Better informed is better prepared. Partners are often unsure of their role when it comes to preparing for childbirth and how they can help. I am often asked how men can prepare in order to support at the birth, so here are a few pointers:
Make sure you go out your way to get as much information and do as much preparation for the birth of your baby as you can. Go with your partner to antenatal classes. The more information you can get the better prepared you will be.
- Get a playlist.
Get your partner to put together a play list of her favourite relaxing slow dance music. One evening, each week during the pregnancy slow dance with her to that playlist. When she is in early labour dance with her to the play list to help keep her moving.
- Massage your partner.
During the pregnancy, regularly massage your partner’s body with oils, if you can. Not for the purpose of initiating sex but just so she can experience deep relaxation. Massage her shoulders, her back and the base of her spine whilst she is on her side. Also, as often as she will allow you, bring her to climax through massage, this will be very useful towards the end of the pregnancy when the hormones responsible for orgasm are in the same family as the hormones that are responsible for birth starting.
- Adrenalin rush.
You produce adrenalin when your partner is going through birth in order to protect her. What should you do when you get this adrenalin rush?
Be aware that the feelings of fear and flight or fight that you get when your partner is giving birth has an evolutionary purpose. These feelings are designed to equip you to protect your partner from her feelings of fear. Being aware of that is really important.
- Your role during the birth.
Your role when your partner is giving birth is to protect and shield her from feeling fear. How should you do this?
Be prepared to guard her privacy. Make sure that the only people who are in the room are those that need to be there.
If it’s night time or there is an opportunity to dim the lights. Make sure you are responsible for dimming the lights.
Make sure your partner is kept warm.
Massage her, if she wants you to. Touch her often and connect with her physically. This will cause both your bodies to release more of the “love hormone”. The release of the “love hormone” creates feelings of contentment, reduces anxiety, increases feelings of security & calm and also is important to parent-baby bonding.
Avoid talking to her when she isn’t talking or doesn’t appear to be engaging. Reduce the amount of questions she is being asked.
- Listen to her.
During the pregnancy sit down with your partner and find out what she is afraid of and listen to her fears without speaking or interrupting. The key to good listening is to listen with nothing on your mind and hearing what she is saying. Find out what her key fears are.
- Birth Bag.
Take responsibility for packing the things that you will need in the birth bag. Items like food, drink and reading material – not that you’re not going to be involved in the birth process but take responsibility for your things.