Giving birth is a life changing event. It may be one of the most difficult things that you experience and because of that, women need a strong support team by their side. Building your support team is a very individualized process and should be what the birthing woman wants.
Building your birth team may take time to do so I encourage you to begin thinking about this between week 20-30 in your pregnancy. This will give you ample time to meet with your potential supports to ensure you are a good match. Your support team may include more or less people depending on where you give birth. You may have more flexibility if you have a birth outside of the hospital.
There may be people who are non-negotiable supports you would like in the room. This may include your partner, the baby's father, or your own mother. You may want these people present but they may not be the best at supporting you in the way you need. Again, birth is a big event that is unique. If your partner has not been at a birth before, they may not know how they will react. Some partners have a difficult time being the emotional support as they are trying to process the whole event themselves. If this is even a possibility, I encourage you to include other individuals who may have experience as birth support.
If you are giving birth in a hospital, the OB is often not present for much of the laboring portion of your birth. Because of this, they are not ones that should be relied upon for emotional support. They will be able to answer questions and concerns you may have but are not often available for long term labor support. They do offer a different type of support which is very needed.
Birth doula's are such a needed resource that are not utilized as often as they should be. Their job is specifically to emotionally support and care for the birthing woman. They are well equipped to help the birthing woman with positions, encouragement, breathing techniques, and advocacy. They can also help the partner to feel involved in the best way they can be. Having a birth doula ensures that the mother has the emotional support she will absolutely need.
Some people may choose to include a massage therapist present during their birth. Some birth doulas also have training in massage therapy. This can offer another layer of comfort measures during their birth experience.
Acupuncturists are most often utilized at a home or birth center birth rather than in a hospital. They may be included as a pain management measure. The birth mother may choose to include an acupuncturist for most of the birth or to come in for a short time to help with pain management of the heightened time.
Your birth support team is up to you. There are some clients who discuss a family member wanting to be at the birth or their partner requesting someone to be at the birth. It is crucial for the birthing person to include who she wants at her birth and those people only. The birthing experience is incredibly vulnerable to exposing experience and it is crucial for the mother to be in control of who witnesses this journey with her. If you have a mother or mother-in-law that wants to be included without your support, those mothers need to respectfully not be there. Your support team is up to you and you alone. If you need assistance setting boundaries with people who want to be included that you don't feel comfortable with, I encourage you to reach out for assistance from a therapist or your partner to set a strong boundary in this matter.