Post # 1
My best friend (my MOH) and her husband are due to have their first child later this year (yay!), and she has asked me to be in the room with her when she delivers. I’m absolutely thrilled and I can’t wait to be part of her moral support team when the big day comes…but I have never witnessed a live birth, let alone been given birth myself.
My question is, what should I know in order to be the best support for her that I can be? I’m already looking into childbirth education classes at my local hospital, but in the meantime, are there any tips or resources I should look into? A good “DO” and “DON’T” list maybe?
Thank you everyone!! 🙂
Post # 3
I haven’t read this book yet – but it’s on our assigned reading list from our Doula….
The Birth Partner
Post # 4
I’ve been there for two friends’ births in recent years. First, it’s a great experience and an honor. Enjoy! Second, it’s a marathon! Remember to take care of yourself as well as the mom. You’ll be no help to her if you haven’t eaten/slept/peed in hours. Bring a bag with snacks and things to read/do for both of you.
I would say be patient, keep calm, don’t take anything she says personally (she may get grouchy and yell, for example…who wouldn’t?). Help her keep perspective. Remind her it’ll be over soon. Tell her how amazing it’ll be (and how worth it!) to hold her baby in her arms. Help keep her focused on that goal. Tell her you can see the baby’s head when you can (she’ll swear you’re lying, but you won’t be).
Help keep things light. Make her laugh if it seems appropriate (before the heavy labor/pushing stage). Remind her to breathe. Give her ice chips or little sips of cold water between contractions. You might even hold her or help support her during contractions. Let the nurses/doctors instruct you on this — they will use you if you’re there. You will be sore and tired after.
Plan to stick around after. It’s hard to rush off and leave a newborn baby, and you won’t be in any shape to drive yourself anywhere. Oh, and remember things. Take pictures, write things down or commit little details to memory. This is one of the nicest things you can do, because the mom will forget most of it and will love hearing about it from you.
Post # 5
The biggest mistakes my darling spouse made during delivery were pretty obvious [like don’t squeeze the hand with the IV in it mmmk? lol]
Like the other posters have said, don’t take anything said personally — child birth is like being possessed, anything other than ‘oh god it hurts’ can’t be taken all that seriously.
Don’t wear any strong perfumes/use really scented shampoos/soaps/lotions, even though your friend will be in labor, pregnancy increases your sense of smell like ten fold, and even ‘benign’ daily scents can become noxious, causing nausea, which could lead to vomiting & dehydration [on her part]. Same goes for eating fast food & etc around her while she’s waiting for the contractions to progress.
Don’t say things that you think will be ‘encouraging’ but may be taken the wrong way, like “it’ll be over soon” yeah, my SO said that to me during my 29hr labor and I flipped.. could have been from the pain or the sleep deprivation, but it was just not what I wanted to hear. To this day he is still traumatized by the experience.
I suggest looking into some of the massages/touches you [or her SO] can do to relieve some of the pain/stress of labor as well — the nurses suggested sitting in a hot shower to relieve contraction discomfort [have the water hitting the lower back area].
Post # 6
Even though I’m the pregnant one, I’ve been reading the “partner” sections of my book, too. They do have some tips on how to do back massage, that you should try in advance. Overall, the message seemed to be…do whatever mom wants and don’t be offended! She might *think* she’ll want xyz but then in the moment want abc..go with it!
Also, I’ve heard that if you are maintaining ‘touch’, you need to verbally say if you are going to ‘release’. For example, “I’m stepping away now and taking my hand off”…then when you come back…”I’m back now, going to put my hand on your arm…” etc
Post # 7
my advice- get to know what she likes before hand. ie when she is in pain does she like comfort like a back rub or does she like to be left alone? when i was in labor (49hrs) at hard times my mom would try to rub my back or my fiance would try to grab my hand… but i flipped on both. when im in pain i dont like to be touch, talked to, etc. everyone is different on this point.
Remind her to breath. when she doesnt breath the baby doesnt breath.
walk with her. just being someone to help her walk is helpful.
and like someone else said… dont take anything personal. moms in labor tend to say things they dont mean. its very long and intense moment, give her a little slack 🙂
and congrats on being asked to be there! i watched my nephew be born and it was the most amazing thing i have ever witnessed. you are blessed to be able to be there! good luck!
Post # 8
I literally told Fiance not to touch me in the middle of labor, simply because he was rubbing my arm and I didn’t like it. The best things he did were: let me squeeze his hand during contractions (I think he regretted that but I appreciated it) and he used a washcloth on my forehead between pushes.
Everyone is right, don’t take anything she says personally. Just remind her to breathe and about her beautiful baby!
Post # 9
Another vote for The Birth Partner. You can get it for cheap on Amazon. I read it during my doula training and I give it as a gift for expecting couples.
Most importantly, make sure you’re on the same page as your friend. Talk to her about what her expectations are and what she wants your role to be. Does she want you to be hands-on? Does she want you to take pictures so that her husband can be her primary support person? Does she want you to run interference with other family members who want to be there but that she doesn’t want in the room? etc.
Post # 10
My experience was that I was acutely aware of EVERYTHING going on in the room. So even if you think she can’t hear you whispering in the corner on your cell phone, SHE CAN. Anytime you are in the room your attention should be devoted to supporting her. If you have other business to attend to, then leave the room to do it.
And for that matter…DO NOT use your cell phone during labor. Especially while she’s pushing.
I third “The Birth Partner.” Bought that for DH to read.
Post # 11
Thank you everyone! This is definitely helpful. I’m a little nervous but so excited!
Post # 12
- Wedding: October 2020 - LDS Seattle Temple & Hotel 1000
A simple “You are SO good at giving birth” meant the world to me. It’s nice to feel like you are doing good at the thing you are working so hard at.
Post # 13
Oh dont do what my MOTHER did and look at the moniter that is monitering her contractions and during a big one ask “Can you feel that?!?!?” DONT EVER do that! lol
If she chooses to have drugs, remember that there is a window of time that she can accept the epidural and keep track of that time and remind her that she can still have it.
Dont tell her that the contraction is almost over. She will know when its over! lol
Relax and enjoy this experience! And whatever mean things she might say to you remember then when its time to have your baby you can get your revenge on her! lol Good luck! Its amazing!