Updated: Jul 22
D A D S
You don’t have to look too far back in history, to a time when it was taboo for dads to be in the birth room, they were left to pace the corridors or ‘wetting the baby’s head’!
Fast forward to now Dads are thrown into the birth rooms with often not a clue what to expect or to do. Maybe they have gained some insightful help from One Born Every Minute, where the dads are portrayed as the jokers, a spare part, the fainter. So it is no wonder with the media portraying Dads this way that they sometimes view this as the norm!
As a midwife, I have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I really do believe that birth education can make a huge difference.
What if I told you that as a Dad, you are the best asset to birth? You can reduce the need for pain relief, make birth run more smoothly, be her rock, her protector!
Here are my top tips
Holding her hand, massage the back, gentle touch massage, popping your hands on her shoulders - all of these will increase oxytocin levels and let her know that you are there, right by her side.
Encourage her to eat, drink and wee often. The uterus is a bag of muscles which require nutrients to work properly. Also if her bladder is full, then baby’s head may struggle to get past it. During birth women often don’t get the same urge to wee, plus time really does pass by quickly at times!
No matter how you are feeling, bring out your best poker face (midwives have good poker faces at times). If she sees the fear in you, she will either feel scared herself or feel like she needs to reassure you.
Limit the use of mobile phones and tablets, be there, be present.
Help make the playlist, attend birth preparation classes together, help research the birth plan. Knowing what may happen in all avenues of birth will mean that you can be confident and help reassure her. In the thick of surges, it can be hard to make and voice decisions, you are the main communicator and birth space protector.
Tell her she is doing amazing - no explanation needed!!
Pack the birth bag
Help pack the birth bag - during birth is she asks for her lip balm because the gas and air is drying out her lips - you are going to want to know where exactly it is in the bag!
Skin to skin
The benefits of skin to skin are endless - regulates baby’s temperature, heart rate and breathing rate. Provides reassurance and a safe place. Occasionally mamas may feel unwell, shaky and sometimes an emergency may arise. Dads you can provide skin to skin contact, it is so special and helps promote bonding. I always recommend that you pack a baggy t-shirt so baby can snuggle with you underneath it, without leaving you exposed.
Sort the practical stuff
If you are birthing at the hospital - do you know the way? Alternative routes? Triages number? Fuel in the car? Taxi number? How to safely install the baby car seat?
This will take lots of pressure off you.
Look after yourself
There is nothing worse than feeling hangry and weak. Pack yourself snacks and drinks so you can stay well fuelled. A change of clothes and toothbrush is also a good idea.
This can be breathing techniques, visualisations, relaxation scripts, coping techniques. These are all so important.
Help move that nest to wherever your partner is. Consider low lighting like fairy lights. Is she using positive birth affirmations? Pillow? Birthing ball? Essential oils? All of these can help her feel safe and secure - no matter where she gives birth.
Don’t underestimate your role in the birth space!
YOU HAVE GOT THIS
YOU ARE A TEAM
Wonderful photography by @evarosebirth. The story behind this little one’s arrival is on Eva’s youtube channel. Go and check it out - it’s beautiful.
Love Steph x
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