As a man, it can be extremely difficult to support your partner through a pregnancy and the birth of your child. It is completely normal to feel helpless; after all, you don?t actually feel any of what your partner feels, so it is impossible for you to know exactly what she wants or needs. This is especially true when those needs are changing all the time! It is common for there to be friction at this time, but try to see past any petty arguments and think about the outcome ? a new baby that will need you and love you.
Both before and during the birth, there are lots of things you can do to be there for your partner. Here are our top tips;
Be involved in the preparations by getting involved in writing the birth plan, buying things for the baby and packing a bag for labour and birth. You could also decorate a nursery, clear out the clutter or spring clean to get the home ready for the baby. Being involved in the preparation for the new arrival will help with any birth anxiety you have as well as easing any worries over what life will be like when baby arrives.
Knowing what it likely to happen during the birth is very important for any prospective father. It is essential that you know what will be happening; it will demystify the big event and make any unexpected turn of events less scared and easier to manage. The last thing you want during the labour and the birth is to be asking your partner or the midwife what is happening, what it all means and what will happen next. Having a decent understanding of the stages of labour will help your partner too ? many women find that they forget or lose concentration and need to be reminded of where they are in the process of labour, and you will be the ideal person to reassure and remind.
Cutting the Cord
If you and your partner wish, and whenever medically possible, you can have the option of cutting the umbilical cord that connects your baby to your partner. This is a very symbolic and moving part of the birth, so if it something you want to do make sure you make those wishes known early in the process so that it can happen for you. The same goes for skin to skin contact after the birth ? this is beneficial for baby and Daddy so speak up if you want this bonding time.
You might find that during the labour and birth your partner changes her mind often about what she needs or wants; so you might be rubbing her back when she decides she can?t bear it, then you might be giving her space when she decides she wants her back rubbed. She isn?t doing it to annoy you! Patience and understanding at this stage are essential. Labour is a very difficult time and it is common for women to feel very isolated in what they are feeling. Focus on the fact that very soon, your baby will arrive and you will both be united in how you feel again.