Birth Partners can be a game changer when it comes to your birth… want to know why?

I’m a firm believer that birth partners can make a huge impact on our birth experiences and I often say that birth is about team work with there being so many ways that they can support.

Its one of my favourite parts of being a birth coach because I know that through doing a hypnobirthing course, it can significantly increase everyone’s confidence and there really is no better feeling than getting feedback from a family saying that their partner was their rock during birth.

Why do birth partners make such a big difference during birth?

With the mother or parent focusing on labouring or birthing their baby a birth partner is often in the best position to be able to advocate, guide and a support during the birth process.

During birth preparation classes, it gives you and your birth support team the dedicated time and space to chat through anything that your considering for your birth – and honestly, I think its on of the most valuable parts of pregnancy planning!

So many people that I’ve chatted with often think that their birth partner wont enjoy doing a hypnobirthing course but I’m yet to come across one who didn’t… and I’ve taught over 300!

It gives them a really clear role, helps them to see and understand ways that they can really support you and whilst everyone is different – there are a few key things that I’ve noticed people say time and time again when it comes to how their birth partner supported them through hypnobirthing.

Here are some tips for birth partners to confidently prepare for birth

Tip 1 – Learn about the birth journey and what tends to happen during labour

When asking birth partners what they find most useful about our hypnobirthing sessions – its often chatting about the birth process and how they can support.

We often see a change in body language as we get closer to birthing our babies and birth partners being able to spot the changes can be really helpful in terms of the way that birth partner support might change throughout labour.

Often just being there, in the space is enough for the mother or parent to focus on their birth, feeling safe and secure.

Tip 2 – Really invest in understanding what your partners birth preferences are

A birth plan or birth preferences are for everyone involved in the birth, yet the real purpose is for you to explore your options and what feels right for you and your baby.

A birth partner can advocate for you so that you can focus on staying in your birthing zone and through working through the birth preferences together, it can really help your birth partner to understand the reasons for your choices.

Often, parents to be might discuss different scenarios such as induction and caesarean birth and this can really help to build your confidence not only in the fact that hypnobirthing is great for all types of birth but in the fact that it can help you to feel protected and in control in what you want.

Often when speaking with couples, I say have a think about what your givens are regardless of the type of birth. For example, skin to skin with your baby as soon as possible.

Tip 3 – Understand the importance of environment and how our birthing h

Our environment is actually one of the biggest contributing factors to consider when it comes to birth as it can have a significant impact on how the labour or birth happens.

There’s loads of things we can do to change our environment and again, birth partners are often in the best place to set this up or have conversations with others to ensure the space feels calm and right for you.

During The Happy Little Nest hypnobirthing and antenatal classes, we also explore how the maternity care system tends to work as it gives us a really good understanding of why things are in place.

Many procedures are created on a one size fits all basis and during hypnobirthing sessions, we explore how to advocate and do what feels right for you and often its our birth team that supports us with this throughout birth.

Tip 4 – Feel confident around asking questions so that you can relay important information back to your partner

This is often a big one, having some tools to feel confident about asking questions which you might want answering to make an informed choice is so important to birthing parents.

It might be but that you never need to ask questions, but having the tools ready can often help birth partners to feel confident and therefore helps us to feel more in control to let go.

Tip 5 – Trust your partner, trust their intuition during birth

This is a big one. In our society, we’ve often relied a lot on hearing stories, watching tv or have the impression that birth is an urgent medical even when in fact, birth is a very safe event.

A mothers instinct, a fathers instinct or a parents instinct in labour is strong and its important that we learn to listen and support because ultimately – its always the person whose giving births choice in what to do.

Were these tips useful?

I really hope that you find this information useful, feel free to send the link to your birth partner or share with someone who is pregnant.

If your looking for birth preparation courses in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate or online, I’d really recommend that you have a bit of a read about how The Happy Little Nest hypnobirthing courses can support you.

I’m really passionate not only about supporting families to prepare for a vaginal birth but for a caesarean birth and have created a variety of courses to support you.

Hypnobirthing covers many areas of antenatal preparation which will help you and your birth partner to prepare confidently for the birth of your baby!

