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Many men are eager to know how they can help their wives during labour. There was a time when men used to stand out of the delivery room when their wives were in labour, but it’s a passé now. Today, many husbands want to know how they can contribute to the journey and support their wives through it as well. If you are soon-to-be a dad and want to support your wife during labour, here’s how you can.
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. By Being 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. By Gathering the Right Information and Knowledge
To be well prepared for your wife’s labour, it is best to get acquainted with the entire process from the internet or even from your wife’s doctor. 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. By Being Patient and Accepting the Fact That Labour Can Stretch Longer That Usual
The duration of labour is different for each woman, so you have to be prepared for it. Your wife can experience labour pain for longer than usual, so the best you can do is be patient and support her throughout the process.
4. By Keeping a Lookout for the Duration of Contractions
Everyone from doctors to midwives make 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. By Learning 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. And you need to be prepared to support your wife.
Ways to Help Your Wife Through Labour
Figuring out what you should 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. So, here’s how you can help her throughout the process.
1. 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. Here’s what you need to do:
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, right from the route to be taken for the hospital to any medical decisions 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-to-be, it is best to pack 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/her 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
Attending birth classes with your wife can help you understand what will happen during labour and how you support your wife during that time. 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. During Labour
When labour sets in, your wife will need 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 thing you can do is 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. If your wife needs you, you can check with the doctor and be there to support her.
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, okay help your wife visit the bathroom frequently
P – position adjustment
P – persistent encouragement
O – out of bed is better than in it
R – relax
T – touch and massage gently
Time the Contractions
With your wife in pain and attempting to calm her contractions, you could help her in timing them. This can not only keep you engaged and allow supporting your wife but help the doctors by giving them the necessary information, too.
Stay calm so that you can help your wife be calm as well. Your anxiety can only make her even more stressful. So stay calm and help her with everything.
3. 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 will breastfeed the baby and will need time to recover. Therefore, look after the child and any other duties while she rests, parenting the little one together.
Keep Your Wife’s 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. So be there for your wife and baby, right from the start!
Also Read: Unexpected Things That Happen during Labour