Preparing someone else for your labour...?

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Last seen: 2 years 3 weeks ago
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Preparing someone else for your labour...?

I have a friend who is expecting her 2nd baby in March, she’s planning a homebirth. She has invited her younger sister (18 years old) as labour support (as well as her mother and older sister).

Her sister has never been to a birth and so my friend has thought about writing up an “at the birth” plan for her sister. Kind of explaining what will happen, and what is expected of her.

I had never heard of anyone doing this before and it got me thinking... Has anyone ever written a Birth Plan for a labour attendant explaining the process and what you expect of them? Or have you just assumed that they will do the research on their own? Would you invite a birth attendant who has never given birth themselves (aside from DH/SO, of course)?

Last seen: 4 years 1 week ago
Joined: 12/10/05
Posts: 1681

I think it would depend on your and their expectations of being at the birth.

If they are to be active in a supportive role, then I would definitely go over my birth plan, hopes, goals, etc. Maybe not a written thing, but certainly a very good heart to heart. I might ask them to come with me to a prenatal appt. Any support person really needs to know how to support you, and I think that would be very hard if they had no idea of what they are getting in to, so to speak.

However, if they are going to be just an observer, not an active member of the "team", then I wouldn't worry too much. I would just make sure they knew what to expect as far as the birth being at home vs hospital or what is seen on TV.

I don't like having a bunch of people around while I labor, so for me my ideal team is just DH and the mw's, and they all know what to do Smile

kaype's picture
Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
Joined: 02/08/07
Posts: 219

regardless of her role at the birth, i think education is helpful , especially if the person invited has never give birth, let alone had an NCB Smile my sister was at the birth of our first and entirely unprepared for what she saw (a normal NCB). she didn't know how to cope with seeing me that uncomfortable/in pain. her first memory after arriving at the birth center is that she wanted to hide in the corner and cry for me!

she ended up being a great help to michael and really served both of us (taking photos, getting things as needed), but wasn't really a support to me. she had attended at least one prenatal appointment with me.

i wish i had thought to do more to prepare her for what her role could be as a support person and for what a natural child birth could be like. i think your friend is wise!

cactuswren's picture
Last seen: 2 years 8 months ago
Joined: 10/19/09
Posts: 4658

I think preparing her for basic expectations and what is/isn't helpful is very, very smart and would be helpful for both the sister and the expectant mom! Great detail probably isn't necessary if she's just there to be an extra pair of hands, but I definitely would not assume an 18 year old who had never given birth would innately understand how to be in a birth room and both feel OK with everything she was seeing and also be of any actual help unless I gave her some direction.

Personally, I'm in the hole-up-with-DH-and-the-midwives camp, but I think it's perfectly appropriate if they're both comfortable with it!

Illiana's picture
Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
Joined: 09/29/05
Posts: 338

I think it depends. For DD's birth my brother's girlfriend really wanted to attend and she was a sweetheart -- I loved her so it was no big deal to have her there. She was my age though 24. I think she did some research on her own but since she was there more to "observe" than to "participate" that was fine. She mostly kept me company talking to us about various things and singing for me Smile She was awesome to have there.. Now she's actually a doula so I think it encouraged her to see how awesome birth is and to help others in labor.

But each case is different. I dont think i'd ever write something up unless they asked for me too. Though I do wish that my 'acting doula' and I were more on the same page but it was fine overall. If you expect a person (doula or not) to do something or not do something then said person needs to know, otherwise most people can judge how things are going at the time not beforehand.

Spacers's picture
Last seen: 8 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4104

I wouldn't want or consider anyone who hasn't at least tried for NCB herself to be "support" for my birth, but I'd have them there as a helper. Someone to fetch cold washcloths or fill up my cup or take photos or hold my hand while my midwife pees. In that capacity, sure, but not as labor support. And yes, I'd want her to know what to expect and what kinds of things are normal, and especially what things to not say. Like during my labor with Weston, when my MIL said, "Things aren't going well," right in front of me. :eek: I knew that was the truth, of course, but I didn't want to or need to & shouldn't have had to *hear* it from anyone.