What are the things to know about childbirth for dads-to-be? There are so many ways you can help, assist and encourage your partner on their journey to childbirth, but attending a childbirth education class with them is by far one of the best. These classes are held all over the place these days and chances are you won’t be far from a regular session that fits your schedule.
However, prior to signing up and attending you can do yourself and your partner a big favor by tooling up on a little key knowledge beforehand – what follows is a brief guide to help manage your expectations and understanding of the process.
Things to Know About Childbirth for Dads-to-Be: Before Birth
1. Quit Smoking
If you’re a smoker, you’re creating a ton of second hand smoke that could be potentially lethal to both your partner and your child. It is incredibly selfish to smoke around pregnant women, children or any non-smokers at all – there’s no better time to quit and no excuse whatsoever for not doing so.
2. Curb Drinking
Both you and your partner should be doing your very best to stay away from alcohol. Not only will her drinking detrimentally affect the health of your child, but you yourself need to have your wits about you and be able to think and act with 100% competence at the drop of a hat. After all – how are you going to rush her to the delivery room after a few beers?
3. Make Plans for the baby
Talk about the plans you have for the baby with your partner before he or she arrives. Think about things like where you’ll keep the crib, what colors you’ll decorate the nursery in, what toys you’ll buy and so on – all of which will keep the both of you as excited and positive as can be during the delivery process.
4. Go with Your Partner to Her Preconception and Prenatal Visits
It’s important for the healthcare staff taking care of your partner to know about your own health as well as hers. What’s more, it’s a good idea to get to know all those that will be involved in the delivery to make the whole process much more comfortable and unintimidating.
And if you think of any questions you’d like to ask prior to delivery, write them all down as chances are you’ll forget most of them when things start kicking off!
5. Encourage Her to Eat Healthily
Keep an eye on your partner’s diet during early labor and proactively encourage her to drink plenty of fluids, including non-acidic fruit juices and herbal teas. She might not feel like eating, but unless the doctor has advised otherwise you should offer something simple and easy to digest to keep her strengths up, like yogurts or simple breads, for example. Click here to learn all you need to know about pregnancy diet.
Things to Know About Childbirth for Dads-to-Be: During and After Birth
1. Pack things needed
When the due date begins creeping closer, it’s a good idea to have everything you could possibly need on standby and ready to go. Pack a bag with all the essentials and home comforts your partner will need, not forgetting the camera to capture the magic as it happens. Click Pack Your Labor Bag part to learn the full list of things to pack for hospital.
2. Know the Signs of Labor
It’s imperative that you know exactly when your partner is going into labor, as this is when you’ll need to seek and obtain the necessary help for delivery of the child. Contractions can indicate labor but often turn out to be false, so you’ll need to also keep a look out for signs for true labor like:
- Lower Back Pain. Ongoing pain in the lower back that feels like premenstrual pain can be a sign of imminent labor.
- Water Breaking. This usually occurs after labor contractions have begun, but sometimes happens before. This is where the amniotic sac bursts and triggers anything from a steady trickle to a huge gush of fluid. In all cases, delivery will either occur imminently or must be induced.
- Contractions. If contractions become persistent and gradually increase in strength, this is a strong signal of labor.
- Passing Mucus Plug. Passing the mucus plug usually indicates that labor is a few days or so away, but is an important sign that delivery will take place very soon.
3. Know Which Contractions Stand for True Labor
Once you know how to correctly time and measure the frequency of contractions, you’ll be in a much better position to know the difference between labor and false labor. You’ll need a timer with an accurate second hand in order to time the gap between the start of one contraction and the start of the next. In addition, you need to note how many of these contractions happen in the space of a minute.
If the contractions and painful, regular and lasting a full half-minute or so, there’s a good chance your partner is indeed in early labor. At this stage, you should contact your doctor or midwife for advice on when to travel to the place of delivery.
If her contractions are happening more than once every five minutes, go on for at least 30 seconds and continue for a full hour, this generally means the time has come to head for the hospital. Again, speak to your doctor or midwife immediately if unsure.
4. Get Ready for the Wait
Labor can go on for hours or even days – you’ll need to be prepared for as long as it takes. Your partner may spend an extensive period of time in pain, she may need to be assisted when walking and she’ll undoubtedly need distracting and entertaining. Bring as many home comforts and conveniences along as you see fit – DVDs, games, laptops and so on – and do your best to keep her positive throughout.
5. Be an Advocate for Your Partner
It might be up to the doctor and the midwife to take care of the medical side of things, but when it comes to the general comfort and happiness of your partner, this is where you yourself have to step up. Make the delivery room feel like home with a few familiar comforts, take along some of her favorite music and perhaps get rid of some of that sterile hospital smell with some air fresheners, which is after asking permission, of course.
Be her rock and fulfil her every whim – she’ll need you 100% in her corner to get through it all.