Ideally your birth partner will be:
Birth is a demanding experience, so you need someone who can handle the highs and lows, and not take it personally if you snap at them.
Would your husband or mum get upset seeing you in pain during labour, or your best friend panic if there was an emergency?
Discuss any concerns with your birth partner long before your due date.
Your birth partner needs to know what labour involves, pain relief options and ways they can help you cope, such as massaging your back.
Going to antenatal classes, reading books and magazines (like Prima Baby
!) and spending time on websites like Baby Expert will give them a good idea of what to expect.
ABLE TO SPEAK ON YOUR BEHALF:
Discuss your wishes with your birth partner as they may need to speak up on your behalf during labour if you are not able to.
Ideally, your birth partner would be a trained masseuse, counsellor, waitress and diplomat - with a good sense of humour! What you most need however, is a birth partner who is practical and hands-on.
ENTHUSIASTIC AND AVAILABLE:
Have an honest chat and make sure your potential birth partner really does want to be there, and will keep your spirits up and encourage you when the going gets tough. They'll also need to be available - and able to be there for you at shot notice.