How to Encourage Your Partner to Participate in Your Birth

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Many women want their partner actively involved in their birth. For some women that means they want him to be their main source of physical and emotional comfort. For others, simply having him there to hold a hand and stroke their hair is enough. Whatever role a woman wants her partner to play, there are a few ways to encourage him to participate.

First and most importantly: give him credit. We can be so quick to discredit a man’s ability when it comes to birth and babies. If given a chance, most men will rise to the occasion and give their laboring partners what they need and want. If you assume he’s going to sit on the delivery room couch and play games on his phone, chances are he will do just that! But if you talk to him about what you need beforehand and trust him to do his part, he will probably surprise you.

Another way to get your partner involved in your birth is to make a birth plan together. Explain what you would like to happen and anything that you would prefer to avoid. Ask him for his opinion. Make it clear that you will need his help to achieve these birthing preferences in the delivery room. Ask him to be sure that all your nurses get a copy of your birth plan when you go into labor and to ensure that whatever doctor you get also sees one. Remind him that he can be your voice when or if you cannot speak.

Do pregnancy and relaxation exercises together. Before you go to bed, take a few minutes to stretch your pregnant muscles. Have him do the stretches with you or facilitate your relaxation by providing a soothing massage. Be sure to tell him what feels good and provide positive feedback. This is a great time to tell him that this is exactly the kind of support you will need in the birthing room.

Take a childbirth education class together. Women have varying degrees of knowledge about labor and birth but when it comes to men, first time dads are universally clueless. Taking a class together will educate him on the physical process of birth, teach him how to assist you during labor and open a dialogue between the two of you.

Assign your partner concrete tasks, like assembling a playlist, packing bags for the hospital and providing you with water during labor. Many partners like to have clear, specific instructions in situations where they are nervous, unsure, or stressed.

Today, most partners are expected to be present and assist in the delivery room. They can provide support and encouragement that no one else can, but they need some assistance to learn how to best assist you. Taking your partner through these steps will help ensure that you both achieve a satisfying, supportive birth experience.

 

 

Today, most partners are expected to be present and assist in the delivery room. They can provide support and encouragement that no one else can, but they need some assistance to learn how to best assist you. Taking your partner through these steps will help ensure that you both achieve a satisfying, supportive birth experience.

 

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