“I’m out of here!” or “I’ll never forgive you for doing this to me!”
Mom might not be her sweetest self when the contractions are the most painful. So being her birth partner might not be that fun all the time. But it may also be one of your most intense and fantastic experiences if the two of you manage to work together. And one of your most important roles so far in life.
Just tagging along as the dad is not even near enough. But if dad is engaged, informed and supportive the childbirth can tie you together, helping each other with the birth of your child.
Here are some essential tips for dad when you are finally on your way to meet your brand new daughter or son.
Tips For Dad During Childbirth
Know what you should expect
Dad, you don’t want anything to be a surprise. Make sure you know what to expect. Know what true labor is and be familiar with all the stages of labor. This information will enable you to be more helpful during the childbirth.
If you are the reading kind of person, I can highly recommend the book The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions.
This book will give all details and explanations you may need to really get to know what to expect and how you can support the woman giving birth.
Learn how to time contractions
Many people go to the hospital too early, which can be quite demotivating. A few go too late, but that is a lot less common for first time parents.
Know how to time contractions. You take the time from the end of one contraction to the start of the next. Once they get to five minutes apart or less, then it’s about time to think about making the trip to the hospital. A good thing is to call the hospital and discuss with the midwives there. When you should go of course also depends on how far you are from the hospital, if there is a risk of traffic jam etc.
Don’t take anything personally (Really)
Labor is different for every woman, but it is quite a job (like a marathon, only you can’t drop out and it is a lot more painful…) and mom may be irritable. You never know what she will and won’t like during this time. If she “bites” your head off or gets irritated with you, don’t take it personally.
I know several moms who have yelled things like “Why did you do this to me? I hate you!” and tried to simply leave the room. This says nothing about you or her – it only shows that the labor pain is unbearable for her right now.
Become her advocate
While a woman is in labor, she is not always able to make good decisions. Know ahead of time what she wants so that you can be her advocate if she needs one.
Let the doctors know about her wishes, and do everything possible to keep her comfortable during the childbirth.
Keep mom relaxed and focused
As dad, it is your duty to keep mom relaxed and focused. Remind her on techniques from the classes you took to help her stay focused. Give her a back rub or foot rub to help her out. Breathe together with her if it helps her. Offer her liquid. Tell her over and over again that she is a hero and that you love her. (If she doesn’t smack your face when you say it, of course.) The more relaxed and focused she is, the easier the labor and delivery will be for her.
Video tips from dad to dad about your role during labor
Here are some humorous been-there-done-that tips from dads to dads on how to act (and not) during labor and delivery.
The first video is about the Delivery Day – D Day – some things to think about.
And here are five really useful tips for dad during delivery. These will definitely make you a more popular birth partner!
And finally… Five things to not say in the delivery room… Can you guess which? (Don’t miss these!)
Now that you are prepared with tips for dad during childbirth, you’ll be better able to take care of mom while she does the hard work.
Good luck! And if you have any tips or experiences you would like to share on the topic, please leave a comment below!