The Birth Companion
The role of the Hypno Birthing Companion/Partner
The role of the Hypno Birthing companion is crucial so it is important that you choose someone who you trust to assist you, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the father or your partner.
Most couples that do the HynoBirthing programme together find that they enjoy the different kind of intimacy that is developed between them by practising deep relaxation together. So why is a supportive birth companion so important? Well if we were to offer you a method of reducing the chance of having a caesarean section, less chance of depression at six weeks, reduction in analgesia required, a shorter labour and a more positive birth outcome you would probably take it. Well this is what quality support in labour can offer, so you will want to take it seriously.
So the main role of the Hypno Birthing birth companion is to support the mother throughout labour and birth. They can do this by becoming familiar with the relaxation and breathing exercises so that they can directly lead and assist mum if she finds maintaining relaxation difficult during the birth.
It is also important to recognise that everyone is different and some women just want to be left alone when labour becomes established. In which case simply holding her hand or just being there can be all the assistance she needs.
Many women however really appreciate the presence of someone who can empathise with what she is doing, and acting as a guide and prompting her with supportive pre-rehearsed phrases can be really powerful. On our web site we will have some relaxation scripts that the birth companion can print out, and read to you so that their voice becomes anchored to your state of deep relaxation.
You can even ask them to record a relaxation script so that you can listen to their voice as you practice. You will need to get them to listen to the scripts on the Hypno Birthing CDs that you will be given in the Hypno Birthing class and all you need to do is adopt a similar tone and pace. We would still recommend that mum to be listens to the CDs regularly on her own. This will allow the techniques learned in the Hypno Birthing classes to become automatic.
We also recommend that you incorporate touch into the practice and that can also act as an anchor for mum to relax deeper during labour. Simply stroking mums arm while listening to the scripts on the CD or holding her hand can build a positive anchor for you to become really responsive to the touch, and it will help you to relax automatically during labour.
Again this takes practice to build up the link (or anchor) to relax when you are being touched, so you will want to schedule a time each day when you run through your practice, especially in the few weeks before the birth.
If you do choose or need a hospital birth your birth companion can also act as liaison between you and the medical staff. When you are in advanced labour you will not want to be concerned with making decisions about any interventions which are being suggested and without the support of your companion you might just accept what is being proposed. The main question that your companion should always ask the medical staff is this, ‘Is the baby’s or mothers health currently at risk ’ or 'what happens if we wait'. The medical staff should then be willing to explain fully the pro’s and con’s of what they are suggesting.
When discussing the various options with medical staff it is important not to adopt a confrontational attitude. You will get much better co-operation if you express your concerns in a calm assertive way. Your medical staff should therefore be aware of the contents of your birth plan and you should let have a copy and they should respect your wishes. Also discuss your plan with your midwife at your last antenatal visit and let her have a copy. Take a few copies and always ask any new shift midwives to read your birth plan before taking over your care.
The Birth plan and role of the birth companion is explained fully in your Hypno Birthing classes.