How Daddy Becomes The Perfect Birthing Partner

For fathers-to-be the preparation for birth and labour can be an anxious time. Many men find it hard to see their loved one in pain and feel helpless as they cannot take the pain away. As a prospective father there is so much you can do to help your partner and be the rock she needs you to be. You can look forward to an incredible journey which will result in the experience of a lifetime. Ask your partner how she wants things to be when she goes into labour. Plan together so that you are prepared to let the midwife know what your partner wants. If you have put together a birth plan make sure you take it with you to the hospital. It will really help you when you are talking to the hospital staff as you will know what you can agree to and what to refuse. Read up in good time. Once your partner is in labour there will not be any time for flicking through birth manuals! Go to antenatal classes together so you get the basic knowledge of labour and birth. Each labour is different and what works for one woman may not work for another. As a well-prepared birthing partner you will be able to use your own initiative to work out what might work for your partner and what will not during labour. Having talked about what your partner’s wishes and expectations are in good time before the birth you should be in a good place to be able to make decisions if you need to during the labour. Your partner will have a bag packed for her. You will need one too. Make sure you have comfortable shoes as you may be pacing those corridors with your partner during her contractions. You may be up all night so some clean clothes to change into will help you feel refreshed. Take some snacks and lots of water to drink. If you and your partner are using a birth pool remember your swimming shorts as your partner might want you to go in with her. Be prepared for what is usually a lengthy labour. Your partner may need you to rub her feet, squeeze her hand or help her to concentrate on a focus point. You will help her find a distraction to focus on during contractions. You will be her most valuable emotional support and she needs you now more than ever. Get her anything she wants so be prepared for lots of trips to the cafeteria! Be aware of your limits during the process of birth and labour. Know what you want to leave to the professionals. Be open-minded and prepared for surprises as all labours are unique. You and your partner have prepared for this day together and only you really know what her wishes are. Be confident in making decisions if she gets to a point where she is unable to. Lastly, remember to be patient. Labour is a long and hard process. The wait is worth it when you see your child for the first time. The surge of love you feel is unlike anything else you will have experienced. By Eirian Hallinan