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Birthing partners

(8 Posts)
teech Thu 10-Sep-09 05:29:42

One of my best friends has just discovered she is pregnant. It's still very early days (4 weeks since conception, 3 1/2 weeks since she broke up with the chap as there was no future in the relationship. Ha!). She called me round yesterday about 10 mins after the test showed positive and we spent the evening doing all the 'Oh my God' stuff, but I offered to be her birthing partner and she said yes.

I take things like that very seriously so tonight I went round with a couple of baby books, pregnancy vitamins, Bio-oil (does it work?), acupressure wristbands (apparently they do work - nausea abated!) and a baby-gro. But I'm done now. Out of ideas! I know I may well get my position of birthing partner usurped once she tells her parents - but we are in our mid thirties, so maybe not.

My questions are; what things did your birthing partner do for you, or you wish they had done, during pregnancy? What did they do, that you appreciated, or do you wish they had done during the birth? I don't have kids, this is her first and I want to be brilliant for her. She's been my friend for 18 years and I love her.

aGalChangedHerName Thu 10-Sep-09 07:02:35

God you sound lovely!!

My best friend was my birthing partner 2x and the births were amazing. DH was at the first and i was alone with my 2nd.

Just tell her what you have posted here. Ask her what she needs/wants and just support her in any choices she makes. My friend and i still talk about the dd's births (they are 5 and 3 now) and i am so grateful for the way she was there for me. Can you attend the scan and appointments etc (if she wants you to)

Hope everything goes well xx

CarmenSanDiego Thu 10-Sep-09 07:15:17

Aww, that's a really nice thing for you to do.

There are a few good books - I rather liked the Bradley one about Husband Coached childbirth (although for husband you can insert birth partner of any description). There's also a book called 'The Birth Partner' by Penny Simkin which is fab.

Birthing ball is an essential for pregnancy and birth, and for the birth I'm a big fan of TENS machines - the Elle maternity TENS is lovely and helped me immensely.

To answer your questions...

During the birth: I had a doula at my last birth and she was wonderful. All she did with me was count through each contraction and that was all I needed. During the birth, you'll find your own little things that she likes - as a doula, we're taught rhythm, relaxation and ritual - to help the mother find her rhythm through swaying, vocalising, movement and stillness. To find rituals that help her through contractions (even just staring at a piece of jewellery or walking around in a little circle may help). And to help her relax - through massage perhaps, aromatherapy (if she doesn't feel sick) and through comfort items like security blankets, hot water bottles or whatever else works for her.

During pregnancy: Working on a birth plan might be a nice thing to do together. Otherwise, just doing nice things together - shopping, relaxing, everyday life. Making sure she's eating and exercising well. Nothing specific really.

What a great bonding experience for you!

esor Thu 10-Sep-09 07:24:30

Yes you do sound like a great friend. I never volunteered like you but I was a birthing partner to my sister twice. Both experiences were amazing and terrifying. I remember my sister had long labours and she could have done with a bit more food or sugary stuff than we had planned for. Knowing that someone was there for me when I was in labour, just holding my hand, was enough. I thought that I would be much more active than I was with my sister, but really just the being there is so important. When you are in the throes of labour you really need nothing but for it to stop! Steel yourself also as it is really, really difficult watching someone you love in so much pain and when they rushed her off to the theatre with her first for a forceps delivery I thought I would pass out. But I didn't, I did what I had to do.

You will be required more after the birth, I had to get the babies dressed, take the photos, organise a cup of tea and toast. Make the phone calls. She will be elated and exhausted and you will do a great job.

teech Thu 10-Sep-09 08:15:52

Thanks for all that! I'm very new to mumsnet though, can someone translate DH, dd etc? I'm sure I could figure it out if I hadn't been up all night researching pregnancy and how to help your knocked up friend on the internet!

CarmenSanDiego Thu 10-Sep-09 09:52:48

Here you go

weegiemum Thu 10-Sep-09 09:57:51

I think you are being lovely!

With regard to the birth, I woudl make sure you have talked it all through in loads of detail. With my first birth, I really couldn't speak, far less articulate when was happening, but I had talked to dh abotu it in such detail that I only had to grunt something unintelligible at him and he knew what to say (like I didn't want an episiotomy if we could help it!)

I would just continue to be a good friend, talk to her, and listen!

KittyTN Thu 10-Sep-09 14:29:46

One of my NCT group was single - and she had 3x female birth partners. Main one was her best friend who had come to the NCT sessions with her, so even if your friend has her Mum too you may still be very important to the process. I would recommend couple of packs of dextrose tablets - you get them in Boots etc. as I vomited food and drink but desperately needed to energy. Other than that you need stamina and to be responsive to your friends wishes/feelings. I think you'll have a great experience.

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