It’s a challenging time for everyone at the moment particularly for pregnant women and those who are soon to birth. So it is important as a birth partner you can be the best support person you can be!
Love, love, love! Oxytocin the Love Hormone!
Oxytocin is known as the hormone of love and it’s also the hormone that creates contractions and to birth a baby we need contractions! Women release this hormone when they feel loved – so the more you can love on your woman, the more oxytocin she will make, the calmer she will feel and the better the experience you are all going to have. She is doing an amazing job bringing your baby into the world, so jump on that love train and show her how you feel.
Education = Knowledge = Power
Get some quality education – Calmbirth – Most people’s impression of birth is what we see in Hollywood movies, which is one of panic and fear which is far from the reality. So understanding the process and seeing birth as a ‘normal physiological process’ helps reduce the fear of the unknown. Remember that tears, vomit, blood, sweating and pooing are all part of birthing a baby. The body has to clear itself out to give birth, so don’t freak out – all of this is normal. A good education program will give you all the tools you need to support your birthing woman.
As a Calmbirth educator, I tell partners if you can only remember one thing in labour it’s to remind her to breathe.
Breathing deeply is one of the best tools you can use in whatever type of birth your partner is wanting. Whether she is working with the contractions or is having a spinal put in for a caesarean remind her to breathe – and breathe the right way. Forget the huffing and puffing that you see on TV, slow deep breaths are the way to go. In through the nose and out through your nose.
Bring the Calm
Birthing is an intense experience and she will feed off your energy. So get back to your education and understanding that birth is a normal physiological process. By you staying calm will help your woman stay calm.
Many women prefer a dark intimate space to labour in, so it’s your job to set the scene. Keep lights turned down, play calm music and try to keep the room warm. Having a chilled out space will help everyone to stay more relaxed.
The Power of Touch
Touch can be a great way to connect with your woman in labour. It can either be a gentle touch on the shoulders and neck or apply firm pressure on the lower back. Cold face washers on the forehead and back of the neck can also feel like bliss.
Look after yourself
Be sure to take breaks. Birth can take a long time and there can often be a lot of waiting. It can even be boring! Remember to keep eating (especially through the night) and stay hydrated.
Skin on skin
Now you have your baby! The best place for a baby to be after birth is on the mother’s chest this helps increase two critical hormones oxytocin and prolactin. Oxytocin helps with birthing the placenta and prolactin helps a new Mum connect, fall in love with her baby and produce breastmilk. This is known as the ‘Golden Hour’. Then it’s the partners turn for skin on skin, other benefits are: it can stabilise the baby’s body temperature and help reduce newborn stress. If mum had a caesarean and can’t have skin on skin with the baby straight away, then whip your top off and place the baby on your chest. Another great opportunity is after mum and baby have had that first breastfeed; wrap yourself up with your baby whilst mum has a shower or something to eat. It will be the start of a wonderful love affair.