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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hiya,


My best friend told me yesterday she really wants to be a birth partner. I've got no idea what so ever what to do as I had a section so got no idea about natural births.

Is there a good book on what you should do? (I'm a bit of a book fiend)


She's got 10 weeks till she's induced, but she's getting awful pain at the moment and probs with movements along with everything else so it may be earlier, I'd posted before as there was worry about her not even making 24 weeks, but she's 26 weeks now.


xxx
 

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What an honour... and how scary all at the same time!  :eek: :)


I can highly recommend, "The Birth Partner - A complete guide to childbirth for dads, doulas and other labor companions" by Penny Simkin. 


Can you get it back home in UK?  I wonder how much the medical side of things differs between UK and USA (e.g. here we get no gas and air) but it's still a great guide regardless. It's packed with loads of info about the labour process and practical things to do at each stage - comfort measures, strategies for challenging variations in normal labour, complications etc. 


I've never been a birth partner so I guess I can't comment from that side of things, but I did read it myself before I had my ds (I ended up on pitocin and an epidural but he popped out the way I hoped when everyone had me pegged for a c-section!) and I found it helpful for me going through the process... I just wish my DH had been a bit more thorough when he 'read' it!  ::)  Hopefully I can encourage him a little more strongly to read and retain the info this time round because I really do think it would help us both.


Good luck to you and your friend.
Trip xx
 

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Does she actually want you to do anything other than just be there to hold her hand, do you think?
Most of us who have our partners or spouses with us, simply want some support/handholding and at the most, a bit of advocacy if we can't quite get our point across.

I don't really think there's much that you should need to research, but ask her to write a birthplan as a basis for discussion so that you can get an understanding of her wishes. Then just know, as you do, that birthplans usually go out of the window.  But it's worth knowing what her views are on certain aspects of the birth.  But to be honest, she will most likely decide as she goes along when it comes to the birth, as she won't know how she'll feel til she gets there.  And you just have to hold her hand/mop her brow/rub her back, and fetch and carry things for her.....

Perhaps watch a few programmes about giving birth, such as One Born Every Minute!

Alot of the Pregnancy books have a chapter on the stages of birth (early contractions, first stage labour, established labour, transition stage and pushing etc) and what is available in terms of pain relief, and so on.  I would suggest to your friend that she reads them and perhaps attends an antenatal class to help her decide what kind of birth she would like.  Then as her birth partner you simply turn up and help her with the most amazing thing she'll ever do  ;)

Claire x
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you,


You're both amazing.


I know her Dad is going to be there too, its going to be such a magical moment!


The only thing that slightly worries me is the 'sick' I don't do sick and I'd run a mile so hopefully that shouldn't happen.


I'm going to look on amazon for that book, I've got a thing about reading about everything.

Is One Born Every Minute on again soon?


xxx
 

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I was only sick during my first labour, and only once in the very early stages, while I was at home.  It's just a reaction to pain for some people, and it doesn't happen that often.  The midwife will help deal with it, you shouldn't have to.

If you can get hold of, (or still have perhaps?) the book What to Expect When You're Expecting - there's a good chapter in there about birth.  You may well be able to get it or order it from your library.  That and most other pregnancy books. 
There's a good one by the fertility guru Zita West, which has lots of info about the birth - it's full of stuff about acupressure and herbs and reflexology, but the explanation of what happens at what point in the birth is quite good.

The main thing to know is that when your friend 'goes into transition' - when she is fully dilated, and pushing is imminent, that she will probably go a little nuts  ;D  It takes everyone in different ways, but it can either be 'that's it, I'm off now, I'm not doing this any more' or hysterical crying,  going totally out of it and off her head, or, in my case, hyperventilating and panicking and telling the whole world that I need to push  ;D
Also bear in mind that if your friend does get induced, the birth process can go a little more short and sharp once it does kick off, and she may find it more painful than when it happens gradually.

If you can get Discovery Health on your TV channels, there's alot of birth programmes on there usually in the daytime.  One Born has been on recently, don't know if it's finished now?  You may find it on channel 4's iplayer.

But do get your friend to attend an antenatal class, they often don't run them til over 30 weeks but I'm sure if she explains to the midwife/HV/NCT when she's booking, that she may not get that far, they would try to accommodate her.  As her birth partner you should be able to go with her for the classes that they invite the partners to join in.  That's when you can learn the breathing techniques to help her remember to do them during contractions. 

My DH was a wonderful birthpartner and he didn't have to do much.  Just parked the car, helped me into the unit, brought my bags up, held my hand, proffered his knee for me to rest my head on and dig my nails into when I was on the birthing ball having contractions, and helped remind me to breathe when I tried to hyperventilate  ;D    He had no idea how to do the breathing because he wasn't concentrating in the antenatal classes  ;D  but just shouting 'breathe' every few seconds helped me no end (he'd learned that from my first birth where the midwife held my face in her hands and shouted at me to breathe  ;D  )

Just be there for her, mop her brow and tell her she's doing fine when she says she can't do it any more, and that she will have a beautiful baby at the end of this.

You shouldn't have to act like a doula - they're much more specialised and that's why you pay for them.  Midwives will always do the things you can't. 

C x
 

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Hi

I was a birth partner for my SIL (wasnt planned just turned out that way!) and it was both amazing & scary!  I already had my DD then so knew all about the process but its so very very different being the birth partner & not the one in labour.

I didnt actually do much but the main thing I did was liaise between SIL & the midwives, I knew what she did & didnt want and therefore when she was in too much pain to make herself heard, I did it for her.  I explained what was happening at each stage and just generally held her hand.

My SIL is a lot bigger than me and nearly crushed my hand during final stages so be prepared  ;D

I have a very special bond with my nephew having been the 1st person to see & hold him - its a total honour to be there so treasure it  :)

Good luck to you & your friend xx
 
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