June Book Review - The Birth Partner

The Birth Partner 5th Edition: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Partners, Doulas, and Other Labor Companions is the book to read if you and your birth partner are preparing for the arrival of a little one!  The 4th edition is good too!  You may want your partner to be your support person during labor, or you may hire a doula for your birth.  This book had great advice for birthers and all members of their team.  

The Author, Penny Simkin highlights, “Try not to take it personally if the mother criticizes you or tells you to stop doing something that you expected to be helpful. Just say, “Sorry,” and stop doing it. Don’t try to explain why you did it or express frustration with her. She is really saying that labor is so difficult right now that nothing helps. You are the safest person for her to lash out at. Later, she will probably apologize.”

Labor is an engaging and all demanding event.  There should be a rule that says, "Nothing said or done during labor can be held against you" When a birth partner understands this, they are able to set aside any momentary discomfort.  

A birth partner can assist during early labor by timing contractions.  Since changes in the length, strength, and frequency of contractions are the all-important hallmarks of true, progressing labor, it is a great idea to track.  Apps give you an easy and more accurate ability to time contractions.  

A birth partner can assist with hospital registration.  The book suggests,  “Preregister, which involves obtaining, reading, and signing pre-admission forms and a medical consent form. By registering in advance, you save time and avoid confusion when you arrive with the pregnant person in labor.”  

Penny Simkin also poses the question how long will labor last?  As a way to help birthers and their partners prepare.  "It is impossible to predict how long any particular labor will last. A perfectly normal labor can take between 2 and 24 hours following the hours or days of pre-labor."  

Understanding how labor progresses helps us manage expectations, and utilize different techniques for each of these 6 stages.  

1. The cervix softens (ripens).

2. The position of the cervix changes. The cervix points toward the mother’s back during most of pregnancy, then gradually moves forward.

3. The cervix thins and shortens (effaces). Usually about 1½ inches (or 3 to 4 centimeters) long, the cervix gradually shortens and becomes paper-thin.

4. The cervix opens (dilates). The opening (dilation) of the cervix is also measured in centimeters.  The cervix must open to approximately 10 centimeters (almost 4 inches) in diameter to allow the baby through.

5. The baby’s chin tucks onto his chest (this is called flexion) and his head rotates. The rotation makes it easier for the baby to pass through the birth canal.  The most favorable position for birth is usually the OA (occiput anterior) position.

6. The baby descends. The head continues to mold as necessary to fit and descends to the outside.  A zero station means the baby’s head is right at the mother’s mid-pelvis. Minus 1, 2, 3, or 4 means the head is that number of centimeters above the midfloatingpelvis. The greater the plus number, the closer the baby’s head is to the outside and to being born.

All 6 of these steps of labor progression cannot be bypassed, and an understanding of the terminology will allow greater confidence that your body is making progress.

The most useful topics in this book were how to support the mother's desired birth preferences, learn how to work with the delivery staff and how to provide support throughout.  It's the ultimate guide for mothers, birth coaches and doulas.  

Have you read this book?  Comment on our FaceBook page your take aways!

Book Review Presented by Sarah Ziroll

Sarah’s greatest joy is her family: her husband and boys.  In her free time, she loves escaping in a great book, “Sarahnading” on her violin, singing, creating crafts and diy projects, hiking the gorgeous mountains of Utah and skiing.  Sarah is a Birth Coach and Certified Birth Doula.  She’s had 3 amazing births and is passionate to help you achieve the birth of your dreams.  

The Birth Made Mindful Course provides additional ways your partner can offer the best support.  

Sarah Ziroll

Sarah Ziroll