Welcome to the next instalment of Survival Guide for Dads to be! Hopefully, you found ‘How To Be A Supportive Husband During Pregnancy‘ helpful. Next up – Tips For Dads During Labour. Get ready to take notes!
In case you missed the first post, I’ve decided to put together a little Survival Guide for Dads to be. I will be giving you advice on how you can support your pregnant wife (or partner/girlfriend) through pregnancy, labour and the newborn stage. It has been broken up into 3 separate posts:
- How to be a supportive husband during pregnancy
- Tips For Dads During Labour
- What life will be like in those first few weeks of being at home with a newborn baby
Before we start…
This post will not include any medical advice. For advice on how to tell when labour has started, and when to go to the hospital, make sure that you check out the NHS website.
I just want to make you aware of a couple of things. For most women, labour and childbirth is the absolute worst pain she will ever experience. The pain, coupled with the pain medication and gas and air, might make mum say or do things that are out of character. Please do not take any of this personally.
Also, ALL focus will always be on mum and baby. At the hospital, the midwives and doctors focus is purely on mum and baby. When I was in the hospital giving birth nearly ALL the toilets were reserved for the mums. My husband had to walk all the way to the other side of the labour ward to go.
Finally, depending on how long you’re at the hospital for, the showers were also only for the mums. Unless your hospital has special facilities be prepared to either have a quick wash in a sink, go home or depending on lockdown ruling, pop to a nearby friends/family house for a wash.
Get your pen and paper ready, here are my Tips For Dads During Labour
Surely by now, you’ve packed your bags, the car seat is installed safely in the car and you know the quickest route to the hospital, with a backup driver just in case (if you don’t have this sorted go do this now, I’ll wait).
Before we go on, I just want to impress on you the importance of packing your hospital bag. I made sure that my bag and Baby J’s bag was packed. My husband did not pack a bag. I was induced and he assumed that I would go to the hospital, be induced, have our baby and be home the next day. In total, I was actually in the hospital for 5 days.
The other reason that it’s important to have your bag packed and ready nearer the time of the due date is because going into labour can happen at any time. Any time at all. So you need to be ready!
If you’re not being induced, mum might (hopefully) go into labour at home. Make sure that you know where the hospital bags are and you will probably want to call the labour ward to let them know.
Unless mum and baby are classed as high risk (gestational diabetes, Group B Strep etc) or her waters have broken, she should be allowed to labour at home. Obviously, this will be up to the medical team that is taking care of you.
It’s up to you if you want to let family know that mum has gone into labour. On one hand, it’s good to keep them updated, but on the other hand, be prepared for texts and calls asking if the baby has been born yet.
For the start of labour, there are lots of things that you can do to help mum be more comfortable. Some of these will obviously depend on whether you are at home or the hospital.
The Main One – Not Panicking!!
Don’t get yourself into a flap. Keep calm and help keep mum calm too. The start of labour should be calm and relaxed. Find out what she wants to do and take it from there. Some ideas are:
Rubbing her back
I’m not talking about gentle, softly, softly back rubbing either – unless that’s what mum wants. The rubbing generates heat, and this is what helps with the pain.
Running a bath
Find out if mum wants a bath. For some women being in the water is soothing, so get that lovely warm bath running for her – not too hot though!
Light Candles or Incense Sticks
Certain smells came extremely comforting so maybe pop on her favourite candle/wax melt/incense sticks. Just don’t forget about them and leave them burning if you have to leave the house!
Food And Water
It’s important for mum to stay hydrated and eat in early labour to help keep her strength up. Make sure you’re offering small snacks and drinks of water.
Play Her Favourite Playlist
Music is so powerful and can help to keep mum nice and relaxed. So, I don’t care if you hate Ed Sheeran, just put the damn playlist on for her, okay? (If she likes Ed Sheeran, Obviously!)
Watch Her Favourite Films
Again – I don’t care that you don’t like Pretty Woman or Mean Girls. Your wife is about to give birth to another actual human being. Put the bloody chick flick on and don’t moan.
Please Do NOT Just Play On Your Phone/Laptop/Playstation/X Box
I used to hate seeing the dads play on their phones on One Born Every Minute. Poor mum is going through all this pain and dad is just ignoring her! Just because you are not the one that is actively giving birth doesn’t mean you can go and do your own thing. You need to be on hand to help mum with whatever she might need.
Time The Contractions
Normally, the hospital will tell you to stay at home (again, depending on if you are classed as high risk or if her waters have broken) until the contractions are strong and regular, so about 5 minutes apart and lasting around 60 seconds.
If you’re not already at the hospital, it’s time to call them and let them know that you’re on your way. Its time to have a baby!!
P.S. Make sure you have the hospital bags, medical notes and car seat!
Active Labour And Delivery
Mum will likely be in A LOT of pain right now. Just a warning – jokes probably will not go down well right now. But everyone is different! You really have to judge the mood.
From here you just need to carry on with what you were doing during early labour:
- Rubbing her back
- Offering sips of water
- Holding her hand
- Being reassuring and supportive
Just a little note on the hand-holding. When mum is pushing, she is going to be in a considerable amount of pain. As horrible as it sounds, we don’t care right now that we’ve hurt your hand by squeezing it too hard. We literally have a child coming out of our vagina.
If you’re married or wear a ring, you might want to pop your ring somewhere safe. I ended up squeezing my husbands wedding ring into his fingers. And didn’t I hear about it! Just let her know ahead of time that that’s what you’re doing. You don’t want that argument during labour if she notices that you’re not wearing your wedding ring!!
When Things Don’t Go To Plan
Obviously, things don’t always go to plan. There is a whole host of reasons why and far too many to list here. Mum might need forceps, ventouse (suction cup) or possibly a Caesarean section to help get baby out.
It can be a scary situation to be in. Try to keep calm and carry on offering support and tending to mums every need. Make sure that you listening to the midwives and doctors and don’t forget to tell mum how well she is doing and how proud you are of her! Not long now until…
Congratulations! You’re A daddy!!
And there are my tips for dads during labour. I hope that you have found these tips helpful! Next time – What life will be like in those first few weeks of being at home with a newborn baby!