The time has come to choose your birthing partner, if you want one. This role (which is to support the mum to be) in both an emotional and practical way is very demanding and a responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Labour can go on for a very long time and poses many complications. When considering your birthing partner you need to consider all these elements and also who you feel the most comfortable with when in a state of labour. It is great to have the baby’s father involved as birthing partner but this is not always an option for certain individuals, therefore someone else needs to take that role.
When you have decided who you would like it is important you share with them any concerns, preferences and needs you may have along with any medical conditions and your birthing plan. It is important that they have a good idea of how you want the experience to go even though giving birth sometimes doesn’t go according to plan. This way they can be more prepared if things do change for example a natural birth changing to a caesarean section.
If you decide to attend ante natal classes before the birth it may be a good idea to take your birthing partner along. Please do not feel embarrassed if this is not your child’s father as there are lots of different situations when it comes to birthing (and parenting) and whilst everyone is friendly your main focus should be making it easier for you to cope when the day arrives for baby to make its appearance.
It is also important to consider the feelings and stamina of your chosen birthing partner. Have they been through this before? Can they cope with maybe long hours in a hospital labour department and how do they feel about supporting you? It is good to have this discussion with them before hand as this can be a very traumatic experience for some.
Please do not choose someone because you feel you "should". Your Mum, sister or best friend might be great however they might not necessarily be the right person for the job and might not actually want it but might feel they have to agree. Talk candidly when you approach your ideal partner and take it from there.
Ante Natal Classes
Despite what you see on the TV antenatal classes are not all about lying on the floor practising your breathing techniques. While some might cringe at the thought of going to ante natal classes (which are often now also known as parent craft classes) these are designed to help you not only prepare for your baby’s birth but also how to feed and look after your new-born.
These classes aim to give you confidence and all the information you need leading up to delivery including arrangements for birth and choices that are available to you such as types of pain relief. Antenatal classes will offer you all of the information to help guide you and your birthing partner through the big day. It is also a great way for you to meet the team of professionals that could be potentially looking after you on the day you go into labour along with the opportunity to ask questions.
Classes usually begin when you are around 30-32 weeks pregnant and at 24 weeks if you are carrying twins as you are likely to deliver early. Your healthcare professional will let you know when these classes are available but usually they are once a week in the morning and evening. They do get booked up quickly so make sure you book in advance. There are also classes created for single parents and teenage mums so be sure to ask your midwife if you fit into these categories.