You are full of anticipation – and perhaps you also have weak knees – as you await the birth of your small son or daughter. You would like to experience your child coming into the world and be of help to your partner. You can find out how to do that best here:
Firstly and importantly: Memorize the route to the hospital or birth centre (if necessary, memorize routes which avoid traffic congestions)! Even if it seems a little strange, drive the route once or twice to test it. Nothing will make you more nervous than losing your bearings while your wife is suffering the pains of labour.
Remain as calm and relaxed as possible at all times. This attitude will rub off on your partner and help her to bear the pain of childbirth more easily. Only in a relaxed atmosphere is it possible to break the spiral of anxiety, tension and pain.
Motivate your partner as soon as you notice that her energy is diminishing. Encourage her and admire her endurance and strength. Try to visualize your baby – that’s the best form of motivation!
In the breaks between the contractions, massaging your partner’s neck or back can be very pleasant to relax tense muscles. However, ask your partner first if she wants this. Too much loving attention can sometimes be annoying in such a situation!
Your partner may suddenly feel really hungry or thirsty during labour. If this happens, offer her light food rich in carbohydrates (e.g. a muesli bar, banana or biscuits) and water or diluted fruit juice. Midwives recommend dextrose as an energy kick for in between.
And don’t forget to pack a snack for yourself!
Childbirth is a mighty feat of strength and will cause your partner to work up a proper sweat! Every now and again, it will do her good if you dab or cool her forehead. Despite sweating, many women in labour have cold feet, which is not really conducive to the birth process. In such cases, massage your partner’s feet and pack them in warm woollen socks.
Be particularly kind to your partner – stroke her, cuddle her if the situation permits, and tell her how great she is doing.
Don’t be put off if she accuses you of being an idiot because you have done this or that wrong. Your partner is in an exceptional situation and may not even be able to remember afterwards that she ranted and raved at you.
Now you can show what you have learned in the antenatal classes. Actively breath along! This is a great support, particularly during the dilation contractions.
In so doing, you help your partner to maintain the desired breathing rhythm as well as the deep or shallow breaths required as the situation demands. You will see that by concentrating on breathing, it is easier to relax and let go.
Have the courage to leave the delivery room if you feel like it. Perhaps you will have circulation problems (particularly if you do not like the sight of blood) or you might become dizzy. That is all completely normal and many men experience this in the delivery room. So don’t be shy in saying that you are not feeling good.
Often new fathers are asked if they wish to cut the umbilical cord. It’s no problem to say no if you do not want to do this. What is important is not to force yourself to do something you don’t want to.
By the way: Studies have shown that the relationship of a couple who bring their child into the world together becomes much closer and intensive after the birth than it was before!