Pregnancy is a time filled with so much joy, excitement, and anticipation but it can also be accompanied by fears, uncertainties, and anxiety, especially if this is your first baby. Partner support during pregnancy is so important for many reasons. For one, it helps to strengthen your relationship and teamwork skills, which will come in handy when your new baby arrives. It also promotes both yours and your baby’s mental and physical health and well-being.
So how can partners provide support throughout pregnancy?
From learning about symptoms, changes, and challenges to be expected throughout pregnancy, your baby’s growth and development, and what to expect during labour and delivery, education is truly empowering for both you and your partner. When partners are involved in prenatal education, they are more equipped to help with preparation for your newborn baby’s arrival and support you during uncomfortable symptoms or challenging moments. Our PUSH prenatal program is great for mamas and partners, and we encourage you to learn together!
Partners can actively participate by attending prenatal appointments and actively engaging by asking questions. Participation also includes assisting with big decisions like prenatal testing and choice of healthcare provider and birthplace.
3. Open lines of communication
It is so important for mamas and partners to keep an open line of communication throughout pregnancy. Make sure to share feelings, questions, concerns, and excitement, with one another. Partners should make sure mamas feel heard and comfortable sharing what’s on their mind, although this really goes both ways, since pregnancy and parenthood are big transitions for both mamas and partners. It is also very important to keep an open line of communication about birth preferences and expectations for labour and birth since they will be your biggest advocate.
When it comes to labour and birth, a labour support person may be a partner, family member, doula, friend, or healthcare provider. Really whoever you want it to be. No matter who you choose to have by your side during your labour and birth, it is important not to overlook the important role this person has.
Studies show that women with a one-on-one continuous labour support person were more likely to have a spontaneous vaginal birth, less likely to use medical pain management options and report a overall higher level of satisfaction with their birth experience. Pretty much, labour support persons play a big part in improving quality of care and overall maternal outcomes.
Here are some ways your partner can support you specifically during labour and delivery:
1. Be your advocate
2. Assist in providing information and help communicate with healthcare providers so that you can focus on labour, getting through each contraction, and being the incredibly strong mama that you are
3. Provide physical support and help implement coping techniques like massage, position changes and touch
4. Provide emotional support through encouragement, reassurance, and continuous presence.
To all those providing labour and childbirth support: know how invaluable your presence is. Ask questions, express your concerns, fears, and thoughts so you feel as educated and informed as possible to best support your loved one through their labour and birth experience.
To our mamas-to-be: it is equally important for you to do the same, so your support person is best equipped to be your advocate every step of the way.