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Why Have a Second Birth Partner? (Video)

Did you know that you’re allowed more than one birth partner?

What is a Birth Partner?

A birth partner is anybody who’s going to support you during labour and birth. And most hospitals and birthing units suggest you can have up to two birth partners. This doesn’t mean you can have a tag team. Two different people running in and out and only two at a time. It means two designated birth partners. Some people decide they only want their partner to be there, which is, of course, fine. But it is worth considering the fact that you could have a second person.

Who to Choose (and who not to choose!)

There will be people in life who really stress you out, make you agitated…think about those people and then… don’t ask them!

But there will be other friends and family members who will be a calming influence on you. It might really be worth considering asking them to be a second birth partner. It’s great to ask somebody who knows you well because you might just give them one look or say a few words and they can actually read you and understand what you mean.

Use People’s Time Wisely

The latent phase of labour, the earliest part of labour, can go on for days (check out our video explaining that). But if you do have a long latent phase you may not want your partner to actually be the one who’s there for that time. If it goes on for three or four days and they’re eligible for paternity leave they’re going to eat into that time. Instead, they could spend that time with you in actual established labour and once the baby’s born. So it might be worth thinking about somebody who could be there to rub your back, watch a movie with you, fetch and carry while you’re at home during the latent phase.

Options and Conversations

When you do go into a hospital or birthing unit, if that’s where you choose to give birth, then it might be worth thinking about having a second birth partner there. I looked after a couple once and it was just the two of them. Then at some point in the labour, this girl ran in full of energy, armed with bacon sandwiches. This was brilliant (bacon makes everything a little bit better). The partner went home for a while. He had a shower, had a lie down and came back with far more energy and was a great support. The friend then left and didn’t stay for the birth. Something similar is a good option to consider.

It may be that you want two people there for the entire time, for the birth as well. If that’s the case, think about having a code word and have a conversation with that person about the fact that at some point you might want them to leave. This could even be just outside the door. The reality is that at some point you might just want it to be the two of you. It’s really good to have that conversation when you’re not in labour, so that the second birth-partner doesn’t take offense.

If you’d like a full run down of of tips and options to consider do check out our comprehensive antenatal classes.

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