There are several things the father of the child can do to help during the process of labor but one of the most important is to act as the advocate for the woman during the labor and delivery. As well as providing support and care to your wife or partner, let’s consider how you can help when the awaited day finally comes.
Know the Birth Plan
The father should be aware of and have a copy of the birth plan, having discussed what the mother ideally wants and should include such things as whether or not the mother wants an epidural. While the woman is coping with one of the most emotional moments of her life, it is important that the father is acting not only as her advocate ensuring that her wishes are followed, but also to give support to his partner.
As the father, you need to remain calm and be able to encourage and support the mother of your child. To this end it will be most helpful if you have gone through the birthing classes together because this will make the whole experience less mystifying or intimidating on the day and thus greatly assist the mother as she gives birth. Ideally, try to learn about the stages of labor and what to expect and be aware that a C-section may become necessary. Knowing all the information will help you to stay calm and help you to support and encourage the mother during delivery, especially if the mother is panicking. There is always the possibility that unexpected complications may occur and in these moments it is important for you to stay serene and to keep the mother calm.
The process of labor can take a long time so you should be prepared for that and it is a good idea to pack snacks and drinks for yourself and the mother. Another thoughtful idea is to bring music, books or other activities to help both of you relax and being dressed in comfortable clothes with comfortable shoes will assist in this area too, especially as you might also be called upon to help walk with your partner as the labor progresses.
You can also help the mother when she is having her contractions since you will be able to see the monitor that will show when they arrive and follow their progress to assist when they are at their strongest. You need to be sensitive to the woman’s needs as the labor progresses. Some mothers like to have massages, but others may not and find physical contact irritating. It is probably best to see what she wants at the time and remember just because the birth class suggested something does not mean the woman will want it at the time, or even find that helpful.Finally, the help when it’s time to push, by supporting the mother’s body physically, can be of great value. The doctor and midwife can guide you with how to best help, possibly by holding the woman’s leg at some stage during the birth process and of course by giving plenty of verbal encouragement and praise.If an epidural is necessary, then there will not be too much for her to do during the first stages of labor, which is when you should be prepared to give her things to do such as reading or listening to music. Essentially, there is plenty that the father can do to support the mother and even the small things such as giving her ice chips or wiping her brow when it becomes sweaty will be much appreciated and make the father feel involved at this most exciting time.