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Want to be the perfect childbirth partner? Here’s how

Pregnancy can be an exciting time for the whole family! An expectant mom may find herself with offers of support from her spouse, parents, extended family and friends. It’s important that she identify her biggest supporter and make sure they’re on-call and ready when delivery day arrives.

Because mom will be focusing on having the baby, her primary childbirth partner can lend support in many ways.

They can help write and be the keeper of the pre-delivery checklist. Feed the dogs? Check! Line up care for the other kids? Check! Bag packed for the hospital? Check!

While packing the hospital bag can be a good labor distraction for mom, the childbirth partner can help tie up any loose ends before heading to the hospital.

Speaking of heading to the hospital, a mom in active labor should not attempt to drive herself. The childbirth partner can be the driver – but make sure they know where they’re going. It can be helpful to do an advance “test run” so the childbirth partner has the directions memorized and knows where the hospital entrance is located.

Of course, emergencies sometimes happen. If there is another hospital closer than the one where you are planning to deliver, make sure both you and your childbirth partner know how to get there in case baby is coming faster than you expected.

One of the most important roles of a childbirth partner is to support mom during labor – both at home and at the hospital. There are a variety of childbirth classes with differing philosophies. Mom’s labor preferences may dictate which classes to choose and how the support person can help. Huntsville Hospital Health System offers free virtual childbirth classes taught by the experts at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children and Madison Hospital.

There are a number of ways for a childbirth partner to support mom during labor:

  • Hold her upright as she sways back and forth during a contraction
  • Apply soothing pressure on her lower back
  • Offer ice chips
  • Fan mom to help keep her cool
  • Keep a labor playlist with mom’s preferred music

New moms need just as much support after delivery – if not more. Childbirth partners can help by offering to change diapers and rock baby to sleep so mom can get in a quick nap. A new mom can get really hungry and thirsty! Help her by keeping water close by, and offer to make dinner (remember to hold the baby so mom can eat in peace). Volunteer to wash the dishes or do a load of laundry.  Or just offer to watch baby for a few minutes so mom can take a nice hot shower.

So many new moms want to be the one holding their new bundle, so a trusted support person can really be helpful when they take care of life’s other demands.

While many in-person classes at our hospitals have been temporarily suspended due to COVID, we look forward to opening them back up as soon as we can safely do so. In the meantime, our online “Parenting” class is a great starting place for pregnant mothers and their childbirth partner at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children and Madison Hospital.


Samantha Wall, BSN, RNC-OB
OB Simulation Coordinator at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children