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How to use your support team

How to use your support team

Are you pregnant and inundated with offers of support? Lucky you! If you’re unsure how to use your support team or simply unsure what support, you may need in the coming months – we’ve put together a helpful list for you so that you can make use of all your kind family and friends.

Pregnancy Support

There are lots of ways that your loved ones can support you through your pregnancy, primarily your main support person.

Your main support person will likely be your partner, a close loved one or a close friend, but there is also professional support for you to lean on and learn from during your pregnancy, like Obstetricians, GP’s, Nurses and Midwives (depending on your pregnancy and postpartum care options).

During your pregnancy, your support person can:

  • Assist you to take a break and rest if you are tired, suffer from morning sickness or have a complicated pregnancy.
  • Support you around the home by taking on more household chores like cooking or cleaning.
  • Offering to look after your other child/ren so you can take a break.
  • Reading books on pregnancy and newborns to feel more involved.
  • Going to your antenatal appointments and any classes with you.
  • Helping you to formulate, talking about and understanding your birth plan.
  • Help you to stock up on what you need for your hospital bag and life with a newborn, like newborn nappies and clothes for bubs and maternity clothes and postpartum nappies for you.

Labour Support

Having a support partner or team during labour and childbirth offers many benefits to you and your baby. These include the potential reduction in the length of labour, decreasing the chance of requiring an assisted delivery (ie the use of forceps or a c-section), decreasing pain as well as giving you a boost in confidence.

Your support person or team will likely be made up of your life partner or the other options detailed above, but if your primary support person works away, it’s a good idea to have a backup person just in case.

During your labour and birth, it is important that your support person or team can give you the support that you need. This may include:

  • Being encouraging and comforting
  • Helping to guide your breathing
  • Giving you water, ice, and snacks
  • Holding your hand, wiping your face, and massaging you
  • Helping you to bath/shower
  • Physically supporting you to move into and hold some birth positions
  • Being your advocate and communicating what you need to the maternity team
  • Updating family members (if you wish)

Some public or private hospitals and birth centres limit how many support people you can have with you, so it’s a good idea to ask how many support people you can have prior to childbirth.

Postpartum support

After you have given birth there are a lot of ways that both your immediate support person as well as extended family and friends can help to support you in both your recovery and life with a newborn.

For your primary support person they can help by:

  • Sitting with you while you learn to breastfeed.
  • Give you lots of emotional support.
  • Settling, feeding if applicable and taking the baby for walks.
  • Looking after other children.
  • Taking on more household chores.

For your extended support system there are lots of ways that they can help, some of which you may not have thought of. You can even give them this list so that you don’t need to tell them!

  • Dropping off food or organising others to drop off food. No cooking or meal prep is very helpful when you haven’t had a lot of sleep.
  • Running errands like grocery shopping or picking up nappies.
  • Doing the household chores like emptying and filling the dishwasher or vacuuming.
  • Don’t let them stay too long visiting (unless they watch the baby for you to get a sleep). You need your rest.
  • If you have older children, your extended support team could take them out for the day, giving you quality bonding time with your newborn.
  • If you are comfortable with it, ask a trusted person to do a night shift or two so that you can get a solid sleep.

Being pregnant, going through labour and having a newborn at home is hard work. If you feel that you can use the support offered to you, please do! After all, they say it takes a village to raise a child – so use that village if they offer. If no one offers and you need the support, don’t be afraid to ask for the help that you need.

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