Category archives: Antenatal Education

  • dad holding baby in sunshine

    Preparing for childbirth is like training for any big event, the preparation starts months in advance.  Rocking up on the day is not an option. Endurance, strength and will power will be required. Getting informed and practicing your supporting skills are crucial to give you the best chance of the big day going as intended.

    “Is there anything I can do?”

    Sometimes you may feel like you are on the sidelines, an onlooker watching as your partner experiences pregnancy and childbirth. When you are unsure of how she is feeling or what she needs, simply ask “Is there anything I can do?” (And be willing to follow through on the request).

    Sometimes the answer will be a hug or making dinner so she can have a rest. The request could also be slightly more complex. She may need you to motivate and reassure her when she is feeling tired or emotional. She may also need you to explain her plans and expectations for birth to a midwife so she can focus on being in labour. So when these requests happen, being as prepared, willing and ready to go is paramount.

    The payoff for asking this simple question is the bonding you will experience, and the feelings of support your partner will feel knowing that you are a team and that she doesn’t need to go through pregnancy and childbirth alone.

    1. Listen to her

    The relationship you have with your partner during pregnancy and childbirth can be strengthened by healthy communication. Listening to your partner and being there for her to share concerns and experiences with will go a long way to bridging the gap in the understanding between what she is experiencing and how you can support her through it.

    Talking about expectations and intentions before your partner is in labour will make it much easier to support her and predict what she needs on the day. Give her time and space and encourage her to trust her body and her instincts. Respect and support her decisions, it is likely she has researched and thought a great deal about them so being dismissive may hurt and insult her judgment.

    1. Get up to speed and get informed

    Gather and absorb information about pregnancy and birth in whatever way suits you best. Read books and blogs. Talk to midwives, birth educators, other parents, friends, and people whose opinions you trust.

    Go to a birth education class and as many antenatal classes as you can with your partner. If you are tempted to wing it, rethink that strategy. If you are inclined to avoid the classes and appointments because it feels a bit awkward, DON’T.  You will feel much more awkward and underprepared on the day if you and your partner are not on the same page and she doesn’t feel supported.

    1. Love and affection

    Remind your partner how much you love her. Be affectionate, kissing and hugging your partner will remind her she is not just pregnant, she is also a woman, and a mother and a lover too. Ultimately feeling appreciated, loved, maybe even sexy will help her feel relaxed and empowered in her pregnancy and during childbirth.

    1. Help her relax

    Giving your partner a massage while she is pregnant can relieve any pain and stress she is feeling and will also help you get to know what type of massage she enjoys.  Practice using different amounts of pressure and depth and ask her which areas she would like you to focus on.

    Run her a bath, light some candles, and grab her favourite chocolate at the shops. Offer to go for a walk together at the beach. When she is really tired, really irritable and doesn’t want to “do” anything pass her the TV remote, and repeat after me. “Put on whatever you like. I’ll watch it with you while I massage your feet”. And then just for good measure “Is there anything else I can do?”

    1. Be her Coach, offering support and encouragement

    Believe in her, even when she doesn’t believe in herself. Print out motivating birth affirmations, stick them on her wall, fridge and the back of the toilet door. Looking at them regularly will embed positive messages you and your partner can draw on during labour.

    1. Be prepared

    Sometimes packing or preparing the practical stuff for labour gets over looked . Think about food, water and music she might like to listen to (and something to play it on). Extra clothing for all seasons, hairclips, lip balm, and baby wipes can be handy. For extra brownie points soft lighting can be created and easily transported by using realistic looking electric or battery operated candles.

    1. Be her advocate and her personal assistant

    While your partner is in labour, she is in midst of one of the most important events of her life and chances are she needs time and space to focus on herself an her baby and doesn’t want to be interrupted. Act as her personal assistant by letting medical staff and family members know when the “do not disturb” sign is up.

    If you know her intentions and her plan for how she would like to manage her birth, then make it your job to advocate for her and manage the birth attendants during labour. This draws on the knowledge, trust and connection you have formed by communicating and listening to your partner during pregnancy.

    Pregnancy and birth is an experience you will be sharing together that is like no other. No two births or women are the same. So when in doubt just look lovingly, affectionately and supportively into the eyes of your pregnant partner and say those sweet, simple words “Is there anything I can do?”

  • Ina May Gaskin is a Leading Midwife, author and founder of a US based midwifery centre with over forty years’ experience in the field of midwifery. Gaskin also developed The Gaskin manoeuvre for birth when shoulder dystocia occurs.

    “We are the only species of mammal that can doubt its capacity to give birth.” – Gaskin, 2013.

    In her 2013 Ted Talk Gaskin talks about how to reduce fear of birth. With a wealth of knowledge and experience in natural low intervention childbirth in the US some of her most poignant advice to expectant mothers and support people is simple.

    • Smile
    • Use humour and affection to relax the mother
    • Don’t share negative, horrific birth stories that scare the mother
    • Create an atmosphere where the mother feels safe, calm and in control
    • and finally “Your body is not a lemon”.
    Prepare for childbirth - reading

    Borrow some of Ina May ‘s books from our library













    Preparation for Birth

    Preparing for birth during pregnancy can be done in a number of ways. Attending a workshop, or talking to friends and family is a common way for women to find out about birth. If you are looking for more information to fully prepare for childbirth, there are many books on everything to do with pregnancy, childbirth and early parenting.

    Ina May Gaskin’s books are informative and warm and cover topics that will assist you to prepare for birth, regardless of where you chose to birth, or who your care providers are.

    Books by Gaskin

    Borrow some of Ina May’s books from our library here. The Bump Library Books >>

    Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth – What you need to know to have the best birth experience for you. Drawing upon her thirty-plus years of experience.

    Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding – From leading midwife and the author comes this deeply compassionate and comprehensive guide to making breastfeeding a joyful experience for both mother.

    Birth Matters – A collection of writings by women and men working to improve women’s maternity care and the quality of birth.

    “Your body is not a lemon.” – Gaskin, 2013.

    Borrow any number of books about pregnancy, childbirth and parenting from our library here or if your interested in Ina May Gaskin check her website and Ted Talk here.


    Borrow some books from our library

    Preparing for birth during pregnancy can be done in a number of ways