Updated: Jul 21, 2020
Birth Partner - A person chosen by a pregnant woman to give her support during the process of childbirth.
There seems to be a bit of talk at the moment regarding birth partners. Rumour has it that Prince Harry is currently in ‘training’ (anybody else wish the media would leave Harry & Megan alone)?
There is a huge stereotype image of men as birth partners (reinforced by the media) of them fainting at the sign of blood or poo. Sitting in the corner of the birth room checking the latest football score, or twiddling their thumbs not knowing what to do. But this isn’t true. I have either seen men being absolutely amazing, being the rock, literally someone to lean on or I've seen the dads with a look of horror and ‘help me’ on their face. Where they have become disengaged, not because they are uninterested, but because they struggle to watch their truly beloved endure labour and birth as they don’t understand what is happening or how they can help.
Lets be honest men are actually completely useless at giving birth!! They physically can't do it, although I've heard many say “ I wish I could do it for her”. However they are perfect at protecting and supporting. Interestingly something I learnt recently was that in late pregnancy and birth, men’s hormones actually change!! Their testosterone levels drop and they become more primal (protective). How awesome is mother nature! Don’t worry men, once your baby has arrived your hormones will return to normal.
Throughout my training and career as a midwife a phrase constantly bounded about was ‘continuity of care’ or 'continuity of carer'. It has been known for years, even decades that continuity of care leads to better outcomes. The sad reality is that although every midwife you will meet would love to be able to do just that, staffing and logistics just won't allow it the majority of the time. However do not worry, a lot of you will have it in the form of your birth partner. No matter what shape or size they come in, husband, partner, mum, friend or even a doula. They have been there throughout your pregnancy journey, they know you best, you have a strong bond with them and most importantly you trust them. They are the perfect person to have by your side.
As part of the Birth Nerd course birth partners learn how to support. They are provided with tools and information to help protect the mother. They will learn how to ask the right questions to help navigate the journey. How to be an advocate and play an active role. The birth partner will also leave the course feeling fully prepared, confident and excited for the birth.
Have you got any questions? I would love to chat.