Some people are great when it comes time for their partners to give birth. Others need to brush up on their birth etiquette. These 10 tips will help your partner know what to expect, ways to support you, and how to treat the other members of your birth team. Let’s get started…
#10 Birth can be painful and your partner’s vocabulary might surprise you.
This seems to be the biggest surprise to most partners. Pain can cause anyone to say or do things they don’t really mean, wouldn’t say otherwise, and may be embarrassed by if brought up again. Even if you two have a long-standing argument, all things said or done during labor are inadmissible.
#9 There is lots of blood.
You would think this one would be obvious, but it took us almost half an hour to convince my poor husband I wasn’t dying after giving birth to our first child. Whether your partner is having a natural, medicated, or cesarean birth, there will be blood. If blood makes you woozy, prepare now on how you’ll handle that.
#8 Poop is normal.
Sometimes in the process of pushing out a baby, mom may poop. Do not, under any circumstances, mention, make jokes about, or discuss in future conversations, this poop. Let your lovely partner be completely in the dark and if she asks, the answer is, “I didn’t notice because I was too entranced by our son’s/daughter’s birth.”
#7 Tennis balls make great massage tools.
Many women experience hip pain as their pelvis opens for baby to descend. Applying pressure to your partner’s hips for hours alleviates some pressure for her, but can leave your arms, wrists, and hands tired. A great alternative is to roll tennis balls over the area that is aching. It doesn’t require as much pressure from you and still reduces pain for mom.
#6 “I understand” does NOT make your partner feel better.
Unless you have pushed out a baby or had abdominal surgery and then been expected to just bounce back and resume normal activities, you do not understand. Even if you have, your pain tolerance may not be the same as hers. Saying you understand is likely to only make your partner angry. If you make your partner angry during labor, please refer to #10.
#5 Get a meal train set up before labor so a meal can be delivered right after birth.
Birth is hard work for everyone, especially mom. There is a large chance she will be famished afterwards. Already having a meal plan in place will make her feel wonderfully cared for. Bonus points abound if you set it up and planned for her first meal to be her favorite one. Pampering mom after birth is a great way to show your appreciation for her hard work.
#4 Hire a Doula…seriously.
A doula will not take your place and mom needs an impartial individual present. Someone who knows what is normal in birth, won’t freak out if the abnormal happens, and can support both of you through it all. If you need to step out for whatever reason, having a doula for continuous support will help your partner feel loved and cared for. She will always have someone by her side. It will be one of the best birth investments you will ever make.
#3 Talk about birth and your expectations beforehand.
Knowing what mom expects of you, what you expect of birth, and what to expect of the support staff gets everyone on the same page. It helps everyone feel loved and cared for when the big day finally arrives and everyone knows their roles. Talking beforehand gives you a chance to discuss any fears and worries as well. This can help evaporate a lot of pent up anxiety that can affect the birthing environment.
#2 It’s okay to ask your care provider questions.
If your care provider wants to do something, it’s ok to question the necessity and the reasoning behind it. Being an informed partner helps you be a more supportive partner. Having open communication with your partner’s care providers, lets them know you are an involved, active part of the birth team. It also helps your partner feel that you have her best interest at heart when you take an interest in her car.
#1 Research, research, research!
Know what your partner’s desires, dreams, and wishes are for her birth. Research everything she wants, everything that could go wrong, treatment options, risks and outcomes of every option, etc. Then be bold enough to stand for what your partner wants even when she can’t. Be courageous enough to make truly informed decisions. Be her voice when she is unable to voice what she wants. Be her clarity when her mind is muddled with the pain of labor. Don’t be afraid to forge the path to make her birth dreams come true!
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