7 Helpful Tips for Dads During Labor
When we think of childbirth and labor, we automatically think that it’s solely the mom’s responsibility to get the job done. But it’s not!
At Birthing is a Blessing, we believe that dads also play a huge role, if not an equal one. They are there to support their partners to the best of their ability and more.
For all those excited first-time fathers, here are some simple tips that will help you out during this beautiful moment that is childbirth.
1. The best way for you to help your partner is if you act as the guardian of her birthing place and not as a labor coach.
Make sure that you keep your partner calm and confident all throughout labor. If she’s feeling scared, make sure you find a way to erase this feeling! Feeling frightened or judged during labor increases your partner’s catecholamine release, a stress hormone that slows the process of labor.
To help your partner stay focused and relaxed, suggest to her different childbirth coping techniques, drawing on the methods you've both learned in The Birth Basics Workshop.
2. A constant release of the natural hormone, oxytocin, is necessary for your partner’s labor to progress.
If your partner’s catecholamine release has to go down, her oxytocin release has to increase in turn because this helps ease labor. Make your partner feel safe and secure by maintaining privacy, dim lights, and silence during childbirth.
Another way to do this is making your partner feel loved and beautiful during labor. This also increases her oxytocin release. Try to make her labor one of the most romantic moments in your relationship. Acts like hugging, kissing, and doing nipple stimulation during labor increases your partner’s oxytocin release. So enjoy!
3. Remember that familiarity and comfort are very important for your birthing partner.
Having a comfortable environment during labor decreases her stress levels so prepare for the ambiance of her birthing place.
For familiarity, you may plan a tour of her chosen birthing place beforehand. Seeing familiar faces and being surrounded by caring people during labor will also help. Let her meet her birth support team in advance and ensure that she is assisted by supportive interactions.
4. Be your partner’s advocate.
A laboring woman is not always in the best condition to make hard decisions or assertive requests so be ready to step in if the situation calls for it.
Ask questions. Medical professionals should but don't always explain what they're doing and whether it's mandatory. Don't be shy about seeking out information, especially if your partner is not up to asking questions herself.
5. Don’t take anything that happens during labor personally.
As her labor progresses, your partner may become more outwardly irritable and may snap at you at times. It’s important that you don’t misconstrue her behavior as a rejection of you.
Also, unlike in the movies, most women labor for hours before they even go to the hospital so be ready to wait and be very patient with your partner.
6. Be like a boy scout: Prepare well.
You may be spending the night at the hospital so don't forget to pack some things for yourself. Bring a sustaining snack as well, but one with no strong odors so as to not distract your partner.
Expectant dads sometimes join their partners in the tub or shower. If you think you might do this, pack a bathing suit.
7. Just be present––physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
This is one of those events in which showing up is the most important thing of all. Even if you’re leaving most of the hands-on stuff to the pros, your presence matters.
And no matter how you really feel, project a sense of confidence and calm reassurance: "You're doing great! Everything's going fine." There'll be time for you to unravel later.