If you’ve yet to experience the magical experience of childbirth, this article is for you. This was an article I wish I had years ago as it would have saved me frustration, stress and anxiety. Lucky for you, a fellow Dad blogger from Switzerland, wrote this article on how to support your wife during childbirth.
Giving birth is one of the most challenging experiences a woman can go through in her lifetime. Fathers may never experience the pain of labor but they can support their wives while giving birth.
My fiancée was in labor for 23 hours and she hardly had energy before our baby girl was born. As a first time father there were many aspects of birth that I wasn’t prepared for and I had to learn quickly to give support.
So to help the first time dads out there I’ve provided seven tips that will prepare you for when your wife goes into labor. I’ll also discuss what you can expect and the various ways you can comfort your wife during childbirth.
1. Research Childbirth Beforehand
Your wife’s 9 months of pregnancy gives you plenty of time to research childbirth. Before entering the delivery make sure you know everything about the following subjects:
- Labor pain
- Different types of childbirths such as water births
- Possible birth complications and how to prepare
- Water breaking
By researching you’ll be better prepared when your wife goes into labor. You’ll avoid getting to the hospital too early and you’ll know how to comfort her when she’s having contractions.
2. Be Prepared With a Hospital Survival Kit
As a first-time father I wasn’t 100% prepared and afterwards I thought about what necessities would have been handy for me. I suggest having a hospital survival kit especially for dads with you because you could be at the hospital for many hours.
In your kit you should have money, snacks, beverages and a cellphone to call family members. For your wife you want to pack clean pajamas and all her favorite items for after she gives birth. A baby bag should contain all the essentials your baby needs such as diapers and clean clothes.
3. Know How to Time Contractions
A common problem for first time dads is that they don’t know how to time contractions. For this you’ll need a timer to time your wife’s contractions in seconds from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next one.
If your wife is having painful contractions that last 30 seconds or more she may be in early stages of labor. Furthermore, if the contractions are 5 minutes apart or less, last more than 30 seconds for an hour then make your way to the hospital.
4. Patience is a Virtue – Labor Can Last Many Hours
As I mentioned in the beginning of this article, my wife was in labor for 23 hours so I had to spend the night at the hospital. Some women can be in labor for a lot longer – sometimes 36 hours. You may have to go back and forth into the delivery room to assist your wife and back out again to get some rest. You’re going to need plenty of patience.
5. Offer Your Wife Distractions from the Pain
There are ways you can distract your wife from the pain of labor. If she’s in her early stages helping her walk around is the best form of distraction. You can also experiment with rhythmic breathing patterns that are long, short, deep and fast to help her power through the pain.
6. Fill Out the Paperwork
Your wife will be in a lot of pain during her labor even in the beginning stages. So it may be difficult for her to fill out paperwork or talk to nurses and doctors. Fill out any important paperwork and speak to doctors and nurses on your wife’s behalf.
7. Be Hands-On When the Baby Arrives
Your wife is going to be exhausted after giving birth. That means you need to be hands-on when your baby arrives. When my daughter was born I had to learn how to change diapers and then perfected my skills later on. Learn how to dress your baby and change his or her diapers. You must also learn how to hold and comfort your baby while your wife is resting. I actually learned how to change diapers in the hospital!
What to Expect When Your Wife is Giving Birth
You May Experience Dizziness When The Baby Starts to Crown
It’s not uncommon for a first-time father to feel dizzy or sick when they see the baby start to crown. If you’re feeling lightheaded, rather leave the delivery room to go sit down in the waiting room. You don’t want the doctors to have an extra patient on their hands if you faint.
Your Wife May Get Irritated With You During Birth
A woman in labor might get irritated and say some things that they don’t mean. Don’t take offense to these words. Your wife is in a lot of pain so try to understand her anger and try to help her as best you can.
Tips on How to Support Your Wife During Childbirth
- Massage her back
- Massage her temples
- Try cool compressors on the neck and face
- Help her change positions
- Provide a heating pad to her lower back
- Listen to what she needs
In the last few minutes when my wife gave birth she was extremely weak. I stood next to her and held her back in an attempt to give her more energy. After a few moments my baby girl was born.
Simply being next to your wife and holding her hand can be enough to give her the boost she needs to complete that final push at the end. Make sure you’re right beside your partner every step of the way.
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