How Fathers Can Provide Labor Support
Often, people think mothers do all the work during labor and delivery, but we know that fathers provide much more value to their baby’s birth than just their presence. They are there to assist the mother and, in fact, have many jobs throughout the course of labor.
Track Your Partner’s Progress
One significant job for the father is to track their partner’s progress during labor. The father can contact the midwives to let them know when the mother is in labor and her signs and symptoms. He should keep track of when labor started, how far apart the contractions are, and how long they are lasting.
In addition to tracking your partner’s contractions, pay attention to her emotional milestones. During early labor, women are often chatty and easygoing. As their labor progresses, they may start to get more serious and focused as they cope with the contractions. During transition, the mother may start to express self-doubt and a lack of confidence, this usually means the baby is coming soon. Keep your partner motivated during these emotional milestones by recognizing them and and encouraging her often, especially during the moments of doubt.
While you keep track of your partner’s labor progression, remember to:
- Keep your partner hydrated
- Keep her energy up with snacks and encourage rest when possible
- Remind her to change positions every 30 minutes
- Update the midwives
- Pack supplies and get the car ready, ensuring the car seat is secured (if you’re planning a home birth, it can still be helpful to prepare the car in case of emergency)
Advocate for Your Partner
Father’s are their partner’s number one advocate, working with the mother’s birth preferences, the midwives, and a doula if you hired one. As the father, you should familiarize yourself with your partner’s birth preferences, ask questions, and use your knowledge to advocate for your partner during check up’s and labor.
Be engaged during your partner’s routine appointments so you can be educated on the birth process with the midwives, normal pregnancy symptoms, and what signs and symptoms may be alarming. If you’re unable to attend the appointments, ask your partner to keep you updated on how the they went and how she’s feeling.
While your partner works on bringing the baby earthside, you can be doing some physical work as well. She may need counter-pressure applied to her hips during contractions, or help getting in and out of different labor positions. Let her lean into you physically and metaphorically for support.
Another way to provide your partner with physical support is by watching for tensing in her body, then giving a gentle touch to the area to remind her to soften the muscles. Some common areas of tension are:
- Scrunched face
- Tight shoulders
- Clenched hands
- Curled toes
Labor and delivery can offer an opportunity for deep intimacy with your partner. She will remember how well you treated her during such a vulnerable experience and she will thank you for it in more ways than one.
You can provide emotional support by offering words of encouragement, acknowledging her feelings, and if you are religious, praying with or beside her. Be fully present and feel the moment with her.
As mentioned earlier, she may show signs of emotional milestones during labor, use them to your advantage so you can know when to encourage rest and when to lift her spirits. During the early stages of pregnancy, it may help her to relax if you relax with her. As she becomes more serious during contractions, so do you. Making sure to help her get as comfortable as possible. Then during the moments of self-doubt, you can let her know how well she’s doing and that she is so close to the finish line.
Father’s play a big role in supporting their partner’s, and their help in labor and delivery can significantly strengthen the relationship between them.
For more information on how you can support your partner during labor, contact us today!