Childbirth: What dad needs to know
What you need to know before the big day
- Labor is extremely variable and can last 2 hours... or more than 24 hours. Regardless of the birth plan, the actual delivery may not happen within your expected timeframes. Be flexible and understanding if things do not go according to plan.
- Allow your partner to freely decide whether or not to have an epidural: even though you won't want to watch her suffering, she may want to experience childbirth in all its intensity.
- The birthing pains keep pace with the contractions: the pain level gradually begins with each contraction. It increases, reaches its peak and then decreases. Between contractions, the pain disappears: your partner can use these intervals to get her breath and her energy back. As labor progresses, the contractions become more intense and are closer together. If your partner feels the need to groan or cry out, encourage her. Doing this can help her bear the pain.
- You may be surprised by your partner's attitude during labor: the way she is and the way she expresses herself may be completely different from the way she normally is. Do your best to reassure her – but without trivializing what she feels: acknowledge that what she is doing is hard and encourage her to maintain a mental bond with your baby throughout labor. Your baby is also accomplishing an extraordinary feat at the same time!
- Also allow yourself to leave the delivery room from time to time if you need to: have something to eat and talk to family or friends.