It’s pretty much expected these days that your partner will be there for the birth of your baby. It’s almost a little odd if they aren’t.
As a childbirth educator and birth attendant, I have been present at many births and have witnessed a lot of interesting, shall we say, “support” techniques.
There was one time when the mother was having a contraction, moaning and making noises and the father kept turning up the volume on the TV (he was watching the footy), so he could drown out her heavy breathing techniques!!!
Or another time, when mum was on all fours letting us know how much her back was hurting and her partner kept complaining that his back was hurting from the gym! Support techniques that nearly ended in divorce.
So Mumma’s to be, if you are worried that your guy is not going to have any idea on what to do on game day – then here is a quick checklist of the top six ways in which your partner can support you in labour and ensure that your relationship will survive.
1. Bring the calm
Women are very sensitive to their environment in labour and if your partner is freaking out – you will feel it. The vibe needs to be calm. So if he is pacing the floor and feeling the need to chain smoke, tell him to go outside to calm down.
Many women prefer a dark intimate space to labour in, so get Dad onto the ambience. Keep lights turned down, play calm music and try to keep the room warm. Having a chilled out space will help everyone to stay more relaxed.
Depending on how you feel in labour, massage can either be amazing or absolutely horrendous. I’ve witnessed women purring with pleasure when you massaged them and others threatening to cut your hands off if you touch them again. Get your man to apply firm pressure on the lower back, as well as gentle touch on the shoulders and neck. Cold face washers on the forehead and back of the neck can also feel like bliss.
4. Know what’s normal
For most guys, reading lots of pregnancy books or doing a week-long workshop on birth isn’t usually high on the agenda. But it does pay to get your guy informed about what can happen in labour. Doing some sort of birth class at the hospital, with a private educator or even online will give him an understanding of what to expect. If he knows that tears, vomit, blood, sweating and poo-ing are all part of birthing a baby he is less likely to freak out.
Breathing deeply is one of the best tools you can use in whatever type of birth you are wanting. Whether you are having a spinal put in for a caesarean or just riding out those contractions, get your man to remind you to breathe – and breathe the right way. Forget the huffing and puffing that you see on TV, slow deep breaths are the way to go. In through the nose and out through your nose.
6. Love it Up
If your man really has no idea what to do at the birth, then tell him his job is to just love you. Oxytocin (the hormone that creates contractions) is known as the hormone of love. Women release this hormone when they feel loved – so the more he can love on you, the more oxytocin you will make, the calmer you will feel and the better the experience you are all going to have.
At the end of the day, giving birth is an intense experience and support is a key factor in making it a positive journey. If you’re on the same team and working together, then the path to the finish line is all that much sweeter.
How did your partner go in the deliver room?