Your due date is getting closer and with that comes a vast array of emotions. Giving birth can be hard and having someone by your side can make all the difference. A support person can be anyone you want, and it should be someone you think will aid you in this process, not make it more difficult. This is a moment in your life that you will remember forever, and you do not want anyone there taking away from this special and emotional time.
Labor can vary for every individual, and we all have different needs during that time. I was in labor for 30 hours, for me this was a LONG amount of time. My husband was by my side the entire time, and I am so grateful for all the support he gave me. I labored throughout the night which means neither of us got any sleep. Some of my suggestions came from things he helped me with, and the rest are things that I wished we had gone over prior to being in labor. If you are the partner reading this, don’t be afraid to ask what you can do to help! Here’s my short list of things that I think a partner can do to assist and be a part of this special event. Let me know in the comments if you have ideas to add!
Counterpressure, Hip Squeezes or Massage: Later into may labor, when the contractions became more painful, Sabino would provide counter pressure during the contractions. Counterpressure, hip squeezes or massage are all methods of natural pain relief.
Bring you food or drinks, make sure you are hydrated. I knew before going into labor that I was going to want to drink Gatorade. For me this is a drink that I usually go to when I’m not feeling well or recovering from an illness. I wanted to be extra hydrated during labor and the extra electrolytes helped keep my going. Sabino was in charge of keeping the Gatorade flowing. I brought snacks but ended up not even wanting them while I labored. Pro Tip: Have your drinks or snacks packed in your hospital bag ahead of time.
Bring your birthing ball
This item is one of regret for me. I used my ball through the third trimester and then while I labored at home. It was something that helped me through contractions, but I did not bring it with me to the hospital. Looking back, I wish my husband had brought it with us because it would have eased my labor process. Maybe the ball isn’t your thing, but if there is a different item that you want to have with you, make sure your partner grabs it!
Repeat your affirmations
A big part of labor is mental, I wish I had prepared more in this sense prior. Have your affirmations ahead of time. What words will help you through the pain and the process and give you strength. Write them down, make sure your partner knows them so they can repeat them to you.
Make sure the lights are dim or to your liking
Having a relaxing and calming environment can help with your labor. Your partner is in charge of making sure the lights are set to your preference. That means immediately dimming them when that nurse or doctor walks in and flips the switch on!
If you plan on listening to music, your partner can set up the music
Just like lighting, your partner is also in charge of the music. Basically, he is in charge of keeping the ambience. Some people like to listen to music during labor, this is another thing your partner can set up so that you can set the vibe.
Be your advocate
Make sure your partner knows exactly what you want and don’t want. When you’re in pain, and hospital staff tries to push intervention on you that you don’t want, it helps to have back up.
Hire a Doula
We unfortunately could not afford the extra expense of a doula, but if you want someone to really advocate for you and help you through your labor a doula can be a big help
Take a birth course together
Now this is something that can help you prior to labor. Sabino and I took a course together and we really enjoyed it and learned a lot.
Provide anything else that you need or ask for. Don’t forget your partner is not a mind reader, don’t be afraid to ask for what you need!
Now these are just a couple of suggestions, but every person is different. Some may prefer a more hands off approach from their partner during their labor and that is OK! Just make sure to be vocal about what you want and what you do not want. You need to discuss these things early on and have a plan down, however, don’t forget to be flexible because what you think you want may be something totally different when labor begins! Let me know what you find helpful during labor!