There is more to supporting a woman through the birth of a baby than showing up in the delivery room and taking photos at the end.
By Lucy Bloom
Keeping a woman safe, happy and focussed in labour is your number one job as her support person.
“You can actually slow labour down by pissing off a woman in labour.”
Here are the top five mistakes partners make in the delivery room.
1. Too much talky-talk
When a woman is in labour she uses the ancient part of the brain which drives primal instincts like childbirth. Language is triggered in the neo-cortex and distracts her from the primal task of giving birth and will slow her down.
Also, talking too much takes attention away from the contraction she is going through. A little less conversation, a little more massage.
2. Chumming up to the midwife or obstetrician
Always be polite to your caregivers, but chumming up to them creates conversation (see mistake number one) and takes focus away from the birthing mother and the contractions she is going through.
Partners should be focussed on the birthing mother and her needs, not creating Whatsapp groups to tee up a kayak with the obstetrician next week.
3. Bad breath or BO
Crap on a cracker, this is such a common mistake. Women in labour have a super-sensitive sense of smell and manky coffee breath or BO will earn you a poke in the eye.
Childbirth can take hours, but it can also take days and a good support partner is working hard to support the woman through labour. So pack a few spare T-shirts, breath mints and industrial-strength deodorant.
NB: that the birthing mother can produce whatever heinous stench she likes. She is producing a human. Got it?
4. Allowing phones to distract them
Phones should be on aeroplane mode and forgotten about while a mama is doing the hard work of labour and a partner is in support mode.
Never send progress updates to family or friends during labour and NEVER take a scroll through Instagram to pass the time.
You can actually slow labour down by pissing off a woman in labour. If she is irritated, it produces adrenaline which blocks the hormones that drive labour and nuke pain.
So keep her happy and supported or you will make the labour slower and harder for her.
5. Complaining about their own aches and pains or boredom
Yeah, just don’t. A woman will never forget the time her partner complained that they had a numb bum or who said out loud that the gaps between contractions were boring.
See mistake number four for why adrenaline is the enemy and keeping a woman safe, happy and focussed in labour is your number one job as her support person.