Support Options During Childbirth

According to research, labouring women with support options during labour are less likely to have regional or any analgesia/anaesthesia, an operative vaginal birth and a caesarean section. The positive effects of support are stronger in women who have no other source of support and in settings where epidural anaesthesia and electronic foetal monitoring are not used routinely. Support options include your partner, family, friends, clinical caregiver and doulas. However, there are several things to consider in what support option to choose. You can choose to have one or more of the following people to assist you throughout labour and childbirth:

Different Childbirth Support Options

Your Partner

Most partners feel some concern about accompanying a woman during childbirth. In the end, most find that providing help and comfort in labour is extremely rewarding, and that being present at the birth of their child is one of the life?s most memorable experiences. However, making your partner responsible for supporting you through labour puts pressure in him because he may have little or no prior familiarity with birth, and he may also need strong emotional help of his own during the experience. Partners can benefit by having someone with more experience teach them through, provide necessary ideas for helping with your comfort, reassure them, and look after their needs.

Family And Friends

Friends and family as a support option can offer the physical and emotional support that can be extremely helpful in getting you through the difficulties of labour. During these times, nobody knows what you exactly need and what might make you feel secure and comfortable, but these people can really make you feel happy knowing that you are not alone. Whatever support option you’ll choose, it is good to know that by having a family member, or a close friend serve as your labour support, you can be assured that you are being represented by someone who knows you well and has your best interests at heart.

Clinical Caregiver

This person can be a nurse, midwife, or doctor. Many factors will affect the type of care you choose, including your level of risk, insurance coverage and preferred caregiver style. Whomever you choose, you deserve someone who listens to your concerns and provides helpful answers to your questions. In addition, not all health care providers have the same credentials or licenses. It’s very important for pregnant women who go to maternity care to understand the differences and choose carefully.

A Trained Labour Support Specialist

This person is also called “doula” (Doo-lah), a Greek word that means “woman who serves”. This person is also sometimes referred to as labour companion, labour support professional, labour support specialist, labour assistant, and birth assistant. This person will help a woman at home in the days and weeks after childbirth. This person can help during childbirth because a doula:

  • Understands that birth is an important and life changing experience to the parents-to-be.
  • Is educated in the physiology of a birthing woman.
  • Helps the couple in creating and carrying out their birth plan.
  • Stays with the labouring mother throughout the entire labour providing moral, emotion and physical support.
  • Facilitates communication between the mother along with her partner and the health care providers.
  • Explains medical procedures and provides information on interventions and pain medications.
  • Provides information in order for the mother to make informed decisions and choices.
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