Labour - What Your Companions Can Do138
Whoever your labour partner is – the baby's father, a close friend, or a relative – there are some practical things that they can do to help you. Simply being with you is the most important thing. Beforehand, talk to them about what you want and don't want, so that they can support your decisions. You don't know in advance what your labour will be like, or how each of you will cope, but there are many ways in which 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.
For many couples, being together during labour and welcoming their baby together is an indescribable experience. 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.