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Advice for Support People in Birth


Being a support person involves providing physical and mental help and support to a woman in labour. It comes with its good and bad sides, and you need to be ready for whatever it will take.

Who is a support person?

A support person is that individual that is present when a woman is giving birth and provides physical and psychological support to the mother. The position of a support person is a privileged one. It can be enriching, especially as the baby is born and meets its family for the first time. At other times, it can be physically and emotionally taxing. 

The support person should be someone you trust, are comfortable with and readily takes up the responsibility. He/she may be:

  •       A partner
  •       A family members- parent, sibling or relative
  •       A close friend
  •       A religious figure
  •       A paid professional

Advice for support people in birth

Here are some important tips to help you support the birth mother during her labour and birth:

  1. Know your role. Before the expectant woman goes into labour, have a conversation with her. Know why she wants you there, what she expects from you, and how best you can go about it.
  2. Understand her birth preferences. Ask questions and accompany her on a few antenatal visits to learn about her birth preferences. Know what her labour and birth options are and how to be her advocate when needed. Also, understand what steps should be taken if there are any complications.
  3. Remember, she is the focus. Whether or not you have had a baby is irrelevant to the expectant mother’s experience. She has her expectations, beliefs and values, and coping strategies, all of which should be respected. Also, every birth is different, and medical practice advances by the day, so it is impractical to compare situations.


Responsibilities during birth

As a support person, there are certain responsibilities you will have including: 

  •       Providing psychological support via assurance and encouragement.
  •       Keep family members and relevant persons updated if she desires.
  •       Assist her with positioning and encouragement while pushing.
  •       Help her hold the baby and place her on her chest.
  •       Be physically present during the caesarean section, if performed.


Most importantly, enjoy this wonderful opportunity to support the birth mother during one of the most challenging but rewarding moments of her life!


 This article is written to be informative and does not substitute seeking a professional consultation from a medical professional.

You can make an appointment with Dr Kenny on 07 3188 5000.

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