Check on the partners of pregnant people. They are not ok.
It turns out, there are lots of partners out there who are (secretly, quietly) freaking out about their upcoming birth. There is a lot of support and conversations happening for moms and pregnant people around preparing and increasing confidence for birth. But when it comes to partners, our culture doesn't do a very good job of checking in on and addressing their needs.
If you're reading this and expecting a baby in the near future, I encourage you to read the following tips and consider how you can incorporate them into your preparation for birth. If you are someone who is pregnant and concerned about your partner, take this list and plan a time to sit down and discuss what you can both do to better help each other prepare and feel supported. Even if your partner says they are "fine," confidence and support is invaluable for everyone.
4 Ways Partners Can Increase Confidence for Birth
1. Take a childbirth class. Ok, maybe I'm a bit biased, but taking a childbirth class truly is one of the best and most simple ways for partners to learn about birth, including alleviating fears and answering questions, and learning how to be a good support during labor and birth. Don't know how to help your partner in labor? A childbirth class will help with that. Don't know if you'll be comfortable watching birth? A childbirth class will help it feel less "scary" and will teach you your options for the big day. Don't know how to tell if your partner is really in labor? A childbirth class will teach you to identify the right signs.
2. Be willing to talk. To your partner, a friend, your sibling, a counselor. Nobody likes feeling vulnerable, but opening up, even a little, will help offload stress and anxiety. Plus, talking to your partner can help strengthen your relationship and allow you both to better understand each other, including hopes and fears around birth and parenting.
3. Read a great book on birth. You really can't get any better than The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin. This illustrated book guides you through tips and techniques for good labor support, including different positions to try for comfort, information about pain relief, and what to expect during the normal course of labor and birth, as well as unexpected outcomes. The book speaks directly to partners with specific instruction on how to provide support during labor.
4. Hire a doula. Doulas work wonders to inspire confidence in moms AND partners. A doula's role is not to replace the partner, but to act as a bridge of support for couples and birth teams to work together. If there existed a magic feather (ala Dumbo) for confidence in birth, it would be in the form of a doula -- except they're not magic, but well trained, hard working, compassionate, and understanding!
Preparing for an upcoming birth as a partner to someone who is pregnant can be nerve wracking and downright terrifying at times -- it's normal to feel that way. But there is support and help available so you don't have to feel that way all the time. Wouldn't it be great to walk into your birth experience feeling excited, a little nervous, and prepared and confident? With a few extra steps, you can!
TagsBirth Partners Childbirth Class Doula Books Doula Support Birth Partner Support Childbirth Books Partner Support