregnancy. Remember that not only is their body changing to grow a human, but their hormones are also changing. They may not seem like themselves at times, so this is where, instead of getting frustrated, show them some extra grace and love – gifts of food also solve a multitude of problems during pregnancy!!
LABOR: A list of ways a partner can contribute to the birth space.
– Help make decisions
– Words of encouragement and affirmation
– Try not to use counterproductive language. Ex: It can’t be that bad, you’re overreacting, calm down, etc. – Make them laugh (releases oxytocin) but be mindful of when it’s time to stop joking
– Massage, counter pressure, hip squeezes (if that’s comforting and wanted. Ask first)
– Getting water/juice, cold cloths, ice chips, etc.
POSTPARTUM: Some tips for partners to help a birthing person’s recovery
– The postpartum period can be the most vulnerable time for new parents. Be mindful that they may be feeling insecure about their appearance and do your best to encourage them that they are safe and loved.
– Take care of the baby so they can shower, eat, take a nap, etc.
– Keep a list of people to help with the baby, bring you meals, or tidy the house.
– Call on your way home from work and ask if there’s anything you need to pick up from the grocery store. – Help make meals and take care of the daily chores
– Remind them that they are recovering and that it’s ok for things not to appear perfect or put together.
Planning Your Dream Birth
• Intermittent fetal monitoring | continuous monitoring
• Freedom to move during labor (leave the room, use the tub, etc.) | Labor in the room, on bed • Listen to music | I prefer silence
• Eat and drink in labor (no unnecessary iv) | IV for fluids
• Water broken to speed up labor | spontaneous rupture of membranes
• Pitocin used to speed up labor | No Pitocin used (try other methods)
• Access to laughing gas | No laughing gas
• Open to narcotics | No narcotics
• Open to epidural | No epidural (don’t even suggest)
• Have as much birth support as I want | Have just my partner and I, along with the medical team • Open to residents in the room (for hospital births) | I prefer no residents
• Wear my own clothes during labor | Wear a hospital gown
• Directed pushing | self-led pushing
• Push in any position I choose | push in a position that is most convenient for my care provider • I would like to discover the gender myself | I would like the gender announced
• I or my partner to assist in delivering the baby | I would like my care provider to deliver the baby • I would like to keep my placenta | I do not want wish to keep my placenta
• Immediate skin to skin | baby is cleaned off before being placed on my chest
• Baby skin to skin for 1 hour before being examined | baby examined within first half hour • Delay cord clamping (for how long?) | Immediate clamping and cutting
• Have partner cut cord | Have care provider cut the cord
• Eye ointment – Yes/No • Vitamin K – Yes/No
• Newborn Metabolic Screen – Yes/No
• I would like assistance with breastfeeding | I do not need assistance with breastfeeding • Wipe baby down after birth | Do not wipe baby down immediately after birth
• Bathe within first 12 hours | delay the first bath