1. Be your voice
Sometimes you're too busy with the actual business of giving birth to be able to communicate your wishes to the medical team supporting you. Make sure your birth partner is familiar with your birth preferences so they can speak up if you're otherwise engaged.
2. Help with the equipment
There is quite a lot of kit in a delivery room, so whether it's the gas and air or the birthing ball make sure your birth partner knows how these things are used so they can help you with them.
3. Be informed
Things can move fast during your baby's birth, so make sure your birth partner is fully briefed on the mechanics of labour and birth. If options are suddenly needed such as assisted delivery or caesarean, they should know what these terms mean-and what your feelings on them are too.
4. Be your personal masseur
A back rub, a foot massage or a head massage can all help release a special brand of endorphins which will help with the sensations of labour. They can practice these in pregnancy as well as during birth!
5. Be a comforter
From helping with breathing techniques to calming you, your birth partner is there to provide emotional as well as practical support. Joining a hypnobirthing course can help both of you build your confidence in working together to achieve a positive birth.
6. Be entertaining
Keeping you amused and entertained during labour is a great gift. Make sure your birth partner has books and magazines for you to read or have them bring a tablet or a laptop-and don't forget the charger!
7. Be the photographer
Discuss beforehand how much of the birth you feel comfortable sharing. Once you have agreed the ground rules, your birth partner can document the labour and birth with photos or video. Even if only you two ever see them, it is a wonderful moment to look back on.
8. Step up
Cutting the cord is something you might want your birth partner to do. You may also want them to be the first person to hold your newborn. These are great moments.
9. Be the announcer
Once your baby has ben born, your birth partner can be the one to phone close family and friends to tell them the happy news.
10. Be the runner
If you decide not to have visitors for a few days and just enjoy your baby, your birth partner can be the one to dash out for anything you need/want. Building your relationship with your baby in the early hours and days is your priority!