5 Ways to Make Yourself Useful During Childbirth

Don’t worry, pregnant readers, this post isn’t aimed at you. The act of giving birth is considered more than useful, so don’t feel you need to take on any further responsibilities in the labour room. No, this article is more for the eyes of any future birth partners, so make sure you send yours a copy.

Being a birth partner is a pretty big deal. Whether you’re the father, a family friend, or about to become  grandma, being a birth partner is an honour. It’s also, however, a pretty big responsibility. It’s impossible to predict how a birth will go, and you won’t know in advance how the mum-to-be will be feeling on the day. Try not to get too worried about the endless possibilities of things you should be doing in the delivery room, and instead focus on the following five ways to make yourself useful during childbirth:

1. Soothe – one of your main roles in the delivery room is to keep the labouring woman calm. Worry, fear and panic need to be as far away from the labour room as possible. Feeling worried can actually stop labour from progressing, so you need to keep the mum-to-be in high spirits. This is no place for jazz hands though, instead go with soothing words, a low voice, and reassuring touches.

2. Cheer – the best homework you can do for labour, is to watch Bring It On a few times. As a birth partner, you are the official cheerleader of the mum-to-be. You’re her coach, her team mate and her cheerleader, all rolled into one. Come with your pompoms at the ready, and have some stock phrases ready to put into action. Tell her she’s doing great, that she’s amazing, and that you’re in awe of her.

3. Help – whatever she needs during labour, it’s your job to do it. Have the layout of the hospital bag memorised in advance, because when she’s screaming mid-contraction for the massage ball, you won’t want to waste another second. Snacks, drinks, ice chips – whatever she needs, you’re her personal butler. When she says her backaches, offer her a massage. If she’s hot, hold a cold water flannel to her head. Just help, in any way you can.

4. Get involved – labour is no time for sitting on the sidelines. You need to be by her side, as much a part of the team as the professional delivering the baby. Use your strength to support her weight so she can try out vertical positions during labour, maximising gravity during the birth. Help her with her breathing, reminding her to use her breathing to stay calm, and even to help focus her strength during the pushing stage.

5. Ask – childbirth can be a bit of a blur, especially for the labouring woman. She may not be conscious of decisions being made, or plans being suggested around her. Of course, the most important thing is that both mother and baby are healthy, but don’t be afraid to ask questions about why certain decisions are being made. Not only will this help the mum-to-be when she asks questions about the birth, and is able to get a full explanation from you, it could also help to remind the healthcare provider of the mum-to-be’s birth plan.

Who have you chosen to be your birth partner, and why?

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.

Preparing Your Partner for Childbirth

When you think about the impending birth, you’re probably worrying about how you’ll cope on the day, what will happen and whether it will all go to plan. With all that on your mind, it’s no wonder you’ve forgotten to consider how your partner will cope. Preparing your partner for childbirth is almost as important as packing your hospital bag, and it certainly isn’t something you should overlook.

There are plenty of horror stories about dads-to-be fainting in the delivery room and missing the birth, or infuriating the mums-to-be by asking how long is left. The birth of your child is one of those life changing moments, so make sure your partner is prepared for what’s going to happen, and how he can help on the day.

Give him homework
If he has any chance of being useful, he’s going to need to know what to expect in the delivery room. From bodily fluids to labour noises, he needs to be ready for whatever you’re about to throw at him. There are plenty of great books designed to coach dads-to-be in preparation for labour, so why not pick one out for him? There’s loads of information online, too; he could even watch some birth videos. Prenatal classes are the best place to pick up information about the birth. Your prenatal teacher will explain the labour process in detail, and answer any questions he might have. If you’ve enjoyed using this app, you could also ask him to download our new Baby+ App. It has hundreds of interesting articles, tools and great features.

Talk to friends and family
The best way to learn about childbirth, is to speak to people who’ve been through it. The best people to speak to are those who have recently experienced it, because the information will still be fresh in their minds. Ask questions, and tell them you want all the gory details. Ask the dad what it felt like for him, and what he had to do. This will give your partner ideas and prepare him for the big day.

Great expectations
Let him know any expectations you have, so that he knows what you want on the day. If you’re expecting a back massage during labour, make sure he knows in advance so he can learn some massage techniques. If he can often be found playing games on his phone, let him know that he shouldn’t do this in the delivery suite.

Taking care of himself too
One rookie mistake that lots of first time dads make, is that they forget to look after themselves on the day. The don’t eat, they don’t sleep, they don’t even stop for toilet breaks, and as a result they end up an exhausted, shivering, weak mess by the end of it all, utterly unable to offer you the support you need. Make sure he packs energy drinks and snacks for himself, and makes sure that he’s in the best state to be able to support you to deliver the baby.

Talk it through
Keep communication lines open at all times. You might be scared of impending parenthood and the birth, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t. In fact, you might find he shares all of your fears and has a few of his own too. Encourage him to talk to you about his feelings, so that you can work through any issues and prepare for any potential problems together.

Do you have any tips on how to prepare to be a birth partner?

Do you enjoy this App? Good news! You can now also download our new Baby App (iOS only, but Android will follow soon!). Click here to install the new ‘Baby+’ App, and prepare for the arrival of your little one(s).

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.