Birth workers have long known the importance of holding the space during a woman’s labor. The goal has always been to make sure she feels safe and able to be vulnerable, to give in to the waves of birth without judgement, and as little interference as possible. The benefits of letting her body guide her are numerous. Holding the space, however, does not end with the birth. It should continue on after the birth. This is the moment the family has been waiting for.
Allowing the mother, partner, and baby to adjust and become one is so important. There are physiological and emotional needs being met in that first hour. It is sometimes a struggle for the birth worker not to swoop in busily doing this and that. Really, what mom needs is a moment to allow her body and mind to adjust and take in what just happened. She is coming out of birthing mode. For some this may mean holding her baby and looking into baby’s eyes and others they may need time before connecting to baby both are fine. Ina May Gaskin wrote in her book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, of the first hour – “We have no routine that interfere with the euphoria that is present in the birth room…They are falling in love. We enjoy witnessing this process while being conscious not to interrupt it.”
Stepping into the background and letting the family’s natural rhythm unfold. Respecting and honoring that first hour is the best thing that those in the birth room can do for the family. As long as mom and baby are in good health, less interference is only for the best and can affect that family circle’s rhythm for the best for the long run.