5 Tips for the Birth Partner – Advise from a Doula for Dads and Partners
It can feel like a lot of pressure to be the main support person for a birthing woman, especially if you don’t know much about childbirth. As a pregnant first time mom, I did mounds of research and digging to find all the information I could about labor, birth, and newborn care. My spouse however, didn’t have much time (or serious interest) to invest so I had to choose carefully what I asked him to spending his time preparing for. Now in my work as a Birth Doula, I’ve made a list of 5 suggestions to help you (as a partner) support her through childbirth and be a valuable part of the birth team.
1.Hire a professional – there’s a reason this is #1.
There’s no pressure on you to learn all the medical stuff if you hire a professional birth worker. A birth doula LOVES learning, talking, and listening to all things birth related so hire her to do that for you. A doula doesn’t replace the partner, but does make an invaluable addition to your birth team.
This gives you the freedom to just love and support your partner, 2 things you probably already do very well. How easy is that! All you have to do is show up and make sure she feels loved. Having a professional like a doula gives you the space to take care of yourself and enjoy the experience of your growing family.
2.Pack a few things in the hospital bag for you.
You will be no good to her if you’re starving, tired, and grumpy so pack a few things in the bag for you too. Here’s a few ideas to get you started.
-Snacks with NO ODOR (trust me on this, you’ll get punched or worse if you open a bag of stinky corn nuts in the labor space)
-Gym shorts for a quick nap or overnight stay
-Fresh pair of socks (birth is messy 🙂 )
-Book or something to do in case of down time
3.Ask her what she expects of you
Does she want you to keep family updated? Take pictures? Forget you ever owned a phone and give all attention to her? Leave her alone? Hard core make out session during labor? She might not know for sure, but you may be surprised by her already set expectations for you. If it’s helpful, you can sit down and write out a birth plan together to make sure you’re on the same page. Here’s some links and tips to get a birth plan started.
4.Spend a little time thinking about what you want out of this experience too
For the partner (especially men) common goals I see are; healthy baby, happy wife, easy as possible. This is the day your baby is born, is there anything else that’s important to you? Maybe not, but if there is don’t be afraid to identify and voice your wants because your experience matters too.
Would you like to be the main support, or just a general observer? Maybe you don’t want to be in the room at all or perhaps you want to glove up and catch the baby. These are all things to think about and discuss with your partner.
5.Remember; She doesn’t need saved, but she does need protected.
You can’t save her from this, and she probably doesn’t want that anyway. But you can (and should) protect the space around her so she can birth the way she wants. Protect it from unwanted visitors, unhelpful comments from staff, and fill it with positive, loving words and vibes so she can do what she needs to do. Protect her wants, wishes, and help be the voice for her when things get intense.
I hope this short list was helpful for you. Comment below with questions or let me know what helped you prepare to be a birth partner! Good luck!
~ All things for you and your new little life ~