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Team Pregnancy – supporting your partner

Many partners ask me what they can do to support the wonderful, changing, growing pregnant mum in their lives. I think you probably know a lot of the answers to that question because you know her like nobody else does.

There’s lots of practical preparation you can get involved with –gathering baby equipment together, getting your home ready and working out how any paternity leave can be put to the best use.

You can help her get time for rest and exercise, and take a lead in making sure you’re both eating well.

And you can talk to each other. I heard recently that one in three couples says their relationship gets better once the baby arrives… want to be in that 1:3 category. The secret is to talk about it all – talk about the challenges you anticipate – changes in your relationship with one another and with your friends and families, financial changes, changes in who does what at home. And remember to keep those lines of communication open after your baby arrives.

What about the birth though? What’s your job there? In a nutshell it’s all about protection and positive mental attitude. She is built to give birth and nurture a baby. It’s an amazing hormonally driven process. The key hormone is oxytocin –this stuff moves the labour forwards and helps her to manage the powerful sensations and emotions that come with labour and birth. Oxytocin is produced in optimal amounts when women feel safe, warm, private and cared for. You can be practical and maximise her comfort by helping her to move and change her position, massaging her if she wants you to, feeding her and getting her drinks. But more importantly you can keep the environment around her feeling safe and show her that you believe she can do it.  Look after yourself, make sure the staff know what she wants, don’t flap or whinge and make sure you stay strong by looking after your own physical needs. Being a birth partner is often a tough job but the rewards can be pretty sensational.

Dot (Midwife)

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