For soon-to-be dads, navigating the life-altering and memorable experiences of labor and delivery can feel almost as tough at times as giving birth to a baby themselves. (Just don’t say that too loudly around your special lady!)
From trying to figure out how to comfort a woman during this painful process to determining when the time is right to head to the hospital, there are a variety of different situations that can occur in between your partner’s water breaking and cradling your newborn in your arms that can be stressful.
Having a few helpful tips in your arsenal can make all the difference in the world. After all, labor and delivery doesn’t always start off easy! But knowing what to do or say during those intense moments can provide peace of mind, and should really help your partner understand that you’re there to meet whatever challenges are in store right by her side.
Knowing when it’s time
This is perhaps the most nerve-racking part of your whole experience as a parent-to-be. You’ve worked up to this moment for months, and all those plans you made while getting ready for baby can finally start to pay off.
To ensure that you know how to discern real signs of labor from a false alarm, do plenty of research in the weeks leading up to your baby’s arrival. Signs like her water breaking, the passing of her mucus plug or even something as minor as persistent back pain could be signs that your little guy or gal is on the way. You’ll also want to learn how to time contractions properly, which is something you can pick up from your partner’s healthcare provider along the way.
Be the best coach you can be
Whether the special lady in your life is being badly affected by aches and pains or she’s simply in need of emotional reassurance, you can be an active participant in the labor and delivery of your child by being the best coach possible.
If you and your partner have explored different birthing plans, you may be able to directly coach her with her breathing techniques and exercises to help ease the pressure she may be feeling during this experience.
Read more: 5 signs he’s dad material
Advocate for your partner
While your loved one is trying to get comfortable in the hospital or in another place you’ve selected for giving birth, she may not be as focused on matters that you know are important to you both.
As her partner, you can be her advocate to midwives, healthcare providers or other professionals when she may be unable, and in doing so, you can provide an essential layer of support.
Take cues from her
Rubbing your partner’s back when it’s sore or providing helpful suggestions to improve her breathing regimen can be good ways to show that you care, but it’s also important that you take your cues directly from her and her body language.
Above all, be there
Giving birth is physically and emotionally draining for women, and for a first time mother, the anxiety that comes with bringing a new baby into the world can be overwhelming.
Being there can be one of the most essential things that you can do for your partner during this time, helping give her the strength, support and devotion needed to tackle the myriad feelings and sensations of discomfort that she may feel throughout the experience. Even if you have trouble with the other tips on this list, this is one thing you don’t want to overlook!