Labor and Delivery for Dads
1. Don’t Rush to the Hospital. If you go to the hospital too soon they are liable to send you home. It is much more comfortable to have your own bed to rest in; she can walk around unfettered to an IV and she can even play some music and be comfortable.
2. Educate Yourself. Make sure you pay attention during those birthing classes so you know what the different stages of labor are; otherwise you won’t know when to take her to the hospital. Know what is happening to your wife’s body during each stage.
3. Prepare for the Wait. Your wife will probably have many hours of uncomfortable labor before she is ready to push and have the baby. Many women like to walk the halls because it is more comfortable. Make sure you are wearing relaxing clothes and really comfortable shoes. Don’t forget to bring something to distract her. A deck of cards, your IPod, whatever you think will do the trick.
4. Don’t Fret. There will be a lot going on in the delivery room. If you don’t know what is going on, don’t be afraid to ask. Also, you may be asked to leave for a short time if your wife is getting an epidural. Don’t worry this is normal.
5. Assist in Monitoring the Contractions. Your wife won’t be able to see the monitor that tells you when one is starting, at its peak and when it is ending. Talk to her and tell her what is going on. For example, you might say “Ok honey, another one is coming come on now we can do it, alright it's almost over, hang in there. Good job, what a trooper you are.” Helping her by talking her through it will make it a lot easier on her.
6. Aim to Please. Every women is different as to what she wants done while she is in labor. Some women will want you to massage her and other won’t want you to touch her at all. Remember all those breathing exercises you learned in your birthing class? Some women won’t want to try them out and others will. Whatever you do make sure it is something your wife is OK with.
7. Help Her Push. If your partner pushes when she is on her back you should be in back of her supporting her on one side (someone will help on the other). Support her back and place her leg in the proper position.
8. Be Her Advocate. You and your wife have talked about how she wanted to have the baby before this day. You’ve discussed how she wants to have the baby; you know that she does not want a C-Section. You have talked about how she feels about drugs. Now here she is in having the baby and she is in some awful pain and she is yelling for pain medicine. Support her, remind her of what she wanted and try to help her make it through the birth the way she wanted. Don’t let the doctors decide for her what she wants. Be her advocate and speak up for her.
9. Enjoy the Baby. When the baby arrives you both will be so surprised at how you feel. The feeling is inexplicable. What a joyous moment to sit back and enjoy.