A Dad's Role in Labor and Delivery

The time you’ve been waiting for is finally here.  Your partner is in labor, the birth of your child imminent.  While the majority of the burden is put on her during labor and delivery, there are things you can do to help in the process.  Labor can be a scary experience; just by being there, you can be the support she needs during a time when she might feel out of control.  Below are five ways you can help as a dad during labor and delivery.

  1. Be prepared.  Just as a mother “nests”, so should a father.  Take childbirth classes with your partner, read pregnancy books, research online.  Learn about the Dad to be checklist.  The more you know ahead of time, the better you can help when the day finally comes.
  2. Know the signs of labor.  Late in pregnancy, the mother-to-be can experience contractions.  These may be signs of false labor, however, so it is important to know other symptoms to confirm it is true labor.  Water breaking, persistent lower back pain or contractions at regular intervals are all signs of labor.
  3. Advocate for her.  Once you are certain she’s in labor, it’s time to take an even more active role.  Since mother-to-be will be occupied, it’s your job to understand her wishes.  Be well-informed of her birth plan, articulate her needs when she is unable to speak for herself. 
  4. Offer distractions.  Labor can be a long, tedious process.  You could spend hours doing nothing.  As her partner, it is your job to keep her occupied, offering several diversions.  Music, puzzles, games and conversation are all good ways to keep her busy throughout labor. 
  5. Provide unending support.  There are several meanings behind this tip.  A woman can get quite panicky during labor.  As her labor partner, you are the best person suited to get her breathing back on track.  Conversely, she could become bad-tempered and annoyed by the slightest action.  It is important to remember to not take it personally, to allow her to manage her labor as she has to.  If she has hurt your feelings, you can ask a nurse to take over so you can take a break.  

While the birth of your baby is indeed a miracle, it is not necessarily without its trials and tribulations. You may have some fears yourself as an expectant father. Keeping a level head, preparing for the unexpected and helping make decisions for the both of you are all ways you can be her champion on the biggest day of your lives together – the wondrous birth of your child.     

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