Birth is a very personal event. That's why it matters a lot who accompanies you. There should not be more than one or two people. It is important that you can trust your escort. If you are in a relationship, then of course your partner is a good choice. However, you can also be assisted during the birth by a person from your family or your closest circle of friends. If you don't have a confidant who can accompany you to the birth, usually the midwives in the hospital, birth centre or in a home birth will simply take care of you a little more.
It is good to know that it is entirely your decision who will be there in addition to your healthcare providers or midwives. The time around the birth belongs to you and your baby. No one should pressure you. You also shouldn't feel obligated to have anyone with you if you don't want to. The same applies to visits after birth. If you don't feel like seeing a lot of people, you should tell your family and friends that and they should respect your decision. If you give birth in hospital, you can also tell the staff there who you want to be present at your birth and how many visitors you want afterwards. The nurses and doctors will then also make sure that your needs are taken into account and that your instructions are followed. Your companion may also stay with you during a delivery by c-section, unless an emergency caesarean section has to be performed.
The perfect preparation for you and the person accompanying you is to attend a childbirth preparation course together. This will allow your partner, family member or friend to experience what it is like to be present at a birth and how best to support you. In the childbirth preparation course you will learn relaxation techniques and breathing exercises that can help you during the birth. If your companion accompanies you to the childbirth preparation course, they can also stand by your side in moments when your strength is drained and apply the techniques learned in the course together with you. Here you will also learn how to hold the baby properly and how to deal with the little one after birth. You will also learn about difficult situations that may arise where the companion may feel helpless themselves. In the course you will also have the opportunity to address many questions that the person accompanying you may have about the birth. Even without a course, it is very helpful to discuss with your companion what support you would like during the birth. This way they can stand by you and advocate for your wishes regarding the birth to the doctors and the midwife, when you may lack the strength to do so.
You and your companion may not be able to attend the birth preparation course together due to timing conflicts or for other reasons. Then it is good to know that there are also special courses for partners where you can learn similar things and ask many questions. This helps to alleviate fears that may arise around childbirth. It is also best to talk directly to the person accompanying you about what you would like during the birth. In addition to your hospital bag, the person accompanying you can also pack a bag for themselves. In addition to comfortable clothes, they may want to take small snacks and something to drink, as well as a camera or a mobile phone. You can use it to capture the big moment.
The tasks of the accompanying person begin with the journey to the hospital or birth centre. Either they drive you themself or they organise the trip, for example with a taxi. In the hospital or birth centre, a midwife takes care of everything else. If you have opted for a home birth, then the midwife will take responsibility for the delivery once they arrive at your home. The midwife may be able to give your companion advice on how best to support you. One of the most important tasks of the companion is to encourage you and strengthen your confidence in your own strength. They can hold your hand, help you with certain movements, and support you in following through with your birth wishes. A little massage, some praise or a little joke can help you recover from the contractions and distract you. In some situations, however, your companion will have to hold back and remain calm, for example in the case of complications or particularly severe pain.