If you and your partner are preparing for the birth of your baby, and you're the birth coach, you're going to need some preparation too. Being a birth coach isn't just about showing up and being there. If you're the birth coach, you're going to be in the middle of the action, not on the sidelines. The doctor or midwife will be taking care of the medical aspects of the delivery. Your job will be to care for the other needs your partner will have during labor. To make sure you're ready for the experience, here are some tips you'll need to follow.
Know the Plan
If you and your partner are going to have an active birth plan, you need to know what that plan is. It's not enough that you were there when it was being discussed. You've got to make sure you've got it memorized. You might be called upon to speak up if the plan isn't being followed by the hospital staff. You might also need to speak up if an emergency situation arises, and the medical staff are recommending that your plan be cast aside. If you're not sure what the plan is, you won't be able to communicate effectively, which you might need to do if your partner is in too much pain to think clearly.
Be Prepared for Anything
When you're the birth coach, you need to be prepared for virtually anything. If this is your first time being a birth coach, it's important to know that just about anything can happen during labor. For instance, your previously quiet partner, who would never say a foul word, may suddenly burst out in an expletive-laden rant about your breath. Don't take it personally. If your partner is planning on laboring in water, you'll need to be prepared to climb into the water too. You never know when your partner is going to need some support. Bring a spare set of clothing so you can change later.
Pack Some Labor Goodies
You and your partner are going to get tired out during labor, especially your laboring partner. While you partner is packing their hospital bag, be sure to pack one for yourself. Fill it with things that you can use to help alleviate some of the discomfort your partner will be experiencing. Things like hard candies to take care of dry mouth, headphones to listen to soothing music, and a sock filled with tennis balls for body massage, will be greatly appreciated during labor.