Check out this great link with tips and info on what might happen http://www.bellybelly.com.au/birth/waters-breaking#.Ujdc3hYuOlJ
While mum has hormones keeping her body going in labour, you have nothing extra to keep you going, so make sure you have regular breaks, as do the other support people. Its amazing what even a 5 minute power walk can do, or some fresh air, a coffee – anything to get your body stretched and refreshed. Don’t feel bad taking a break, you are only human and this is the benefit of having extra support people at birth.
It’s a natural reaction to tense up when we feel pain. There is a nasty cycle common in labour: Fear – Tension – Pain Some common areas where women tend to tense up in labour which you will probably be able to see is in the jaw, shoulders, hands and feet. Help her relax these areas by massaging or giving gentle cues
If mum is sweaty in labour a cool flannel is a great idea. Women in labour are like hot water bottles, so a regular cool wipe down is ideal and she may wish to suck on the flannel if she feels sick and doesn’t wish to drink. For an even cooler cloth, put some water and ice in a bowl and put it in that. If her hair keeps flicking in her face, help her tie it up, clip it back or put it behind her.
If she is holding her breath. A gentle reminder to breathe in and a big one out, will keep the oxygen circulating around her body, and to her baby.
It’s a good idea to avoid asking a mum in the later stages of labour too many questions. With things like offering water, there’s no need to ask, just offer it regularly and she will likely want it – if not she will just not have any or say no. It’s very hot and sweaty work being in labour and fluids are very important to keep hydrated through frequent drinks – alternating between water and sports drinks are ideal.
A labouring mum’s face is a very good indicator of things she might need. Watch her lips, if she is licking them or they are dry, offer sips of water, ideally in a drink which has a bendy straw in it, so you can hold it for her. Is she hot? A cool flannel. Follow her lead and respond silently to cues.
For the baby cranial osteopathy can help them to settle and recover from a birth where they may have been squashed or compressed or where labour has been a long and drawn out process.
“It looks like you’re doing some really hard work, but I can also see that you are doing a really great job. I know you can do this – you are doing this! Let’s do the next few contractions together.” (breathe with her)
Chances are if mum declares she ‘can’t go on’ or she’s ‘changed her mind’ and wants to go home during labour, she is now fully dilated and ready to push. Look out for the signs, your baby is nearly here. Stay positive and remind her of this stage.
Sympathy is a wonderful thing to offer, however during labour, encouragement is the key. If mum is struggling to work through a contraction reminding her of the gift at the end, your beautiful baby is a wonderful incentive to keep going. Stay positive and share any worries aside and out of ear shot if possible.
The role of the birth partner is to give support and comfort to the birthing mum throughout and after labour in many different ways. Chat about what she is expecting of you as you may be singing from different hymn sheets, don’t be surprised if she changes her mind as labour progresses.
Being a birth partner is someone mum can rely on in their time of need and vulnerability. Do your homework what will you do if things don’t go according to plan. Agree who will stay with mum, who will you call in as back up, chat to your midwife to explore the sort of questions you should be asking.
Don’t underestimate the importance of being present at the labour and birth.You can have a huge effect on how the labour goes and what mum’s experience of birth is, which she will remember for the rest of her life. It will take a lot of energy so plan to have support for yourself after the birth, food and a warm bed. x
Being asked to be a birth support person is such an honour – it’s probably not something you have been invited to do very many times in your life, if at all! But make sure you feel you can offer positive support. Your fear may transfer to mum if you are not confident. Any worries do your own homework, this may include debriefing your own birth experience if you are soon to be grandma! x
Check out this great link that has notes for mummies wanting a home birth http://www.homebirth.org.uk/overdue.htm#refuse
By understanding and being informed sometimes it is easier to know the questions you wish to ask. Take a read of this link to help you. http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/induction-labour.aspx#close
Understand a bit more about induction by checking out this link http://midwifethinking.com/2011/07/17/induction-a-step-by-step-guide/
Check out this great soundbite link from a male midwife that has a question and answer session about how blokes can support their partner at the birth of their baby. soundcloud.com/arkharris-1/birthing-for-blokes-sample Find him on Twitter at @Birthing4blokes
Often the elephant in the room, discussing the risks might change your choices in labour. Check out the link below written by Lesley Page, President of The Royal College of Midwives http://theconversation.com/weve-become-blind-to-the-risks-of-having-babies-by-caesearean-14067
Find some great information about looking for, choosing and the rights of a birth partner in this article: http://www.birthrights.org.uk/library/factsheets/Birth-Partners.pdf
Some positive birth mantras to help you through your contractions/surges My body is strong and beautiful Each day brings me closer to meeting my baby My body know just what to do My baby and I are working in perfect harmony As my birthing progresses my relaxation deepens
In the unique time following your baby’s birth if possible, keep the lights low, keep it calm and warm and greet your baby. ‘Skin to skin,’ mum or dads bare chest on baby’s bare chest and allow your baby to make eye contact for the first time.
