Labor is a marathon, not a sprint. Although the greatest prize is waiting at the finish line, it can be easy to lose sight of that during a long and painful labor so sometimes we need someone to encourage us through it. While some women are likely to find themselves cursing their husband and probably the entire male species, others find that their birth experience isn't filled with all the expletives.
Not to mention during this high stress period, how your significant other is acting may in some cases have a major impact on your mood or overall state of mind. Most women are lucky to have someone in the delivery room with them that is completely supportive and knows exactly what their role is during this time. Other women aren't so lucky.
Birth can throw everything at you. It's considered one of the most panful things you can experience, but since we can't change women's biology, the man in the room can at least feed you ice chips and hold your hand during this beautiful experience. This is not a time for social graces or mascara. Birth is beautiful and raw. Your man is going to want to be there for you and to see your child come into the world, and there are many, many reasons why you should want him there yourself.
16 Bring the Ice Chips
Labor most likely isn't the first time that your pregnancy "glow" is coming from sweat and throw up. For medical reasons, it is best not to consume anything other than ice chips and some clear liquids, if your doctor says it is okay.
There is usually no food allowed in labor and really trying to eat a cheeseburger while you're having contractions doesn't really sound all that fun anyways. When you're in labor, a real meal is nothing compared to the pain of contractions.
Unfortunately, throwing up can often be a symptom of labor which is another reason for the clear liquid and ice chip diet enforced in hospitals. You should definitely be able to count on your partner to get the ice chips and feed them to you while in labor. That seems minimal in comparison to holding your hair back or worse holding the barf bag while you puke up the snacks he brought.
14 Hold Your Barf Bag
Have you ever thrown up peanut butter? In case you've never had the pleasure, it is quite smelly and disgusting especially when you're mid throw up and can't sit still because of contractions.
This is your lucky day to use that, "We're all in this together," ideal to enlist your partner to hold some odd shaped, blue bag to your face while you throw up the last of your stomach contents and probably some will power as well. In case he didn't get enough practice with the "morning" sickness, this will be good preparation though for the spit up to come once the baby is born.
13 Keeping You Comfortable
It is your partner's duty to make you as comfortable-well, as comfortable as a person can be while pushing another human being out of her body. Giving birth is hard, painful work. There is a reason they call it "labor."
This comfort can include anything from fluffing your pillows to massaging and putting pressure on your back if you're one of the lucky ones who gets to experience the joys of back labor.
Even just providing a distraction to the pain can be an added comfort. Labor comes with hot flashes and cold chills so many rooms have individual thermostats. One of the best things your partner can do for you is changing the temperature in order to try and make you as comfortable as possible. Added bonus is if he can do it without complaining he's hot or cold.
12 "Everybody Poops"
The muscles needed to push a baby out of your body are ironically also the muscles needed to push a bowel movement out of your body. Hate to be the bearer of bad news and inform those men who really still believe that girls don't fart or poop, but we do. It is a totally natural and rather common occurrence during labor to poop on the table.
There are many women who worry about this and fear being embarrassed by pooping on the table in front of their doctor, family, or significant other. This fear can actually get in the way because women will resist the natural urge to push causing the pushing stage to take longer and making this part of labor even worse.
Your partner should be your support system 100% during labor and delivery whether that means pretending he doesn't see the poop on the table or laughing with you through it.
11 Keep You Calm
Labor can take hours, even days. It is stressful and painful. Keeping a clear, calm head can make it much easier to handle contractions. Some women may fear hospitals, needles, or blood which can create added stress during labor and delivery. Your partner should be there to reassure you that everything will be fine, rub your back, and simply remind you of the beautiful baby that you're about to meet.
It can be scary, especially if you have any kind of complications. A partner who can remain strong so you can freak out will be a great comfort. He can remind you of breathing techniques and hold your hand the entire time.
10 Motivate You to Walk Around
A great deal of research shows that walking around during labor can be an effective means to manage pain. While you're in labor, it can be difficult to find the motivation to get up and walk around. As long as it is alright with your doctor, a walk can help you manage pain and progress labor.
If this method may work for you, your man should be walking with you and encouraging you. Now it may not be appropriate to race down the hospital hallway, some motivating can definitely be helpful in getting you out of bed and walking around. In some cases, women have even been known to do a dance in the hallway trying to encourage labor to progress.
9 Remind You of Your Birth Plan
Some doctors encourage writing out a formal birth plan, although some labor and delivery nurses will laugh and swear it is a jinx. Written or not, it is more than likely that you have some idea of what you want as far as pain management and such. It is just as likely once you are actually experiencing labor that you'll be begging for drugs you swore you wouldn't want.
Your partner should not only remind you of what your plan was, but also why you wanted it that way. Understandably circumstances and feelings change because no two deliveries are the same. He should also support you if you do decide to still change your mind, because honestly let's face it- when you're giving birth you don't really have the time to remind him that you're always right.
