A birth partner can be a sexual partner, parent, friend or neighbour - the key is that you bring someone you trust. Having a team around you that makes you feel safe and supported throughout birth isn't just nice to have. Although they can't get the baby out for you (🙄), they can absolutely make real changes - such as reducing pain - to get you that positive experience.
That's right, research suggests that having a supportive birth partner can seriously up the oxytocin in your body, decrease the use of epidurals and medical intervention, and ultimately result in shorter labours. Now that's one powerful foot rub.
In all seriousness, the role of a birth partner does include giving massages, reminding you to eat and drink, and possibly becoming a temporary DJ who specialises in whale song. But it's so much more than that. A birth partner is there to breathe with you, encourage you and, most importantly, advocate for you and your birth wishes throughout the twists and turns of labour.