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Most modern men are eager to know how dads can help during labour. The old ways of standing outside while your wife goes through delivery all by herself are passé. Today, many husbands want to know how they can contribute to the journey and support their wives through it as well.
How Can Husband Know his Wife’s Labour has Started?
While you’d be more than excited to help your wife through the entire process of delivery, vigilance is important in knowing when you need to spring into action. It all begins from understanding the labour has commenced, and your help is needed.
1. Be Prepared to be An Active Member of The Process
While the woman is busy focusing on the contractions and keeping the baby safe, it would be a huge help from the husband to take care of the rest actively. Right from keeping the hospital bag filled and ready to go, to keeping a backup vehicle in place to take her to the hospital, maintaining a power bank to keep your phone charged, you ought to be ready for it all.
2. Preparation can Begin by Making Yourself Knowledgeable
To be well prepared for labour, it is best to get acquainted with the entire process from the Internet or from your doctor even. The initial stage of the labour is where the signs begin to emerge, the pains begin and delivery is imminent. The final stage is where the mother actively begins to make efforts in birthing the child, which can end in a few minutes or last for many hours.
3. Be Patient and Ready for Labour to Stretch Longer than Usual
Most men and some women are led to believe that labour tends to end within a couple of hours at the most after the pains begin. However, that shouldn’t be a benchmark for setting any expectations, since labours are known to last overnight even. Therefore, it is essential to be supportive throughout.
4. Keep A Lookout for The Duration of Contractions
Everyone from doctors to midwives makes use of the time gap that lasts between consecutive contractions. These contractions usually continue for half a minute or so, and tend to repeat regularly. It is best to reach the hospital earlier than expected so that your doctor can prepare in time for the delivery.
5. Learn to Distinguish between Actual Labour and False Signs
There are certain contractions where the body is simply testing whether it is ready for delivering the child. Termed as Braxton Hicks contractions, these tend to fade away once the woman changes her body posture. If the contractions are combined with the breaking of water, cramps and repetitive pains at a specific frequency, that indicates labour for sure.
Ways to Help Your Wife Through Labour
Figuring out what should dad pack for labour and delivery is a tough one for most husbands. Your wife needs assistance before she goes into labour, through the actual delivery, as well as a lot of care and support after childbirth has completed.
1. Helping Before Labour
The right way to help your wife begins even before the labour has begun. Once you know the pregnancy is approaching its full term, it is time to pull up your socks.
Prepare A Birth Plan Together
Putting together a proper birth plan and rehearsing it can alleviate any anxious feelings or nervousness about the delivery. Plan everything from the route to be taken for the hospital as well as any medical decision that might have to be taken such as an emergency caesarean or so. Your doctor can help you with those as well.
Keep All Supplies Ready And Good To Go
You will need many items for your wife, the baby, and yourself since you’ll be staying with her, too.
For the mother, it is best to pack together comfortable clothes, maternity bras, basic toiletries and essentials, some rejuvenating drinks, warm weather wear and a few fragrances or music to keep her relaxed.
The baby would require diapers, nappies, blankets and some basic clothes to keep him comfortable. Keep some essentials for yourself as well, and carry a camera to capture those beautiful moments. For longer stays, you can carry a book as well.
Attend Birthing Classes With Your Wife
While birth classes help your wife understand the process better, attending those can help you get an idea of what is to come. Getting acquainted with the process of childbirth can reduce your own fears and make you look at it from a better perspective. If that seems difficult for you, looking at online sources or a conversation of your doctor could be beneficial, too.
2. Helping during Labour
When labour sets in, your wife needs every ounce of strength and support to see it through. Make sure you do your best to keep her safe and strong.
Know When to Step Back
This might seem counter-intuitive but the best help some husbands can do in a few cases is to leave the delivery in the hands of the doctors and nurses there. Your insistence of being with her during the delivery could be a distraction for the medical personnel or might be against their policies. Therefore, it is best to adhere to the norms and stay available if you are needed.
Memorize The SUPPORT Acronym
The rush of delivery can leave you clueless with what you might need to do. In those times, fall back to SUPPORT, which stands for:
S – support emotionally
U – urinate every hour
P – position adjustment
P – persistent encouragement
O – out of bed is better than in it
R – relax
T – touch and massage gently
Contraction Timing is Key
With your wife in pain and attempting to calm her contractions, husbands play a major role in timing them down. This can not only keep you engaged and allow supporting your wife but help the doctors by giving them the necessary information, too.
You are Your Wife’s Channel
Look at yourself as your wife personal assistant. Any query, any need, any aspect of communication should go through you and addressed by you at all times.
Stay calm so that you can help your wife be calm as well. Your anxiety can only make her even more stressful.
3. Helping after Labour
Following the childbirth, you need to not only care for your wife but also the newborn baby.
Take Time to Rest and Rejuvenate
You have been busy all this while. So take a break when you can so that you can be in a better position to care for the baby and your wife.
Your wife would need to rest and recover, as well as breastfeed the child. Therefore, look after the child and any other duties while she rests, parenting the little one together.
Keep her Spirits High
Postpartum depression is real and your wife may suddenly find herself sad and irritated after childbirth. Help her through it and bring any extreme matters to the doctor’s attention.
Don’t Forget to Celebrate
Your baby is finally here! Don’t let that beautiful news drown in the numerous responsibilities. Take some time out to smile together and look at the baby with love.
Going through some essential labour support tips for dads can help you be in a better position to be there with your wife during the entire journey. A child needs both the father and mother to grow and be a part of the family.
Also Read: Unexpected Things That Happen during Labour