Help your baby, make the adjustment to its arrival by offering ‘skin to skin’ in the arms of the people it has been waiting to meet. Baby’s skin on mum or dads skin, keeps baby warm, helps their breathing, calms, soothes and regulates their heart rate and nervous system
Check out this facebook page that supports the benefits of delayed cord clamping. http://www.facebook.com/delayedcordclamping
Check out these fab illustrations that offer a couple of solutions for staying mobile whilst being monitored http://www.baby-birth.com/blog/181-sarah-buchanan/851-get-off-the-bed.html#.URgiKqWTGlL
Maybe a top or button through shirt that is long enough to cover your bum if you want move around and can open up to receive your baby skin to skin so you don’t have lots of fabric bunched up between you.
Chat well in advance to prevent any misunderstandings, about your plans for letting people know when you go into labour . Let everyone know how you are going to manage this to prevent surprise visitors
Birth options explored here http://www.aims.org.uk/Journal/Vol10No3/breechCSvsNormal.htm
Check out this link that shows the journey your little one takes through you in order to be born. http://www.spinningbabies.com/about-spinning-babies
Yes, baby being head down with their back to mum’s left side can make for a more straightforward birth for both mama and baba. http://www.nct.org.uk/birth/good-positions-your-baby-birth
A few myths busted here! http://www.homebirth.org.uk/law.htm
Yes you can . Have a look at these 2 sites for current information , statistics etc http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/15850329. And http://www.aims.org.uk/ hbchoose.htm
This article may help and explain your options http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/15850329
How to know if my birth centre / hospital is the right one for me ? This great site to have a look at your local birth centres, midwife led units and maternity units which may help you choose the birth place that is right for you and your baby www.birthchoiceuk.com
Robust. Information for mamas wanting a straightforward birth following a previous c-section “With proper care the risk for a scar rupture can be as low as 0.5% or 1 in 200 healthy women labouring for a VBAC” http://www.vbac.com/
For all you need to know and where to find a doula for you as we’ll as questions to ask a prospective doula check out www.doula.org.uk or www.the birtishdoulas.co.uk or www.nurturingbirth.co.uk
A lovely story on how a doula helped Jane and her husband to have the birth they wanted in Bermuda Jane has now returned to her home in England with her son, and is now a doula herself http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/intbermuda.asp
Labour and birth can often feel like a marathon more than a sprint. Good strength of your legs and arms will help you endure, keep mobile during labour and take advantage of the best positions to help your baby be born. (link to class http://www.pilatesod.com/classes/class-026/
Am I allowed to give birth standing up, sitting down, squatting, at home, in the woods? The answer is YES YOU CAN! It is your right and your birth. The book ‘Am I Allowed? ‘Written by Beverley Lawrence Beech ( ISBN 10: 1874413150. ISBN 13: 9781874413158. www.aims.org.uk/pubs3.htm) Gives you all the info on what you can do and how to get the right support for the birth that you want.
Thinking of a water birth. There are many benefits to being in water during labour Check out http://www.aims.org.uk/choosewater.htm The Royal College of Midwives also support water births http://www.rcog.org.uk/womens-health/clinical-guidance/immersion-water-during-labour-and-birth
Niagra falls or a slow trickle, either are a perfectly normal sign that baby is on the way. This amniotic fluid should be clear and a pale straw colour. Contact your midwife or the hospital for guidance for what to do next. Good luck you are on your way! PS Some women never have their waters break and the baby can be born in the sack. Check out http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/labour-signs-what-happens.aspx#close
The curtains about to go up! Look out for a mucus jelly (sometimes called ‘the plug’) in your knickers, sounds lovely, but its often the first sign that labour is fairly imminent and mum’s cervix is ripening ready to roll.
Baby on the way at last but you feel like you have forgotten everything you’ve learnt about birthing your baby. Keep calm, take a deep breath, remember the midwife will be there to guide and support you and your birth companion through this exciting adventure with the best gift ever at the end of the journey! x