There are plenty of blogs and articles out there that tell you what the idea birth partner SHOULD be doing during birth, but that leaves the question.
What should an ideal birth partner NOT do?
Of course, each birthing person is unique and has their own ideas of what is and is not supportive or welcome during birth. However, there are some things no birth partners should ever do.
Show up unprepared
If a birthing person has chosen you to be their birth partner, that is a big honor! If you haven’t seen a birth before, take some time to research, watch videos and generally know what happens during a birth. You can also go to your partner’s OB or midwife appointments. Also, make sure you are available for the few weeks around the birthing person’s due date.
Not be present
If you are with your birthing person and you aren’t in the moment (i.e. you are on your phone, eating, chatting up the nurses) that isn’t offering the best support. Of course, no one wants another human up in their space all day, but taking time to check in and provide support is what you are there to do.
Ask too many questions
Before you walk into the birth, make sure you are familiar with and have the tools necessary to provide support to the birthing person. Tennis balls, essential oils, music, a birth ball – make sure you talk about different supports and items you might need and then get them yourself! And don’t constantly ask questions during labor – just offer the supports.
Don’t ask if the birthing person needs help packing a hospital bag or prepping for a home birth. Just show up and help.
If your birthing person wants a natural birth, don’t ignore their wishes and ask if they want pain medication. Don’t talk to the doctor or midwife like the birthing person isn’t there. Make sure you support the original plan and be on the birthing person’s team!
Fail to care for themselves
It’s called the oxygen mask rule: If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of your birthing person. So, make sure you eat, rest, hydrate and wear comfortable clothes and try to be there for the long haul.
At Everything Birth, we hope you have an amazing and supportive birth!