When we think of labor, we often think of all the hard work the laboring woman has to do in order to meet her baby. Rightfully so. After all, she is putting her body through the most intense work it has ever experienced. While the physical work does fall on the woman, the support she receives matters. A lot. The confidence, or lack thereof, a partner brings into the labor room, can propel her forward or bring her down in a spiral of fear and pain.
As a doula, I aim to prepare birth partners for birth by giving them the tools they need to do and say all the right things during labor. In addition to the continuous labor support I offer during labor (where I support mom and partner equally), my prenatal appointments are a perfect opportunity for moms and their support person to voice their hopes, fears, and have their questions answered. For those who wish to labor without the presence of a doula, I offer three different labor prep options: Comfort Measures and two different Bodywork and Labor Prep classes.
My Comfort Measures course is a hands-on class where I essentially teach the birth partner how to be the doula. They learn how to do hip squeezes, counter pressure, and massage. We also talk about affirmations from the partner, comfort measures, positions, and breathing techniques for each stage of labor, along with a designated time to address any questions or concerns mom or partner have.
The Bodywork and Labor Prep classes take my Comfort Measures course to a whole new level, offering various levels of physical care and education. I meet with these clients in their home, to walk them through different bodywork techniques to help encourage optimal fetal positioning for easier labor and delivery. We also walk through different comfort measures and breathing techniques. These packages are brand new and have me all sorts of excited! Please note, this class does not replace the need for regular chiropractic care throughout pregnancy. However, it does work to enhance such care.
Outside of the classroom, dads can rock their labor prep by utilizing various resources available. To familiarize himself to the sights and sounds of labor, he can watch Youtube videos of women giving birth in different locations. Viewer beware, there is typically some nudity and graphic scenery, but hey, that's just birth. He can follow blogs such as Birth Without Fear and research labor and newborn care options through Evidence Based Birth.
There are also many books geared towards dads and other birth partners to learn how to rock their role and win "Most Supportive Partner" award. Penny Simkin's The Birth Partner is my absolute favorite book to recommend. In this book, she gives a detailed report on what women may feel physically and emotionally throughout each stage of labor, how the partner should respond, and walks the reader through the medical side of birth and comfort in labor. If I could, I would require this book for all expectant parents. It's just that good.
The world of education and birth resources is vast and available for the taking. Find what works best for you and your partner, then totally nail it when baby day comes!