It is up to Mom to do all the work during labor, but Dad still has a big role to play in the delivery room.
If this is your first baby, you are undoubtedly feeling uncertain about what you’re supposed to do in there. Labor is intense and can be overwhelming so your partner will benefit immensely having you next to her.
With any luck, you’ve participated in a few birthing classes and have been taught a thing or two about what to do in the delivery room. Its easy to get overwhelmed by the experience. To help you out, here are 20 tips to ensure you are a useful presence while your partner is in labor.
#1. Stay Calm.
In order to support your partner, you need to be alert, calm and comfortable. Remember that labor can be minutes or many hours long and that the doctors’ and nurses’ first priority is the health and well-being of the mother and baby. Work with them to help your partner go through labor easier.
#2. Know what she wants.
Do you know your partner’s birth plan? Do you know what a birth plan is? Your partner may be unable to ask questions or fully discuss her needs while she’s in labor. Be informed.
#3. Time contractions.
Contractions are timed in two ways:
- From the start of one contraction to the start of the next.
- The length of the contraction from beginning to the end.
As labor progresses, contractions get longer. The longer the contraction, the higher the pain level. Your care provider will need to know about your partners contractions to help determine how far their labor has progressed.
#4. Provide positivity.
Support is not the same as sympathy. Let your partner know that she’s doing well and that it’ll be over soon. When it becomes intense (and it will) try providing some physical relief such as a back rub or cold compress.
#5. Take a break.
The last thing anyone needs is for you to be stressed, tired, or snapping at the doctors and nurses. Take a break if you feel under pressure and get some food and water. If you procured the services of a doula, let them take over at your partner’s side.
#6. Help relieve tense muscles.
Labor is characterized by the contraction and release of the pelvic muscles. This action causes the baby to move down the birth canal. During this process, other muscles get tense and cause labor pains to intensify. Stroke your partners muscles to help them relax and ease discomfort. A massage also helps keep your partner warm.
#7. Offer hot and cold compresses.
Heat and cold are invaluable during labor. Wipe your partners face, help her tie her hair, rub her feet-whatever she needs to feel comfortable in the delivery room.
#8. Remind your partner to drink water.
Encourage your partner to drink water and urinate often. Staying hydrated during labor helps to make contractions less painful.
#9. Protect her space.
The pain involved during labor will make your partner turn inwards and not want any outside interference. It feels like an intrusion to have non-essential people around you when giving birth. When labor starts to progress, it’s your job to keep conversations and onlookers to a minimum. If you need to make a medical decision, ask for a few minutes alone with your partner to give her time to think.
#10. Offer suggestions.
It is important for women to have control over the birth process. Do not force solutions or make decisions without her input. Provide her with all the information possible and allow her to make her decision.
#11. Let her lean on you physically.
Remember those last few weeks of pregnancy when she couldn’t get up without help? In the delivery room, she may need you even more. Help your partner stand, sit, move or even rock if necessary during labor.
#12. Don’t comment on anything shocking that happens.
Labor can be very disturbing, especially the first time around. There may be pooping or puking during pushing, or extreme shakes or heavy bleeding. Whatever happens in the delivery room, hold your tongue.
#13. Know what is required after labor.
After giving birth, your partner will be very tired but at the same time excited to see the baby. She will need to breastfeed, birth the placenta if she hasn’t already, and maybe get stitches or some other form of medical care. Your support is crucial now.
The first thing your baby needs is to be held by its mom and breastfeed. Your partner will be worn out at this stage. It’s up to you to make sure this happens. Ask for a few minutes alone with your family after the birth. Ideally, Baby should remain on Mom’s chest for an hour after delivery. Tell the doctors and nurses any cleaning or weighing can wait.
Was your father in the delivery room when you were born? Would you like to be in the room for your baby’s birth?
First published at: www.trimestertalk.com