Any mom, regardless of how many times they’ve given birth, may experience feelings of anxiety during natural childbirth. These feelings are hard to manage without the benefit of a supportive partner. A trustworthy and willing to walk the journey alongside mom is essential to a successful experience. Knowing that they will receive such support from a helpful and attentive partner will increase the likelihood of lowered complications and interventions. All this support leads to reduced stress for mom. Decreased stress leads to a healthier pregnancy, natural birth, and healing process.
How can a partner be supportive during natural birth?
Your partner should educate themselves on the pregnancy and natural birth process. Not all partners will be people in committed relationships with mom. They could be extended family or friends that are willing to help and support mom through this process. That means they may not have the benefit of living through a natural birth experience before. Reading quality books, attending appointments, and participating in birth education classes with mom is important. These things go a long way to knowing what the birth partner’s role will be in the natural birth process and how they can best offer their support.
What are some of the simpler things a supportive partner can do before the birth?
Most moms experience a feeling of being overwhelmed by all of the decisions they have to make. There is so much conflicting information out there that moms may feel unprepared for the childbirth by themselves. Simplify that world by offering small acts of support that show you are there as a rock to lean on. Do things that empower the whole woman and not just one area of need like:
- Go to the doctor, lactation consultant, healthcare, midwife, or doula appointments
- Encourage and reassure her
- Ask her what needs she wants you to fulfill
- Show affection, she is feeling vulnerable
- Help her with the changes to her lifestyle
- Share in the healthy eating she may have to adopt
- Encourage her to rest and take naps
- Express intimacy according to her needs
- Take walks together to encourage exercise as well as communication
- Help with the cooking and cleaning
- Give back rubs and foot massages
- Please, if you smoke or vape, don’t do it around mom
The partner’s central supportive role during natural birth is to offer emotional and physical support while encouraging mom. Natural birth takes a toll on mom, and she will appreciate simple encouragements that are heartfelt during the process.
During stressful times we release a hormone called cortisol. This is released during stressful times and afterward to return us to normal. The only time cortisol becomes dangerous is when we are exposed to a chronic amount. That is a possibility during natural birth. The best way to regulate these amounts is to offer support to mom. Studies have shown that even those moms that experience a more significant amount of stress during birth may have lower cortisol levels if they are being supported by a caring partner. It doesn’t matter who that partner is specifically, just as long as they are trusted and willing to help mom.
It is equally vital to consider the post-partum factors that stress causes to mom and baby. We know that when moms receive support during pregnancy, they feel less emotional distress during natural birth. Moms that have more substantial social and emotional support from their partners experience fewer symptoms of post-partum depression and anxiety after giving birth. This translates to their newborns who will be less sensitive to stress because of that same support.
The natural birth process can be intimidating to anyone. New moms especially experience an increase in stress and anxiety. Moms need a supportive person in their life to offer help. This will decrease interventions and complications with the natural birth process. All it takes is an openness in communicating with mom and a trustworthiness that they can rely upon.
Do you have any advice for birth partners that we didn’t mention? Send us a note through our contact form. We would love to hear from you.