Tips for dads and birth partners: Three essential, practical ways to support a labouring woman

Fathers and birth partners can feel overwhelmed supporting women during labour and delivery. Conversely, if a woman isn’t supported properly, birth can be an experience full of fear and pain.

A birth partner’s job is to make the experience as pain-free and heart-opening as possible. One way to do this is, of course, to get a doula to teach and support you through this process.

But for most partners, getting a doula doesn’t mean fleeing the scene (this is in fact not recommended by most doulas).  They still want to be there for their pregnant wives / friends / lovers. Birthing with your partner is an experience you will both remember for a long time and can positively or negatively influence your relationship. I will dedicate my next few posts to this topic. To start, here are the beautifully simple basics…

Essentials: peeing, hydration and physical comfort

A full bladder greatly increases the pain a labouring woman feels due to the added internal pressure on her organs. Additionally, being dehydrated causes contractions to worsen (think when you are exercising and you get a cramp due to dehydration). Finally, staying in one position too long can slow labour or stop it altogether (you do not want this to happen believe me).

Here’s the essential recipe

Every 30 mins:

  1. Support your partner to the bathroom (stopping to rest during any contractions).
  2. After she finishes peeing offer her water or juice (she can take it if she wants).
  3. Suggest two alternative positions to how she was labouring previously. For instance, if she was lying flat on the bed would she like to go for a walk or sit on the toilet and labour there for a while (sounds funny, but it can be a powerful way to speed labour and decrease pain).

Partners: watch the clock or set your cell phone to alarm every 30 mins (silently on vibrate in your pocket–don’t let your lady watch the clock…that is seldom helpful for her).

Look forward to more tips for partners in the next few days!

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