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The importance of the support person’s role during childbirth

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By Bec Fagan
Empowering Birth Journeys

Are you, or were you an active support person to your partner as they embarked on their birthing journey? Did you feel or know what to do either intuitively or by what you were taught? Did you feel that you were enough? That your intent was pure and your love endless.

In my career I have experienced many types of births experienced by many types of couples. Their Personality, their beliefs, their birth plans and their fears all drive their birth experiences. Some people know exactly what they want, and feel comfortable going with the ebe and flow of their experience, others need to feel that sense of control over the process and over their physical body. I believe to a certain degree this often dictates a couples experience.

As a midwife I have experienced time and time again disconnect in the birth suite between the birthing woman and her partner. Is this because there is a lack of education on what is normal, and what to expect?

Is this a lack connection between the couple? Is it because the presence of fear, fear of the unknown or fear from the media over sensationalising birth?

Even if a woman preparing to birth is well versed on the birthing process, has read all she can and is now positively fuelled and excited to birth her baby, her experience will always come down to whether she felt supported and loved by her birth support person and her caregivers, the people caring for her. If her support person is fearful of birth, and hasn’t taken the time to learn how to best support her this may have a negative impact on her experience.

Women need support people who are confident, respectful and fully present at all times. They need to be the ones who are actively supporting and guiding through touch, presence and words of love and respect. Being present without external distraction is the one thing all support people must be during their birthing journey. To intuitively be able to predict the birthing woman’s needs at all stages of the birthing process is important as this will keep her mentally and emotionally where she needs to be.

So how do support people become more empowered with knowledge?

I feel that first support people need a certain level of birth education and knowledge to learn birth as a normal process. To have the knowledge and feel comfortable understanding why the human body experiences each stage of labour differently will enable confidence. Because we all know “With knowledge comes confidence”. If a support person is confident he\she will emanate this confidence in which their birthing partner can draw upon. On the contrary, if a support person is fearful and worried this will have an impact on the birthing woman causing her to feel the same fear.

Attending a childbirth education course like Calmbirth, will not only provide the support person with the confidence and knowledge of birth, but also the tools to create the desired birthing environment, position changes and how to best support and guide her at each stage of the process. They will learn how incredibly important it is to be their advocate, to be their voice because as couples work more and more closely as a team they can feel held, nurtured and supported to experience exactly what they need to.

I know that all couples who have taken the time to learn all they can about birth and parenting during their pregnancy and are fully invested in creating a positive experience are the ones who become empowered by birth. Because to conceive a child from love we must birth a child with love.

Photos by Amy Guy Photography

 

 

 

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