Read as much as you can. Try:
The Birth Partner
The Doula Book
Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn
Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth
Birth Videos. Try Gentle Birth Choices or Birth Into Being.
TV Birth Shows – pay attention to how they may be overly medicalized.
Attend Prenatal or Childbirth Preparation Classes.
Talk to Birth Advocates, Midwives, Doulas and progressive Doctors.
Spend some time pondering your own philosophy and beliefs about childbirth and labor.
Think about the birth that you would want to have.
Think about the person you are supporting.
Talk to the pregnant woman about her wishes for the birth.
What is absolutely important to her at the birth?
What is no big deal to her?
What does she see as your role at the birth and what does she wants you to be specifically responsible for? (i. e. are you to take the pictures? What does she want pictures of?)
This is her birth, not yours.
She will remember your support forever.
Small kindnesses make a big difference to a laboring woman.
Nothing replaces the gift of an experienced Doula. That said, not every woman has access to one. Try to think like a Doula and help her attain the birth she desires.
Sarah Hilbert-West is a Childbirth Educator, Birth Doula, Breastfeeding Counsellor and Post-Partum Depression Support Group Facilitator. She owns and operates http://www.birthwares.com , offering birth stools, unique teaching aids and useful resources for childbirth educators, doulas, parents, and midwives.
http://www.birthwares.com - the site for YOU!