What is Dad’s Role in the Childbearing Year?
Let go of your fear.
Show quiet, calm, patience, and kindness.
Let go of your desire to control or fix the birth.
What is Dad's Role IN PREGNANCY
It is helpful to join in for the first visit with the midwife, and at least one visit to talk about how birth works and what your role in birth should be. These visits help you to know how to support a healthy pregnancy, answer any questions about pregnancy, know when to call in labor, and get to know the midwife that might be supporting your family, so you are comfortable with her care during birth.
Joining a visit to learn about birth helps to take away your fear. If birth doesn’t go straightforward, learning how to know what is normal will help you avoid difficult conversations during labor when there might not be much time to talk, or phone calls might be difficult to understand.
The way you live will affect how mom feels, which affects how the baby grows. If there is stress in your relationship, this will show up in the health of your baby and in the health of the birth. Families with loving, respectful relationships with open and loving communication usually experience the least traumatic births. Likewise, a husband making healthy, low-carb, high protein, and dark leafy green food choices will improve a wife’s ability to eat healthy, wholesome, and balanced.
What is Dad's Role IN LABOR
If you’re unsure if these contractions will continue, encourage your wife to drink one or two glasses of water (with cucumbers or watermelon), eat something with protein, change her activity, and consider a 20-minute bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts. If these things stop contractions, it isn’t time. You can also do some activities to help reposition baby, which you can learn at a prenatal visit.
Encourage your partner to continue her daily routine if labor isn’t strong or regular, or to go for a walk. Focusing too much on contractions and thinking about contractions usually makes labor take longer. If labor starts in the evening, encourage her to go to bed early so she has rest before labor gets strong. If she wakes up in the night or morning with contractions, encourage her to drink some pregnancy tea and eat something with protein that is easy to digest so her muscles will work well. Remind her to pee every 90 minutes.
Don’t push things along. If mom and baby are feeling supported, both are healthy, and mom can drink, eat, sleep or rest, and use the bathroom, there is no reason to make labor start or go faster with herbs or medications.
Love her how she likes to feel loved. Rub her back, kiss her, hold her hand, tell her she is doing wonderful, and she is strong, pray with her, keep her drink full, be calmly available.
What is Dad's Role in the FIRST HOUR AFTER BIRTH
This is still part of birth. Until the placenta has been born, until baby has nursed, until everyone has rested, it is absolutely vital that the hour or so after the birth is kept calm and completely focused on your wife and baby. This is absolutely not the time to start chatting about anything else. Your wife’s body needs her to be completely focused on baby and birthing the placenta to help her avoid hemorrhaging and to help her body finish birth. This might take 5 minutes, and it might take an hour. She may need to change positions or pee. If your wife is concerned, stressed, had a long or difficult labor, is distracted, or if there is a lot of chatting after birth, she is much more likely to bleed too much. Give her a warm blanket, warm tea, and nourishing food.
What is Dad's Role IN POSTPARTUM
Be sure your partner is resting, hydrating, and eating well. Positively support breastfeeding. Don’t give the baby water, sugar water, formula, a pacifier, or any supplements that aren’t needed. Encourage your wife to feed the baby every time the baby acts like they want to nurse. Yes, they CAN still be hungry. Breastfeeding is a vital sign for a baby and one of the healthiest choices we can encourage, especially often. Reach out to your midwife or lactation counselor for breastfeeding help. You may need to be the one that knows all the support people in the area, has their numbers, and makes the effort to schedule appointments for help in these early days and weeks.
Get the baby bodywork when needed (it’s usually helpful for all babies). Make sure mom has plenty of support for at least the first 6 weeks so she can focus on breastfeeding and healing. Especially in the first 3 weeks after birth, mom needs to be resting a lot: no house work, no cooking, and help with older children and pets. A healthy mom creates a healthy home. It takes her body up to 18 months to heal between births, so avoid pregnancies spaced too close together to avoid future complications.
If you're looking for whole-family guidance through the childbearing years, reach out for care and support at www.MOVbirth.com.