A Father’s Guide to Birth

This post is part of an editorial series, “The Stork Stories,” brought to you by the Fort Worth Moms Blog. We hope these pieces provide you with helpful information, encouragement, and answers as you prepare for baby’s arrival.

You’ve made it through months of pregnancy hormones and cravings while being the most supportive partner ever (right?). Now it’s time for labor and this is your moment to shine. At a minimum, this is the time for you to be a kind, supportive partner that is helpful, and not hindering during labor. Here are some useful tips from a guy who has been there a few times.

Prepare Ahead of Time

Whether you are a person who over prepares for everything, or a person who likes to wing it, I highly recommend doing a few things to prepare for the labor experience. Childbirth classes are helpful to learn some basic tips and get familiar with the process. You can also read books, listen to podcasts, and find many articles online. The more familiar you are with the process, the more comfortable you will be during the actual labor.

It’s also helpful to talk with your partner before labor starts about how you can be most helpful to her during labor. There are many details to discuss, but here are a few ideas:

  • Does she want complete silence during labor, or does she want to talk, have music, or other distractions?
  • How do you want to handle extended family? Does she want her mom, sister, or some other relative present, as well as you?
  • How can you affirm her during labor? Are there specific phrases or actions that she would like you to take to provide that affirmation?

Be a Calming Presence

Labor can be chaotic. It is a beautiful thing, but it is also chaotic. This is where being prepared helps you to remain calm when the chaos starts. The more familiar you are with all the details, the less it will affect you during labor. You are going to be in the room with doctors, nurses, and/or midwives that do the hardest stuff, so that can also help put you at ease.

Know Your Limitations

While you want to support your partner, you also must be realistic about your limitations. If blood legitimately makes you faint, then you shouldn’t pretend like it won’t happen during the birth (yes, there is blood). If you feel like you simply aren’t equipped to provide the needed support, seek professional help. Doulas are a great resource and aid before, during, and after labor. We are all human and have our limitations. The main thing is to be realistic about these limitations and address them ahead of time so your partner still receives the support she needs.

Take Care of Yourself

While you are there to support your partner, you should also take care of your basic needs. Go to the bathroom, drink water, and eat some food. Do it quickly and get back to your partner, but don’t neglect your basic needs. This is another great reason to hire a doula. Because they offer continuous support in labor, you won’t feel guilty for stepping out for a couple of minutes. 

Take It All In

As hard as it may be, soak in the experience. This is one of the biggest events in your life. Remember seeing your child for the first time. Take in your partner’s face the first time they see your child. Burn into your memory the first time you hold your child. These are all moments I recall vividly and will for the rest of my life.

Parenthood brings many ups and downs; There are sleepless nights, but endless snuggles; Bouts of crying, but also tons of giggles. Being a parent is the most rewarding experience you will ever have, but the first step is getting through labor!

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