Birth partners

Your birth partner can be anyone you chose - your partner, a close friend or a relative. The most important thing that your birth partner can do is just be with you. Beforehand, talk to your birth partner about the type of birth you would like and the things that you would prefer not to do, so they can help support you in your decisions. It can help to go through your birth plan together. You birth partner could also accompany you to Parent Education classes to learn other ways and techniques to support you.

Doulas 

Doulas support women and their families during pregnancy, childbirth and early parenthood. This support is practical and emotional but non-medical in nature. It is a good idea to discuss this with your midwife if you have chosen a doula to be with you for your birth. This will enable all parties to meet to discuss ways in which they will work together to ensure a safe and supportive birth environment.

How many birth partners can I have?

Delivery unit and Rosie birth centre

You may have chosen your birth partner to accompany you in labour but would like to have more support around you. We recommend that a maximum of two birth partners to support you in labour. This will enable the birth partners to support you and each other whilst you are with us. You may wish to discuss this with your midwife.

Theatre

If you are required to use our theatres only one birth partner will be able to accompany you due to the nature of the procedure or operation. In theatre you would expect to see eight or more members of staff caring for you including many pieces of equipment therefore space is limited. We would endeavour to keep your birth partner with you at all times but on certain occasions it may not be safe to do so. In these rare circumstances we would inform you of the reasons why.

What can my birth partner do to support me?

There is no way of knowing what your labour is going to be like or how each of you will cope, but there are many ways a partner can help. They can:

  • keep you company and help to pass the time during the early stages
  • hold your hand, wipe your face, give you sips of water
  • massage your back and shoulders, help you to move about or change position, or anything else that helps
  • comfort you as your labour progresses and your contractions get stronger
  • remind you how to use relaxation and breathing techniques, perhaps breathing with you if it helps
  • support your decisions, such as the pain relief that you choose
  • help you explain to the midwife or doctor what you need – and the other way round – which can help you feel much more in control of the situation
  • tell you what's happening as your baby is being born, if you can't see what's going on

Your birth partner may be able to cut the umbilical cord – you can talk to your midwife about this.

For many parents, being together during labour and welcoming their baby together is an experience that they cannot begin to put into words. Many fathers who have seen their baby being born and were involved in the birth say that they feel much closer to the child from the start.