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Team work makes the dream work: partner tips for preparing for birth together

At Hello Baby we are big fans of enthusiastic birth partners. The movie cliché stereotypes of partners standing around, feeling useless and just getting in the way has no place in our classes!

 

The support of a brilliant birth partner can absolutely transform a woman’s experience of birth. But, did you know there are lots of things you can do before the main event to help prepare for a great birth experience?!

 

A few of our top suggestions are:


Listen without judgement - possibly the most important thing!

 

Emotions and hormones run very high as birth approaches, so be available to listen and talk things through. Some fears or anxieties may be difficult to understand if you have never given birth yourself, but that’s ok. Don’t feel you need to ‘fix’ anything, just being there will be a great support.

 

Book antenatal, hypnobirthing and other birth and parenting classes

 

Birth partners are usually surprised by how useful and informative they find them and it’s a great way to bond over the pregnancy and meet other local expectant parents.

 

Did you know...? Antenatal classes for expectant parents are often referred to generically as ‘NCT’ but that’s just a brand name – it stands for an organisation called National Childbirth Trust. Make sure you check out all the options in your local area to find the best fit for you. Looking at online reviews is a great place to start, and any good independent antenatal educator should be happy to answer any questions you or your partner have about the classes over the phone or by email. For more information about Hello Baby 5* rated midwife-run antenatal classes in Bushey, get in touch with Hannah and Chloe today!

 

Some NHS Trusts also offer classes remotely or at your hospital, birth centre or local children’s centre so check with the midwife and/or GP to see what is available.

 

Practise massage, breathing and relaxation techniques 

 

If mum-to-be is using hypnobirthing or other breathing/relaxation techniques, make sure you’re clued up on these in advance so that you can coach her through using them during birth.

 

Trying out different massage techniques will help to relieve aches and tension which are common during pregnancy and give her an opportunity to provide constructive feedback so that you can refine your techniques ahead of labour.

 

The midwives looking after you during labour and birth will be on hand to suggest different comfort measures and helping with breathing and massage, but you’ll feel much more confident and more in-sync with your partner if you’ve had a chance to practise in advance!

 

Attend maternity appointments, screening tests and scans if possible

 

If your work and other commitments allow, try to go along to ultrasound scans and midwife appointments, especially if mum-to-be is feeling nervous. Scans are a lovely opportunity to see your baby and maybe even find out their gender, but they are also a screening tool which provides detailed information about your baby’s growth and development in the womb.

 

If the pregnancy is being overseen by a consultant, it’s always a good idea to make a list of questions together in advance and take a note of anything you are told during appointments so that you can refer to it afterwards.

 

Write the birth plan together

 

The process of researching the different options available during birth and immediately afterwards - for example pain relief, how you will be feeding your baby etc - will help you both feel better informed and more confident about your choices. You’ll also be a much more effective birth partner if you understand her preferences and are able to advocate for her if needed.

 

This should all be covered by a good antenatal course, but you can have a quick read of our post here to find out about birth plans in more detail.

 

Pack the hospital bags (hear us out)

 

We know that lots of mums-to-be will think we are crazy to suggest that their partner packs the hospital bags, but it really is a game-changer! The person giving birth can lay everything out, but if you do the packing yourself, it means you’ll be able to find things quickly and easily - saving LOTS of stress on the day.

 

Think ahead and plan the logistics

 

If you plan to drive to your place of birth, make sure you don’t let the car get too low on petrol/charge, get to know the route and find out about any parking restrictions/apps/cash charges. If you’ll be getting a taxi, don’t just rely on apps and make sure you have a couple of local numbers handy (and check in advance that they’ll take a woman in labour!).

 

Save the midwife/maternity unit phone numbers in your phone.

 

Make sure you know any logistical plans around older children/pets etc and have the essentials ready, along with a spare set of keys if needed.

 

Don’t forget the maternity notes, any regular medications, and your phone, chargers, keys and wallet – and, if it’s winter, warm coats/shoes for both of you to come home in (these often get forgotten).

 

FINAL THOUGHT:

Pregnant couple smiling whilst sitting on the couch

 

Nurture your relationship

 

Most couples find that during the early days of parenting, their romantic life takes a bit of a back seat and the combination of sleep deprivation, hormones and the demands of looking after a newborn can put a strain on even the most loving relationship.

 

During the pregnancy, take some time to enjoy each other and spend time as a couple. Whether you decide to book a ‘babymoon’ trip, go out on date nights, or simply relax together and enjoy some lazy mornings, these moments and experiences will strengthen your bond as you embark on this next, exciting chapter together.

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