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Labour + birth

01st Oct 2023

Labour advice: An expectant dad asked the internet and it delivered

Jody Coffey

The perfect husband doesn’t exi….

An expectant father, on the lead up to his wife giving birth, wanted to ensure he had all the information and advice he could so he could support her during labour.

Taking to X, Dave Whiteside asked: “What is one thing that your partner did, said, or brought to the hospital that really helped you through your birth experience?” and what he received was a compilation of the best advice from parents with lived experience.

Over 1,400 people jumped into the comments section under Dave’s thread with advice that is too good and too important not to share.

If you or your partner are counting down to your baby’s arrival, the following advice, from those who have done it all before, may be helpful.

In-Laws and Visitors

One user’s answer for how they kept their partner relaxed and supported during childbirth was short and sweet: “Kept my MIL out of the room.”

This time is precious for parents, and while grandparents may feel that they deserve a place in the delivery room, your partner may not love the idea.

Having the conversation first about their thoughts and then following through on delivery day will make sure there are no stressful or uncomfortable surprises.

The same applies for friends and other family members visiting.

“Also, you need to be the bad guy. Kick visitors out when it gets to be too much. She shouldn’t have to,” one advised.

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Hospital Staff

While in the hospital for the birth, it’s easy to forget your surroundings and just be focused on the labour and then the arrival of your sweet baby. However, hospital staff go above and beyond making sure you, your partner, and your new arrival are safe and healthy without expecting anything in return.

One user says supporting the healthcare system to keep your family safe is a way to show love.

“You can support your partner by supporting the healthcare personnel responsible for her. Bring coffee and snacks, especially for the nurses and learners, especially if you’re there overnight. Sometimes they’re even too busy to pee, let alone grab a coffee.”

Staying Awake and Present

Labour is a long, painful, and tiring journey. The closest a partner can get to the experience is to stay awake, be present, and go through the tiredness with her for chats, cuddles, hand squeezing, chapstick providing, and so on.

“Bring extra chapstick. And if she has a csection help her stay awake during the procedure,” one user wrote.

“Hold her hand and be there to help her focus. I had to look into my husband’s eyes to focus. Don’t be alarmed if she grabs your shirt. It’s part of the process. For some reason that seemed to help,” another advised.

[caption id="attachment_434223" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Credit: Getty

Keep Her Watered & Do not Eat

While you may not be the one pushing, you’re still in this together, so if she can’t eat, you probably shouldn’t tuck into that footlong sub in her presence.

“Don’t eat in front of her. I was HUNGRY when I was in labor but couldn’t eat. My husband knew better than to chow down in front of me,” a parent posted.

While the mum-to-be may not be allowed to eat, water is going to be her saviour. Invest in a big water bottle that can be filled repeatedly and keep her hydrated for long periods of time.

“When your wife asks you to bring her some water, she doesn’t mean fill a Dixie cup by the sink. She means to fill up that gallon jug they gave her at the birthing center and make sure it’s ice cold,” another recommended.

Also, once the baby has arrived, please make sure your partner gets the meal of their life. Remember, there is no law that says she has to eat hospital food, and she has earned a feast.

“hospital food is..uh…hospital food, so you’ll definitely want to add ‘delivery man’ to your list of duties. But don’t worry Dad, you got this!” one user cleverly reminded.

After Care

One user pointed out that the support doesn’t end when the labour is over. In fact, it’s during this time that the new mummy will need all the support she can get. From medicines to postpartum undies, toiletries, and clothes, the list of things she has to consider has never been longer.

“Be responsible for her aftercare. If a doctor comes in and says, “this medicine every x hours,” write it down, give her the medicine, remember to ask the nurse for it if shifts change.”

Credit : Getty

The same applies for her recovery; if she has had a C-section, one user made a point of letting the expectant father know there is no timeframe on walking, so don’t add pressure if she’s not up and moving around in the days after.

Prepare for everything

One user made sure to remind David that sometimes all the planning in the world can go straight out the window, so it’s important to be prepared for all outcomes. Have the conversation with your partner, and go through every possible scenario.

“In case something unexpected happens, my husband has to be the one to get all the instructions from the lactation consultant—how to assemble the pump, clean it, etc.—because I was on magnesium and barely coherent, yet I still had to pump for my NICU babies.”