It used to be that expectant mothers would have a caring midwife present throughout the labor and delivery process. Unfortunately, now moms-to-be cannot automatically assume that one will be present during what can be an arduous experience. Rising costs of healthcare along with adopting western culture are to blame in part. For this reason, choosing a labor partner becomes important so that he or she can provide the expectant mother both the physical and emotional support needed during labor.
Choosing who you would want around you at that crucial time is not always easy to decide. It goes without saying that it must be someone that you trust and who you are comfortable having around. But more than anything else, this individual should be able to give you confidence that you can get through the trying moments in the labor process. It is not simply sufficient to choose this person a day or two before your baby is due. He or she must have the time to be able to learn relaxation techniques that will come in helpful for you along with attending a birthing class or two if need be.
Another important consideration is that your labor partner is supportive of your birth plan. If you are keen on a natural birth, make sure that your labor partner has what it takes to get you through this difficult time. Ideally, this person should accompany you to Lamaze classes so that you can practice a few breathing techniques together that might come in handy.
Many experts believe that choosing a labor partner who is a female can be a positive experience for the expectant mother due to the nurturing nature of women, especially if they have been through the experience themselves. For many women, this is a, best friend or mother; all of these women are great options – just give them enough notice so that they can clear their calendars for classes and the all-important due date. If you would rather go with a professional, consider a doula that is trained to provide support during labor and delivery.
On the other hand, many women prefer to have their husbands or partners around. A loving partner can be a tremendous source of support but make sure that he is well prepared for what is coming as it may take a cool head to keep calm when the wife is in panic mode! Perhaps the biggest advantage of choosing your own husband is that he has been through the pregnancy with you and is likely a pro at talking you through many of the difficult times you have already experienced. After all, who would enjoy sharing the birth of your child more than the father himself, right?
No matter who you choose for your birthing partner, just make sure that this person inspires enough confidence in you that you feel safer just knowing that he or she is there. If you are lucky, your hospital may even allow more than one labor partner, so check with the doctor and hospital to see what their regulations are; you may be pleasantly surprised!