Words by Sophie
This blog is for those walking alongside their pregnant partners. Helping, guiding, preparing, and supporting.
You are vital to the whole act of birth because you have a most wonderful ability which no midwife or doctor can do quite as well as you. You can make your partner feel loved, cared for, and supported. You know better than anyone else what makes her feel safe, calm, and loved. You know better than anyone else what makes her feel scared, anxious, and daunted.
Just by being with her, holding her and encouraging her will be creating more Oxytocin (the hormone so important for birth). You are also an extension of her birth ‘nest’ and if you have been preparing and practicing with her she will associate you even more with being safe and relaxed!
So, for this Valentine’s Day (a day that has become otherwise so commercial and focussed on physical gifts) I have put together a list of 10 things you can do for your pregnant partner. These have come straight from the mouths of pregnant women, so trust me she will love them…
1. Give her time
This time each day is to be used for self- care. This is for languishing in a bath, going for a walk minus other children (if you have them) or coming home early so she can go to that yoga class that will make her feel glorious! Her body and mind are going through some serious hormonal and physical changes and this time will help her to connect with herself and her baby. It’s so important!
2. Give her a massage
She will love this; her achy body will be soothed, and she will feel so cared for. The touch of someone we love creates calm and connecting hormones which are important for pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. If you can’t do the massage yourself there are some fantastic therapists out there.
3. Tell her what a wonderful job she is doing
Even though I know you think this already we go through our lives without always saying how we feel and what we think. Taking the time to voice how you feel about her will make her feel wonderful.
4. Listen to her
Hear her when she says that she is anxious about something. Let her tell you her worries and be her safe space to voice her thoughts. I know that our first instinct is to protect those we love (and so not give much space to things that show they are worried or anxious) but by having this time anxieties are brought to the surface and not hidden below to arise during labour. You can find out how she feels and help her put in place tools and techniques that will help her to deal with, and conquer, these.
5. Have her back
She will need someone in her corner, protecting her space. You can advocate for her if needed. The women who asked for this on Valentine’s Day said that it would make them feel calmer and more prepared for birth knowing their partner well and truly had their back.
6. Cook some delicious food
Needs no explanation, we all love delicious food. Cook extra and store in the freezer for once your baby is here!
7. Learn about birth
Get informed about birth, find out what being a birth partner means. There are some great resources out there and all our hypnobirthing classes are for pregnant women and their birth partners. I really recommend Men, Love and Birth by Mark Harris as a starting point!
8. Snack excursions
At all hours. Kent Hypnobirthing’s Folkestone Teacher Katy recalls some serious pickled onion Monster Munch night time cravings.
9. Do the things that she finds hard now
This could be the washing up because it is killing her back. It could be painting her toenails because she can no longer reach. Find out what she needs and help her with this.
10. Ride out the emotional tides with patience
Oh the tides of emotions turn fast when pregnant. Happy one moment, sad another. Be patient with her, she has huge levels of hormones building up in preparation for birth. She also has a lot of things happening and changing within her body and physically. This could make her more bad tempered or she could be so excitable and full of energy. Hug her through the sad times, be a shoulder of support for the anxious time and laugh with her through the happy times. Its all normal and it will pass.
Remember that she needs you by her side, you are her birth partner, she wants you there because she feels calm, safe, and supported by you. You are not just the designated hand holder, you are her birth partner. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Sophie Cartwright is a hypnobirthing teacher, owner of Kent Hypnobirthing and mother of two (7 and 2). She and her wonderful team run antenatal preparation classes, alongside parenting and childbirth workshops all over Kent. Find out more here