Choosing a Birth Partner
When it comes to planning your labour, you may already know who you want with you throughout this incredible experience. According to the NCT, 97% of dads now choose to be present at the birth of their children – unlike days gone by! However, some mums-to-be opt for additional support and this can come in several forms:
Often it is the emotional support of a close friend or family member. It might be your mum, sister, mother-in-law or your best friend. The most important thing is that this person – whoever it is – makes you feel relaxed and confident.
Growing in popularity are doulas. You can find more information here: http://doula.org.uk/ but in summary, they are an independent person – not usually medically trained – who will be with you during your labour to give you emotional and physical support. They usually have an affinity with childbirth – possibly through their own experiences – and can be a fantastic source of inspiration and calm. Some doulas are voluntary, and others will charge relatively small amounts for their time.
Independent midwives are usually fully qualified but self-employed midwives who will either take over your whole medical care throughout your pregnancy, or will support you in additional to your NHS GP/midwife care. They will aim to meet with you several times throughout your antenatal care and will be with you throughout the labour until your baby arrives. Independent midwives would be paid by you in a ‘consultant’ capacity and come at varying different prices.
The NCT offer many services including a ‘Birth Companion’ option which, similar to a doula, will give emotional and physical support before, during and after labour.
You can find more information on this and all of the above here: http://www.nct.org.uk/birth/who-can-be-birth-partner.