What’s it like to have a caesarean after a vaginal birth? 

This is probably one of the questions I get asked the most, not only by clients but from other birth workers and even my family and friends! 

I guess for many people, they might experience one or the other (don’t forget that vaginal birth is absolutely possible after an abdominal birth!). 

So what did I find from both of my birth experiences? 

Before the birth 

In terms of preparation, both of my children were born prematurely so I hadn’t really fully gotten things ready at home and it also meant that I did end up having conversations with obstetrics (only as my waters broke with Charlotte but of course at length with Williams birth due to my diagnosis of ICP / requesting a caesarean. 

I had been incredibly focused on my hypnobirthing techniques and had written my birth plans and I was incredibly focused on staying within my zone when it came to both of my babies – their labours started in exactly the same way and whilst Charlotte’s labour progressed, I became quite unwell with a gallstone attack (this was undiagnosed at the time) and therefore I found that I really needed to prepare for Williams birth in a completely different way.

With a vaginal birth, it almost felt like completely letting go whereas with a caesarean – the build up felt the opposite. I was wanting to chat through my options and whilst I felt it important to stay in my zone – I almost wanted the distraction of talking to friends, family and my doula whilst I waited to go down to the theatre. 

The Birth 

I loved labour, I felt incredibly in tune with my body and I very much felt the same during William’s birth too – I felt incredibly connected to my babies and really tuned into my instincts to help lead me to do what I felt was right. 

Charlotte was born in a hospital and whilst the room had quite a medicalised look and feel – I was able to switch my mind off and stay focused on being in my birthing zone and this was still so important for me when it came to Williams birth – I’d never been in a theatre before and I was determined that whilst having a spinal block I stay focused, whilst preparing for the caesarean to start, there was a moment where I felt a little out of control and my breathing and visualisation helped me just as powerfully as it had done during Charlotte’s vaginal birth. 

Craig, my husband, played a huge role in the births of both of our children – he was my primary focus just as both of our babies were born. We worked as a team and whilst there were more checks done on William after his birth – we were very quickly able to create our little nook. 

The one thing I would say about having a caesarean was that I did feel quite frustrated that I just wanted to move my arms and hold my baby easily – I totally got and understood why it was harder.. I’d just say it probably was one of the things that I found the hardest having experienced so much freedom to move about when Charlotte was born. Again, just focusing on cuddling William and being with Craig really made all the difference. 

The Postpartum Period 

This is the area that I get asked about the most – what’s it like to recover from a caesarean compared to a vaginal birth. 

One thing I need to say is that the circumstances around my second birth were very different compared to my first, I was suffering with undiagnosed gallstones which had resulted in multiple organ issues so I did end up having 2 surgeries within 6 weeks of William’s birth which did mean my recovery probably felt quite different…

This might sound weird but there were elements I felt so much happier with when it came to caesarean birth recovery – life was slower, I spent more time resting and relaxing in skin to skin with William in bed. I felt nurtured and held by my midwives, doula, Craig and family and friends – I genuinely believe that this slower period helped me to recover both physically and mentally from a very challenging 2 months. 

The recovery from the caesarean birth wasn’t actually as scary as what I thought it would be. At first standing up and walking around felty quite daunting, yet I very quickly gained my confidence – I get why people said it was important to walk about as soon as I was able, it really helped me build my confidence up straight away. 

Charlotte’s birth was a physiological vaginal birth with a few small stitches, I’ve got to admit, being a first time mum it was more the anxiety of not knowing what was normal which I found quite difficult (again, this did impact me a little bit after a caesarean with my 2nd birth as it was my first experience!).

Overall, both of my experiences were really positive with my taking care of my stitches, listening to my body and seeking out advice from my GP and midwives if I needed reassurance.

My biggest tips from experiencing both types of birth 

Have an action plan on how you can use your hypnobirthing anchors for different birthing scenarios.

Chat with your birth partner and midwife about your birth preferences and the ways you want them to support you. 

Have a bit of a plan for the postpartum period and consider what your recovery might look like and how to reach out to others.

Remember that your breathing techniques really are the best tool in all types of birth

You are very much in the driver’s seat regardless of the type of birth – everything is always your choice.