Discuss the birth plan.,
Put together a hospital bag.,
Maintain open communication.,
Provide reassurance and pain relief.,
Advocate for the mom and baby.,
Provide support that keeps you comfortable.
The uncertainty of childbirth can scare women and men. There may be an explicit birth plan for the labor and delivery and newborn’s aftercare. Discussing the birth plan with the baby’s mother in the days before the delivery can help you best support and advocate for her and the baby during birth.Talk about things such as:
Her preferences on the place and positions in which she’d like to birth the baby
Her preferences on your role in the birth
Any fears or expectations she has
Her preferences for pain relief
Her feelings about medical procedures such as an episiotomy, or IV-hydration
Any clothes or other things such as a TV she wants to make her comfortableHer feelings about having a forceps, vacuum-assistance, or a C-section, if necessary
, In the weeks before the birth, pack yourself bag of things you, the mother, and your baby need in the hospital. Try to include things such as:A copy of the birth plan
Comfortable clothing and footwear, including a change of clothes
Personal items including bathing products or pillowsClothing and diapers for your baby
Insurance cards and drivers’ licenses.Car seat
, Having an open line of communication during labor and delivery can help ease any discomfort, pain, or tension during birth. Provide as much support as the baby’s mother needs. You might consider soothing messages such as, “You can do this,” to help relax and distract her. Open communication also allows you to advocate for her if necessary.Tell jokes only as necessary. During the early stages of labor this may be fine, but as she progresses, she may not find them funny., Labor is an intense experience. The stress from birth can make pain worse. If the baby’s mother allows, offer a gentle touch, embrace, light massage, or some reassurance. This can convey a message that reduces pain and makes mom—and you– feel better.Touch or massage lightly an areas she may have pain. You can lightly or firmly stroke, kneed, or apply deep pressure as long the baby’s mom is comfortable.
Provide reassurance as much as you can. A simple, “You’re doing great,” or, “I know you’re in pain, but you’ve got this,” can do a lot to help her push through the pain of labor.
, Doctors, midwives, and doulas are available during birth to ensure that mom and baby are doing well. But you also have a significant role in ensuring their wellbeing and communicating any of the mom’s wishes. There may also be cases when she can’t give her wishes, so you would need to step up and communicate them for her.Remind anyone attending the birth about the birth plan. You can reinforce this by saying things such as, “I know you think forceps are necessary, but we discussed this earlier today, and she is very opposed to a forceps delivery,” or, “She really doesn’t want any pain medication unless there is a medical necessity.”
Make the best decision you can in case of emergency. For example, an episiotomy may be the safest procedure to deliver the baby, even if mom doesn’t want it. If she is not able to communicate, make the decision that she would want in this type of situation. If she is able to communicate, gently explain to her that your goal is to keep her and your baby healthy and this is the safest decision towards that goal.
, Birth is a very physical process that may make some men uncomfortable. Part of providing the best support is that you are also comfortable. Only participate in the birth in ways that make you comfortable. Explain any of your concerns about blood, fainting, or cutting the umbilical cord, which can help you relax and provide the best support for your baby and its mother.Remember that there are no rules about how you participate. You can choose to catch the baby once it is born, cut the umbilical cord, or watch the actual delivery if you wish. You might even choose to not be in the delivery room because you are so nervous. If this happens, make sure your baby’s mom has someone who can support her through the birth process.