Now that restrictions have been lifted and partners are allowed in maternity units again, mums-to-be have an opportunity to get much needed, in-person support in the delivery room. This is wonderful news! Childbirth is a time when new mothers have always had three to four people around them for support. In fact, traditionally, new mums are babied as much as the baby!

So, while you might not be the one doing all of the pushing…you have an invaluable role to play in the delivery suite! Your loving attention and support will go a long way to helping your child’s birth go as smoothly as possible.  

Here are just a few ways you can support your partner during labour. 

Do your homework.

Ready or not, this baby is going to come…but being as ready as possible will help you be a superstar sidekick. Your better half is going to have a lot on her mind—and her plate—on the big day. By being prepared for what is to come, you can help calm her worries and communicate with her care team. And, in anticipation of the big day, it would be so very helpful if you brush up on labour basics with a book or a birthing class…just make sure you have a full grasp of everything that will be happening! 

Pack the go-bag.

When delivery day arrives, you will want to have all of the supplies you need for labour—and your subsequent hospital stay—ready to go. (It is best to pack this a few weeks before your due date though…do not leave it until the last minute!). Along with any required paperwork or ID cards, changes of clothes and toiletries, be sure to stock your sack with distractions if you have to spend some time just waiting around (think: a deck of cards, magazines, or a tablet loaded up with shows to watch). You may want to stash a few comfort items or anything the mum-to-be needs to feel relaxed…perhaps lavender oil to dot on her hospital pillow or cosy socks and light snacks Mum can munch during labour (simple crackers, herbal tea with honey, coconut water) and some of her fav treats once the baby is born (you really work up an appetite giving birth!). And, make sure you have extra face masks on hand that you can use to protect yourselves and your care team from COVID-19.

Appoint yourself Calmer-in-Chief.

The process of labour can get…a teensy bit stressful. That means one of your most important duties is keeping your partner calm and confident. Make a playlist of soothing songs that you can switch on to relax her, practice deep breathing, or even do a meditation together.

Ask questions and be ready to advocate for your partner.

Familiarise yourself with the labour plan so that you are prepared to answer questions on behalf of your partner, ask questions to make sure you are all on the same page, and advocate for your loved one in the delivery room.

Be ready to be there…in whatever way your partner needs you.

Your job is ultimately…whatever the mum-to-be says it is! It might mean feeding her ice chips and wiping sweat from her brow…or it could be simply holding her hand…or even holding a leg when it is go-time!

Needless to say, now is not the time to comment about how exhausted you are or to voice how gross this whole labour business is. Nope! Your job is to help lift her spirits as she tackles this tough task. 

Capture the moment (with permission!).

Though the mere memories of your child’s birth will last a lifetime, you may also want photo or video to commemorate the experience. If that is something you and your partner have discussed and agreed upon in advance, your job will be to snap photos and record video during or right after labour (no unauthorised paparazzi pictures, please!). 

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Disclaimer: The information on our site is NOT medical advice for any specific person or condition. It is only meant as general information. If you have any medical questions and concerns about your child or yourself, please contact your health provider. Breastmilk is the best source of nutrition for babies. It is important that, in preparation for and during breastfeeding, mothers eat a healthy, balanced diet. Combined breast- and bottle-feeding in the first weeks of life may reduce the supply of a mother's breastmilk and reversing the decision not to breastfeed is difficult. If you do decide to use infant formula, you should follow instructions carefully.