Who can be my birth partner?

Having the right person with you when you have your baby can lower your stress levels, which may help reduce the pain you feel.

Your birth partner can be your partner, if you have one, or a relative or friend. Some women hire a doula, who is a woman who has lots of experience of childbirth (but not necessarily medical training) and who gives emotional and practical support before, during and after childbirth.

If you're having your baby in a hospital or birth centre, there may be a limit on the number of people you can have in the labour room with you. Ask your midwife about this during your pregnancy.

Whoever you choose to be your birth partner, make sure they know what's on your birth plan. Talk to them as well about ways you'd like them to help during labour and birth - rubbing your back during contractions and encouraging you with your breathing, for example.

It's fine to change your mind about your birth plan!

A birth plan is not fixed - it's about what you think you might prefer. If you put a name down as a birth partner, you're not stuck with that person! You can change your mind as much as you like.

You might find on the day that you don't fancy a water birth or that you do want gas and air after all. Pain relief is one thing lots of women change their minds about.

Nobody can tell you for sure that you'll have the birth you want. No one knows how your labour will go. Your health and that of your baby will always come first. However, your midwife will try hard to follow your wishes as much as possible.

Last reviewed on April 1st, 2015. Next review date April 1st, 2018.

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