8 Handle Visitors
When it comes to baby time, everybody and their mothers want to visit. Many know as soon as you arrive at the hospital now due to relatives and social media. However, you are well within your rights to not want visitors right away or even ever.
While you're in labor and afterwards finding a way to politely decline visitors or manage scheduling really isn't a top priority. This is one job that some nurses will do for you or that you can definitely pass to your hubby during your hospital stay. You should be able to count on him to make sure your wishes concerning who visits and when are carried out.
7 Update Relatives
Whether we like it or not, our mothers, mothers-in-law, and many other relatives want to know to what's going on and when they can visit. Handing over the phone so your husband can handle keeping people in the loop is one less thing for you to worry about while in labor. Plus it really isn't all that easy or efficient trying to talk on the phone while having contractions.
Even though everyone will want to come and visit as soon as possible, it is okay to take some time for yourselves with your new baby. You can have your partner inform them of when it is okay to visit and hold them off with some information about labor, delivery, or baby's measurements.
6 Be Your Entertainment
Labor is a long process. Before active labor, there is a great amount of down time. It is easy to get bored especially when you're stuck in a hospital room. Your partner can bring movies, card games, magazines, or really anything that can serve as a distraction without needing too much focus or thought.
This is one occasion where it is completely acceptable to make him watch your reality TV shows or chick flicks with no complaining allowed! Load up a Pinterest board with recipes, catch up on your Candy Crush, or some pointless celebrity drama in the magazines.
There is a reason they say laughter is the best medicine. If your partner can make you laugh, it will distract you from the pain and lighten the mood. This may actually be the time for simple, silly "knock, knock" jokes to keep your mind off of the pain. Have him make some funny faces or tell embarrassing stories from his childhood- anything that will get you giggling and forgetting about the human trying to push its way out of your body!
5 Hand to Hold
No matter how tough you are, labor hurts. Contractions, especially back labor, are a pain we wouldn't wish on our worst enemy. No one should have to go through that alone. You are going to want someone to hold your hand for blood draws, IVs, or simply to squeeze during contractions.
In TV shows and movies, this is really all the support person seems to do besides remind you to push and that's because it is such an important job. Hand holding can be so taken for granted, but it is so valuable. Human touch reminds us that we aren't alone. It reminds us that we have support especially in such a crucial time when we so desperately need it!
Labor is scary, painful and difficult, and it is more than acceptable to admit that. It's perfectly normal to be scared and just want someone to hold your hand. It can be so relieving to take some of the pain out on your man by squeezing his hand as hard as possible during those tough contractions.
4 Be Your Cheerleader
UH RAH RAH! Labor and delivery is hard work and unfortunately not totally a team effort, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't have a great support system cheering you on. Your partner is known as your support person in the delivery room for a reason. There is a major psychological component of labor.
Having someone cheer you on and encourage you can be that extra motivation to get through it. You're going to want someone by your side to remind you to breath, drink your water, push, and that you'll get through it. It can be so, so easy to lose sight of what's on the other side of those earth shattering contractions so it can be helpful to have someone there to remind you of the beautiful baby who will shortly be in your arms.
3 Take Pictures
The birth of your child is a priceless and beautiful moment and allow your husband to channel his inner photographer. Take pictures. Some may even chose to videotape for posterity.
No one will care if you're sweaty, wearing makeup, or whatever the case may be. These are pictures you are going to want for the rest of your life and your child's life. They can be pictures for just you or pictures to share, it doesn't matter. You will want to remember this and no matter what unless you have the perfect photographic memory you will eventually get fuzzy on details. You won't remember the pictures you took, but the ones you didn't.
2 Be Your Advocate
Whether you're in active labor with full fledged and mind boggling contractions or have some any medical complications, it can be extremely difficult to communicate for yourself. This is the time where you need someone in your corner.
You may need someone to speak for you, and you're going to want them to actually know what you'd want. You need someone to be looking out for you and having your back. It is always good to have someone making sure you get the best and fairest care possible.
In a clear state of mind, it can be difficult to fully understand all of that medical mumbo jumbo. Comprehending all of it while being in active labor can be nearly impossible. It is important to have someone by your side who can think relatively clearly and know what the best decision is and what your decision would be.
1 Make You Top Priority
You are having a baby. Nothing else should matter. This is not the time to put on the "big game" or catch some Pokémon in the hospital hallways. In that moment, there is nothing more important than you, your baby, and a healthy delivery. You should be able to count on your partner to be there for you 100 percent in this emotional, stressful, and wonderful time.
Many women can be in labor overnight. If you're lucky, you'll be able to get some sleep. However, if you are having close or strong contractions it can be nearly impossible to catch a moment of rest. It can be EXTREMELY annoying if your man is fast asleep while you're in labor. To be fair, everybody needs sleep just like everybody poops, but you should be able to count on him to wake up for anything you may need or any medical circumstance during labor.
No matter what duties you gave your husband, you should be his number one. Labor is a time where social graces can get thrown out the window. It doesn't matter if he's on the phone with the pizza man or the President of the United States, your needs are the most important thing in his world at this time.