Posted 16 Jan 2023
A woman’s journey through Pregnancy, Labour and birth are significant life events that bring about changes physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually. A strong support team is vital to support a her as she navigates through these changes.
Along with joy, excitement and anticipation it can simultaneously bring about challenges and naturally can have women feeling anxious and uncertain about what to expect during this time. This is why having a supportive team of caregivers and loved ones can make a significant difference in supporting a woman to feel more comfortable, confident, and empowered during her pregnancy, labour and birth experience.
Research has shown that support during labour and birth can have numerous benefits for both the mother and baby.
Some of the benefits of having support during labour and birth include:
- Reduced risk of complications and medical intervention: Studies have found that having support during pregnancy, labor and birth can reduce the risk of complications such as preterm labor, infection, and the need for a cesarean. For example, one study published in the Journal of Midwifery and Women’s Health found that women who received continuous support during pregnancy and labour had a 25% lower risk of cesarean delivery compared to women who did not receive continuous support. Another study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who received continuous support during labour had a shorter labour, fewer pain management requests, and a lower incidence of cesarean compared to women who did not receive continuous support.
- Better coping skills during Labour: Support during labour and birth can help a woman feel more empowered and better able to navigate what arises during her labour. This can result in a more positive birth experience overall. For example, a study published in the Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who received continuous support during labour reported higher levels of satisfaction with their birth experience compared to women who did not receive continuous support.
- Increased comfort: Having someone to hold your hand, rub your back, or offer words of encouragement can make a big difference in helping a woman feel more comfortable during labor and birth. A study published in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing found that women who received continuous support during labour reported lower levels of pain and higher levels of satisfaction with their birth experience compared to women who did not receive continuous support.
- Improved breastfeeding outcomes: Research has shown that women who receive support during labour and birth are more likely to initiate breastfeeding and continue breastfeeding for longer periods of time. For example, a study published in the Journal of Human Lactation found that women who received continuous support during labour were more likely to initiate breastfeeding within the first hour after birth and were more likely to be breastfeeding exclusively at six weeks postpartum compared to women who did not receive continuous support.
There are many different ways that a woman can receive support during pregnancy, labour and birth. Some options include hiring a pregnancy coach, doula, having a trusted birthing partner present, joining a women’s circle, or participating in childbirth education classes such as Hypnobirthing.
A Pregnancy Coach is a professional who provides emotional support to a woman during pregnancy, labour and birth.
A Pregnancy coach can offer a variety of services such as relaxation techniques, birth mapping, trauma healing, birth debriefing, letting go of fear, building self trust, link women to additional expert support, provide emotional support and more. Having a pregnancy coach present during a woman’s pregnancy, labour and birth can result in a number of benefits including a shorter labour, decreased risk of medical intervention, a decrease in the likelihood of birth trauma and supporting a woman as they transition into motherhood.
Having a trusted birth partner, family member or friend present during labour and birth can also be extremely helpful. They can provide emotional support, encouragement, and a sense of familiarity, comfort, and most importantly be a woman’s advocate in the birthing space. It is important for a woman to choose someone who is supportive and understanding, and who will respect her wishes, preferences and values.
Childbirth education classes are another option for receiving support during labour and birth.
Hypnobirthing Classes for example cover a range of topics such as stages of labour, surge management techniques, breastfeeding, human rights in childbirth, models of care, optimal environment and positioning for birth and postpartum care. Attending childbirth education classes can help a woman feel more prepared and confident about what to expect during labour and birth. It can also provide an opportunity for a woman to ask questions and feel better prepared for the journey ahead.
It is important for a woman to choose a childbirth education class that aligns with her needs and preferences. Some classes may focus more on natural childbirth techniques, while others may emphasise surge management strategies. Some classes may be more medically oriented, while others may have a more holistic approach.
It is important for a woman to consider her own needs and preferences when it comes to support during labour and birth.
Some women may prefer to have a more hands-on approach, while others may prefer a more low-key presence. It is also important for a woman to communicate her needs and preferences to her caregivers and loved ones so that they can provide the best possible support and we can support her in doing so by providing a safe space for her to voice her needs.
In the end, the most important thing is that a woman feels supported, respected, and empowered during her pregnancy, labor and birth experience. With the right support team in place, a woman can feel confident and prepared for her labor and birth and emerge stronger, more resilient, and more in tune with her own strength and capability.
Looking for more support on your pregnancy journey. Book here to learn ways you can feel more support today.