What your partner can do?

What your husband can do in the early stages

  • If she wants to be alone – let her
  • Make sure arrangements are taken care of – babysitting organised if you have older children, pets looked after, parents informed etc.
  • Practise timing contractions
  • It’s easier said than done but rest as she will need you at the end.
  • Even if you are feeling anxious then don’t show it – just stay calm and relaxed
  • Keep your sense of humour – time flies when you are having fun and this will be your last few hours just the two of you so try and enjoy them.
  • Eat – maybe not a great big burger in front of her but you will need to maintain your energy levels too
  • If she wants your company then sit with her
  • Encourage her to move around
  • Massage her back or feet to promote relaxation
  • Tell her you love her
  • Trust her – she may well know the best time to go to the hospital so let her decide
  • When you decide to go to the hospital phone them and let them know you are coming in
  • Be patient with her if she is grumpy
  • See if there is any last minute things to sort out
  • Respect her wishes with regard to visitors – if she doesn’t want any then don’t invite them or turn them away if they show up uninvited and if she wants the whole family there – make lots of coffee!

What your husband can do whilst labour is progressing

  • If she has had an epidural then check that she is feeling ok and doesn’t need a top up.
  • Encourage her to be as uninhibited as possible.  By acknowledging her pain in birthing the baby you are supporting her if she needs help and showing her that she is not alone.
  • Be there but give her space.  She may not want you anywhere near her at this stage so follow her cues.
  • Don’t waste words – now is not the time for small talk or jokes. Encouragement and instruction are needed – both of which should be brief and direct.
  • Offer encouragement unless she wants you to be quiet.
  • If it helps her then breathe the contractions through with her
  • Help her rest and relax by touching her stomach when a contraction is over – remind her to do slow deep breathing
  • It may sound strange but a kiss from a loved one, a moment of reassuring tenderness can produce a spike of oxytocin which in turns helps the body relax and the baby to come quicker.
  • If the contractions seem to be coming closer together and she feels the need to push – then get help.
  • Let the professionals do their job
  • Offer her sips of water and check if she is warm enough
  • Stay focused on what is to come – ignore the insults and don’t be hurt if she doesn’t want you near her.
  • Don’t worry if your wife focuses on the medical staff caring for her. 

What your husband can do once the baby is born?

  • If you have a doula then she will be helping out with the more practical issues whilst you enjoy some quality time with your new family.
  • Offer congratulations!
  • Begin bonding with your new baby.  Don’t forget that they have heard your voice a lot whilst inside their mummy so it will be familiar and comforting to them.
  • Don’t forget to cuddle the new mum as well.
  • Ask for an ice pack for her perineal area if one hasn’t been provided.
  • Ask for some juice for mum as she will probably need rehydration
  • Don’t forget to take those photos
  • Remember skin to skin is a great way to bond with the baby so lay them on your chest and enjoy the snuggle.

Stay with the baby – they will have to have their weight checked, blood type, apgar score checked (more on this later) so it’s nice for them to have a comforting presence nearby.