Know the Plan—and the Backup Plan
Make sure you fully understand your partner’s birthing plan. If you have questions, ask them. If you’re unclear about a specific detail, take the time to clarify what’s written. Remember: your partner is the pilot, and you’re the copilot. Sometimes, they cannot communicate their wishes to the different health care providers coming in and out of the room (primarily during shift changes). It’s your job to know what your partner wants and do your best to ensure it’s honored as much as possible.
Of course, not all birth plans go as planned, so it’s good for you to know your partner’s backup plan for delivery as well. For example, your partner wants to labor in water because it’s a calming environment, but there’s no room available with a tub. So instead, you utilize all other calming factors in the birthing room, such as dim lighting, minimal interruptions, soothing music, and aromatherapy. This scenario is undoubtedly a plan B, but it’s a plan B you can anticipate and help execute on the spot.
It’s also important to note that some doctors and nurses can be pushy. Many hospitals are known for their efficiency, but maybe your partner doesn’t want an “efficient birth” and instead values being heard and having expressed boundaries respected. If they don’t want a particular procedure, intervention, or practice, you need to have that discussion and come to an understanding before you arrive at the hospital. Then, you need to help communicate that to medical staff, as long as your partner is comfortable with you doing so. I’m not saying to speak for your partner; just advocate for and support them.