Women are resilient creatures able to withstand anything and can go through unimaginable pain and still come out smiling. Women are said to never get sick or suffer pain because they do not have that luxury. A sick woman will take care of her fit husband no matter how she may feel. It is this resilient nature that takes her to the labor ward and sees her come out with a bundle of joy, smiling from ear to ear and looking like a champion without a hint of the scars of war hidden under the smile.
To manage that smile, she has to adhere to the set of rules that come with labor. Most women find them hard to follow but when followed, she comes out saying ‘that was a piece of cake.' Because a woman has such strength, most people assume she does not need anyone, but the truth is, when it comes to labor, she needs someone to hold her hand and give her the courage to keep pushing.
The person who holds that hand has to follow his own set of rules. This not only makes the mom's labor experience memorable and special, it ensures that the relationship after labor is a lot stronger.
20 Mom: Arriving At The Hospital Too Soon
When labor starts, it is not like in the movies with an ‘ouch, my water broke’ exclamation. Labor is progressive and to have that baby, a woman's cervix has to dilate to ten centimeters. Unfortunately, some of us freak out and we rush to the hospital even before the husband has time to put his slippers on. Labor contractions can start today, only to have the baby come tomorrow, so rushing to the hospital just because there are contractions is not advisable.
When labor starts, take your time, carry your bag without rushing out and everything else you may need for your stay in the hospital. Arriving too soon will leave the mother exhausted physically, as well as emotionally and it raises the chances of being turned away.
19 Mom: Eating Greasy Foods
Most hospital policies are such that a woman in labor is not allowed to eat. According to We Have Kids, labor has been likened to running a marathon. Keeping hydrated and eating light is important once contractions start. This is because, when labor kicks in, digestion slows down and whatever is eaten sticks around and chances of it coming back up are high.
That is why most laboring women who do not adhere to this rule keep throwing up in the middle of labor. When one goes into the active phase, it is okay to take sports drinks as these contain electrolytes.
18 Mom: Elect For An Episiotomy
This one happens mostly because doctors tend to mislead their patients and we fall for it. We are regaled with horror stories of babies tearing out of the womb as they come into the world, leaving the nether regions in a mess. Most women in our chat groups inform us that a clean cut is best.
During labor, when the doctors inform us that the baby is too big and that we may experience a tear, we rush to elect for an episiotomy for fear of getting torn. This is a bad idea. It now emerges that an episiotomy is unnecessary and that a tear heals much faster than a cut.
17 Mom: Scheduling An Early, Induced Labor
There is this story that moms tell each other, that when the baby doesn’t come on the D-Day, he is late. Then there are those people who were born on a certain day and want twining birthdays with their child and so they decide this is the date. These are the characters who schedule early induced labor.
When one is cooking, food has to be cooked just right and not rushed and it most definitely should not be removed from the fire half-cooked. This is the same principle that should be applied to babies. Unless there is a medical reason for it, the baby should be allowed to come when he is ready.
16 Mom: Choosing A C-Section Over A Natural Birth
Most of us are afraid of childbirth. No one is a champion when it comes to this and it is even worse for first-time moms who have nothing to go on apart from parenting books, doctor google and of course Facebook chat groups.
Unfortunately, all these sources do nothing to alleviate the fear these women have for childbirth and that is why many elect to have a C-section, preferring to have someone remove the baby than have the baby ‘tear' his way out, leaving poop in his wake as most of these gory chat groups inform us.
15 Mom: Over Exerting Yourself
We have all read about this in Facebook chat groups and sworn to try it when our time comes. Most women swear that if one is past their D-day, walking up and down the stairs or dancing will jolt the baby into a desired to exit. This concept has been popularized by You Tube videos of women dancing through labor.
Doctors warn against this and inform us that our fear that inactivity will slow down labor is just that, fear. Once active labor kicks in, inactivity will in no way derail labor. It is advisable to conserve energy because one will need it when the final stages of labor sets in.
14 Mom: Fighting The Process
Yes, labor is hard and painful and traumatic for some, but childbirth is something that the woman’s body knows how to do. There are times when a woman finds she requires medical interventions to have the child but, the rule here should be intervening when absolutely necessary.
It is vital to assist the birth process and root for a successful vaginal birth as it comes with a myriad of benefits from faster healing, easier bounce back, as well as a shorter hospital stay. The best way to go through it is to try different birth positions, paying attention to the body cues and keeping the muscles relaxed through the contractions.
13 Mom: Hyperventilate
Birth classes are good and are especially so because they give the woman lessons on how to breathe during labor. Breathing too fast or over-breathing can lead to dizziness, feet tingling, fainting and even numbness.
Mothers are advised to especially master breathing from the diaphragm as this kind of breathing helps one to relax and relieve stress. It also helps to oxygenate the deep tissues in readiness for labor. This is beneficial to both the mother and child. The benefits of deep breathing can therefore not be gainsaid as it also helps one to be able to face the labor challenge ahead.
12 Mom: Letting It Come Out In Screams
This is a labor no-no. Not only is it irritating to the spectators, it is also not a good idea for the woman in labor. Women are encouraged to make low guttural noises and moaning during labor as this exerts pressure on the diaphragm and keeps it, therefore, aiding the process.
When one screams though, it irritates the vocal cords leading to release of pressure above as opposed to below. Screaming happens because the woman is losing control and getting swamped with emotions. This is why it is advisable to have a birth partner. Someone to remind you to breathe and rub your back and most importantly, hold your arm through it all.
