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Happy Pregnancy

How Dads Can Be Supportive During Labor

by Sherry Lee 02 Mar 2023

Labor and delivery can be a very scary experience for both moms and dads. However, if you can learn how to support your partner during labour, it can make the experience easier.

You can learn how to be supportive during labour by taking a birthing class and talking to other dads who have gone through this process before you. You can also get a doula, who will act as your coach during the birthing process.

Provide lots of verbal encouragement

Provides Lots Of Verbal Encouragement

One of the most important things a birth partner can do is provide lots of verbal encouragement. Whether it's words of praise, a hug or just holding her hand - women need to know they are doing well.

As labour progresses and contractions become stronger, dad can offer mom more physical support. This might include helping her move around the room or changing positions so she feels more comfortable.

Mum-to-be might also benefit from being coached in breathing techniques, yoga or other relaxation methods. These can be particularly helpful during active labor and transition labour, where her pain might be intensifying.

A new study has found that continuous support during labour was associated with improved outcomes for mums-to-be and babies. Ultimately, the aim is to create a positive birth experience that allows mums-to-be to bond with their newborn and feel confident as new parents.

It's important to note that no two births are the same. Sometimes a birth may be rushed, or there might be an unexpected medical situation that changes the course of the birth. Regardless, it's important that you remain flexible and open-minded about how to best support your partner during labour.

Be aware of your hygiene

Be Aware of Your Hygene

Keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to prevent illness and keep you feeling your absolute best. Washing your hands regularly will help you avoid the most common bacterial infections, including colds and flu.

Hygiene is often equated with hand washing but it goes beyond the basics and can be a science. For example, using the right soap can help you avoid skin irritation and reduce your risk of contracting colds or flu.

Teaching your kids the right way to do things is essential for a healthy future, and one of the first things you should teach them is how to maintain good hygiene. For instance, you should make it a point to brush their teeth twice a day and wash their face before bed.

To ensure they learn the proper way, you should let them see you do it so you can demonstrate the best practices. It is also important to explain the benefits of good hygiene in terms your kids can understand. By the time you’ve sent them off to college or the workforce, they will be in a better position to make the appropriate hygienic decisions on their own.

Wear comfortable clothing

Wear Comfortable Clothing

Your body is going through a lot during labor, and wearing comfortable clothing will keep you feeling at ease. It will also help the birthing team have easy access to your genital area and belly for things like IVs, epidurals, fetal heart-rate monitors, and cervical checks.

Your clothing should be breathable to allow your skin to breathe and evaporate moisture, but you don’t want it to restrict movement or get too hot (as much as possible, anyway). Natural fabrics that are made from cotton or silk are great for this.

You may also want to pack a robe, as you can cover up your hospital gown when you need to. It’s easier to remove than a gown during labour, and it’ll be nice to have something to put on after delivery too.

Comfortable clothing also helps your lungs to expand, getting more oxygen in to your body and improving your mental health. The same goes for your brain, which will work better when you’re not constricted or unable to breathe due to tight clothing.

Offer mom plenty of calming touches

offer mom plenty of touches

Pregnancy is often an exciting time for moms, but the birth of their baby can be a life-changing experience for dads as well. Labor is a big deal, and dads need to be supportive of their partners in the delivery room.

Dads can offer mom plenty of calming touches throughout labour. This could include a gentle massage or offering to help her into a comfortable position.

A touch stimulates tactile nerve endings in the skin, which releases oxytocin and serotonin into the body. These happy chemicals alleviate pain and depression while also triggering enthusiasm and happiness.

A recent study has found that women who get a lot of physical touch from their mothers during pregnancy have better mental health than those who don't. Scientists believe the effect has a basis in human evolution.

Be your partner's advocate

Whether you're a first-time dad or a veteran, helping your partner through labor is an important part of the experience. It can help her feel more confident and empowered, which may result in shorter labor times and fewer medical interventions, experts say.

When it comes to the delivery stage, your role as her advocate is particularly important, explains Sabia Wade, a full spectrum doula and founder of Birthing Advocacy Doula Trainings and For the Village. She encourages partners to be proactive in preparing for the birthing process by attending childbirth classes, and suggests bringing along anything that might be helpful for their partner.

As her advocate, you'll also need to make sure she feels heard and respected. If she wants to be quiet or uses relaxation techniques, respect her wishes and keep your voice low.

She'll be feeling frustrated, irritable, and exhausted at this point, so it's especially important to keep her focused and strong. Contractions are usually around 60 to 90 seconds long, spaced 1-3 minutes apart, and she'll be feeling extremely intense pain.

Focus all your attention on your partner

focus all your attention on your partner

When labour is underway, the only thing you can really focus your attention on is your partner. It might be tempting to watch a TV show or check your cell phone, but that isn't the way to go.

During the contractions, you need to stay focused on your partner and demonstrate slow breathing. This will help her regain control of her body and mind, which is essential for the process to progress smoothly.

If she is agitated or restless, try to stand up with her and breathe with her. Doing this with her in front of you, or on the bed, will make her feel your presence and help her regain control over her emotions.

You might also want to offer her ice chips or wipe sweat from her face. This will also reassure her and keep her cool.

Ultimately, you and your partner should decide how much help you want to provide during labour. Having an open dialogue about what you want and expect from one another well before the birth will help you both feel more confident in your role.

Turn off the ringer on your cell phone

turn off the ringer on your cell phone

A birth partner's role is to be there to support their partner and help her cope with the rigours of labour. But they might not always know how to do that effectively or even what to do when they need it most. This is where a little planning can go a long way. You can help your partner feel more in control by making sure they're well informed about their pregnancy and delivery options so they can make the best choices for them and baby.

A few weeks before your partner's due date, it's a good idea to get them the ole' fashioned baby book to start outlining all of her options for care during and after her pregnancy. This will not only give her some confidence to go into labour, but will also ensure she is prepared for all the possible scenarios that could arise during labor.

Don't be scared by blood or other bodily fluids

don't be scared of the blood

Blood is a liquid that delivers oxygen and nutrients to your cells, and carries waste products away from them. It's also a vital fluid that helps your body heal from any cuts or scrapes you may have.

However, for some people it can be a source of fear and anxiety. This is a very common response to the sight of blood, and it's not something that can be avoided. In fact, it is an evolutionary necessity for humans to fear blood in order to keep saber-toothed tigers at bay.

Dads can be supportive during labour by encouraging her to drink plenty of fluids and by offering her light foods and snacks, like fruit, crackers, trail mix, yogurt, broth, or protein shakes. She will not get anything to eat at the hospital while she's in labor, so it's important to offer her healthy choices. It's also helpful to sit down with her and write out a birth plan together, so she can feel more involved in the process and ensure that all decisions are made in her best interest.

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