In the next week or so, I shall be (trying to) support my wife through the birth of daughter number three. So briefly outlined in the post below are my experiences to date, and hopefully you will be able to glean some tips for dads in the birthsuite. Being present at your child’s birth, supporting your partner through the labour, being her advocate, and her shield can be one of the most rewarding experiences you will ever go through.
From day one, my wife wanted her birth experience to be a natural birth experience. Of course, being a man with absolutely no experience or prior inclination to look into the subject meant that I was well and truly behind the eight ball when it came to the most basic knowledge and understanding of childbirth, or how to be a supportive partner in the births suite. All my knowledge of childbirth had been subconsciously absorbed through television and the movies. Women gave birth either lying on their back in a hospital bed, lying on their back in an operating theatre, or lying on their back in the back of a car as it sped, Police escort sirens wailing, to the hospital.
For the birth of our first daughter, we had decided to enlist the help of a Doula (birth attendant). Phillipa was passionate about natural childbirth, and in the sessions we had with leading up to the birth she was able to provide guidance and supplement our knowledge from our own reading, on what a natural childbirth meant, what could go wrong, what interventions were likely and the likely results.
One of my biggest moments of enlightenment has been the realization that some time in the recent past, pregnancy and childbirth has moved from being a natural process, to being something that has required treatment. When I think back to any movie based on a time prior to the 1950’s, women in labour were helped by other women to deliver their babies, usually with the support of a knowledgeable matriarch. It was a natural process. Fast forward to today, and pregnancy and childbirth are almost viewed as something that requires monitoring and intervention.
Tips For Dads
If your partner has chosen a natural childbirth, the greatest thing you can do to support her in the birthsuite is to educate yourself on what that means. I’m not necessarily talking about the history of childbirth and what a natural childbirth can mean to a woman. I’m talking about the labour, what she will go through, the support she will need, the choices that you may both face, the questions she may have and the best place to get those answers; usually this will be your midwife or doula if you choose to have one.
Some of the key topics you should be hitting on are:
– The three stages of labour;
– Interventions, what they are and what they can lead to;
– Positions that your wife can try during labour in order to try and reduce the pain and discomfort;
– Positions that baby can be in when labour begins, and what that mean; and
(NB. Of course there is a whole lot of other reading that you will need to do to support her through her pregnancy, but in this particular article I’m just writing about some tips for dads to allow you to support you partner through childbirth. For further information regarding pregnancy please see the links below)
With the wonders of the Internet, some great resources for you to read regarding the labour process (and what you can do in the lead up to labour) are right at your finger tips. Some examples that I have found particularly informative are listed below. These resources also provide great tips for dads.
(Having a look through some of the forums can also be enlightening)
Additionally, a good book (I recommend ‘Expecting’ by Anna McGrail) can also be a great resource it allows you to follow your pregnancy from week to week, and may be easier to read than online content.
So, get reading and get informed. The baby journey is not hers alone, and as I mentioned above the greatest support you can provide is to educate yourself. Good luck, and if you have any other tips for Dads please feel free to leave a comment below.
(This post originally appeared on the free WordPress site – networkdads.wordpress.com – and was title Dads & Childbirth)
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