11 Mom: Sticking To One Position
According to Today’s Parent, movement helps to reduce discomfort during labor. Unfortunately, most hospital policies insist that one has to be strapped to an electronic fetal monitor and an IV, just in case. All these gadgets tend to restrict a woman’s movements and labor becomes a back thing that, unfortunately, will work against the woman in labor.
Other ways of laboring, be it upright or squatting are assisted by gravity, making labor a lot easier. Being the one in labor, a woman has a right to choose how she labors and she can do this by asking if it is necessary to monitor her for medical reasons and if it is not, she should request for intermittent monitoring so that she can have the freedom to walk, sit or squat.
10 Dad: Tell Mom She's Doing #2
This has always been every woman's nightmare. Most women are afraid to go through natural labor because they do not want to do something that is often done in private and that most of us pretend we do not engage in, in front of strangers.
According to Fit Pregnancy, pooping is not something a mother can control because it is caused by the baby’s movement down the birth canal. The dad should not point this out to the laboring mother. Modesty is a woman’s pride, and labor tends to stripe her of that. Letting her know she has gone a notch lower is a no-no.
9 Dad: Forgetting The Hospital Bag
Mostly the only job we delegate to our partners long before DDay is to carry the diaper bag and get us to the hospital. Labor leaves a woman feeling like she is losing control and she has no time to remember the bag, so this menial job is given to the husband. The mistake a man can make is to rush the laboring mom to the hospital without the ‘Go’ bag.
After meticulously packing the cute little onesie, baby blankets, deodorant and hairbrush, the new mother will not be amused when she has to wait for the partner to rush home or the store to buy these things because he forgot the hospital bag.
8 Dad: Chickening Out
Some men chicken out at the prospect of labor. Maybe it is because it has been touted as the bridge between life and death, but whatever the reason, labor turns even the bravest of men into cowards. As scared and as repulsed as one is by labor, the cardinal rule is ‘do not turn up for labor while under the influence!’
After nine months of pregnancy and at the prospect of going through the scariest and most anxious filled moments of a woman’s life, the last thing she needs is an intoxicated husband who cannot offer her support. A woman in labor requires TLC and nothing epitomizes this more than being attentive and helpful during labor.
7 Dad: Making Small Talk With The Nurses
According to the Telegraph, you might be surprised at the things that can irritate the laboring mother. A woman in labor has a short fuse. It could be because of the pain, anxiety or frustration that can sometimes come. However, seeing our partner making small talk, even if it is talking about the weather with the nurses, can be the thing that makes her snap.
The laboring woman wants all the attention, not only from her partner but also from the nurses. Making comments about how his best buddy's wife went through labor mediation free like a pro will also not be appreciated.
6 Dad: Getting Bullied By Hospital Staff
The reason a woman wants her partner with her in the labor room is to not only give her the emotional support she needs, but it is also to be her mouthpiece when she is in a dark place. It is the husband’s job to ensure that he conveys his partner's desires and birth plan to the medical staff.
Be the one who nags the doctor to rush the epidural and not keep the laboring mother waiting. It is also the partner’s job to keep the laboring mother abreast of all situations and to reassure her that all will be well.
5 Dad: Complain About Being Tired
Before labor starts, it is imperative that the dad gets psychologically prepared for the fact that the labor may take longer than he expects and that he may need to stay awake for long hours as he supports the laboring mother. According to The Bump, labor can be very intense, but the rule is, if she is laboring, then stay awake. It’s not much to ask.
This rule extends to the fact that he should never say that he is tired, not even yawn. If you need a stiff drink or sympathy, the rule of the game has always been to move out of earshot and make a call.
4 Dad: Getting Distracted
Labor can be boring and even the laboring woman gets bored. For stretches of time, the woman in labor can be idle doing nothing and with nothing to show that she is laboring. Then there are those sessions of contractions when all she does is grasp your hand painfully.
Through it all, the man has to ensure he stays attentive and does not get distracted by his phone or the newspaper. News can wait and the world will not stop if he does not answer various calls during that time. For this one day, as she brings your child to the world, switch off your phone.
3 Dad: Live Streaming The Birth On Social Media
We agree, it’s the craziest, most beautiful thing you have ever seen and you are in awe of the whole process and yes, you are dying to let someone know just how freaky it was, but don’t.
All your friends may want to see what is happening and they may want to get in on the birth, but this is something that should remain private.
Do not live stream the birth and refrain from putting the pictures of the newborn on social media. At least until all the yucky stuff has been cleaned off the baby and the mom is decent and presentable.
2 Dad: Faint Or Break Down In Tears
This is where men are always told to man up. No matter what one sees or what he feels, the attention should never shift from the laboring mother to him. He should never put himself in a position where he is the patient and neither should he break into tears or faint.
The role of the man in labor is to offer support to the wife and not to distract the medical staff with his antics or neediness. If he cannot stand the sight of blood then he should not be there. Or better still, he should stay at the top of the bed as she delivers and not at the business end.
1 Dad: Stick Around The Business End
This is actually a thing. Men can sometimes be insensitive and after watching the most beautiful process of bringing a life into the world, they will watch as the doctor stitches up and micromanage asking him to put in an extra stitch for them, to tighten things up. This is not only embarrassing for your wife, it is also embarrassing for you.
Every man should know that the woman's body is able to stretch and get back to normal after the birth. Just because a ten-pound baby came out of the wife's nether regions, does not mean that the nether regions will remain the size of the baby's head.
References: Wehavekids, Todaysparent, Telegraph, Thebump, Fitpregnancy