The Birth Partner's Role During Hypnobirthing
A question I often get asked about is the role of the birth partner. Please read on all future birth partners, I hope these details will help you enjoy this amazing journey you are on!
Mothers’ and Birth Partners’ Instincts
Trust that the Mothers' instincts about anything to do with birth and the baby are right. Women giving birth now are the peak of an evolutionary process that has been developing for millennia. She can be trusted absolutely to know what’s best and what to do.
Birth partners also have a vital role in the care of mother and baby. Their natural instinct is to protect, and that instinct has been developing for millennia too. It is a proven fact that the birth partner's hormones adapt to this supporting, but vital role around the time of the birth, with these hormones reverting back to normal a few weeks later.
A KGHypnobirthing birth partner provides important support for a woman giving birth:
Most of the work of KGHypnobirthing is done in pregnancy so practice is essential. Not only does practicing KGH techniques in pregnancy bring a couple closer together, the partner knows that they have also played a hugely useful role in how the baby enters the world. This also deepens their bond with the newborn child after birth.
A KGH birth partner can be extremely supportive at antenatal visits, and is the person who helps the mother to ask the questions that ensures she makes the decisions that give her the best possible birth experience.
At the Birth
The birth partner’s most important role is to protect her space and make sure nobody disturbs her private bubble of positivity and calm. This is especially important in the down (second) stage of labour as that is when many midwives will start to instruct her in pushing and interfere with her space.
Prompts during surges can be very helpful, and many women have said, ‘It was their (birth partner) voice that kept me focussed. I couldn’t have done it without them.’ Remember that, at times, she may prefer silence.
During pregnancy you will have gone to sleep listening to a KGH relaxation audio and the cumulative effect of this relaxation is available to her when she gives birth. As the birth partner, one of your roles could be to ensure the relaxation is playing when she would like it, and to suggest it to her if it has slipped her mind.
The gentle back stroking that you practised in pregnancy is wonderful during surges when she is in labour.
It is important that a woman in labour does not become dehydrated. Offer her a sip of water from time to time. A few drops of Five Flower Remedy from Healing Herbs can help her remain calm and confident.
Giving birth is a strenuous physical activity and making sure she has snacks available as required help to keep her energy up. Discuss this before so you know what she may like, and have them ready to give to her at regular intervals. She may forget to eat herself so this is a simple yet essential task for you as the birth partner!
Use essential oil of lavender for a calm environment. This can be in a cup of hot water, on a pillow or simply a few drops on a muslin or tissue which she can hold near her nose. Lavender is the oil that promotes calm and relaxation.
She may like to be offered arnica to dissolve under the tongue. This is the remedy that supports tissue under stress and, however gentle the birth, the body has been doing unusual work.
After the Birth
The ‘golden hour’ after birth is an extremely important time of transition for a new baby. The mother’s whole being will be focussed on her baby, so it is up to the birth partner to keep an eye on whatever you had decided about:
- Delayed cord clamping - 'Wait for White'
- Injection of synthetic oxytocin for the mother
- Vitamin K for the baby
Immediate skin to skin contact at this time is important and mother and baby do not need to be separated for anything unless it is an emergency. Of course this time includes skin to skin bonding for the birth partner too - and doing so when the mother is ready, can give her a little break to take in just what her body has done - amazing!
Perhaps the most valuable support a birth partner gives is in the form of continuity of care. Without exception, everyone agrees that the continuous support of a known caregiver gives the best outcomes in birth, but sadly this seldom happens on the NHS in the UK. A knowledgeable KGH birth partner provides that continuity simply by being there for her throughout the entire labour, birth and post-birth journey. Just knowing that the person you know and love is there for you is of enormous benefit when giving birth.
As one partner said on a KGH course for their second child; ‘When we had our first baby, I thought birth was something that you do. Now I know it’s something that happens.’