Over the last few years there has been an ongoing debate on whether or not men should be in the delivery room assisting and supporting the mommy-to-be. Until the early 1960s, men were excluded from the labour room; they sat in waiting rooms smoking cigars and exchanged jibber jabber while the mommy brought life into this world, without any pain medication –ouch!
Obstetricians today still advise men to steer clear of the delivery room for many valid reasons. For starters, every child bearing experience is different. Whether the birthing process is induced, early, or late, the delivery team has to be prepared to welcome this pure soul into the world. And if you are one of the few men who would like to be there for your partner during that wonderful moment, there are some guidelines to be followed.
For many dads-to-be who have made the decision to be in the delivery room, no matter how prepared you will always expect the unexpected. Anxiety, fatigue, boredom, panic, excitement and dizziness, to mention a few, will play a role during this wonderful journey.
Men who decide to accompany the mommy-to-be in the delivery room will encounter a wide range of disorderly and muddled emotions mainly because no man will ever understand childbirth. Here are a couple of things a man can do to avoid dizziness in the delivery room.
2 Learn The Lingo
The expecting mother has been reading all sorts of books, articles and blogs about what will happen to her body when it’s time for her to deliver. And when that time comes, she doesn’t have the energy and patience to school you on what she is experiencing.
From the first contraction to pushing stage, educate yourself on the stages of labour, complications that may occur, and please oh please familiarize yourself with dilation, crowning, transition, etc.
There's no time for Googling what a placenta is, and what to do with it when your focus should be on your partner during the last stage of labour. The doctor will drop some medical terms that you can’t spell or pronounce, pay no attention to that, make sure you know the basics!
Discuss the birth plan with the woman going into labour. Because every childbirth is different, there might be no time to chat about whether she would like pain medication or not, and waiting until she’s screaming out- god knows what- is a horrible idea!
And if the birth plan goes out the window, relax and go with the flow. Making your lady upset or uncomfortable isn't going to make a great start to the delivery process. What you can do is double check with your woman and see if she's comfortable with the changes. Be her advocate when she needs you to be.
If you haven’t had the chance to read up on the baby manual then ask lots of questions, this will also give you the chance to get to know the doctors well and anybody else involved in the delivery process. These health care professionals can put your mind at ease if things start looking complicated.
2. Accommodate Mommy-To-Be
Keep in mind this is an overwhelming time for the expecting mother, and the last thing she should be stressing about is whether or not all her favourite episodes of that show she loves have been uploaded to her tablet, or if she brought enough diapers, blankets and onesies for the little one. Make sure the baby bag is equipped with all the essentials, along with her favourite things, every single one of them.
You want to ensure that anything your partner needs, you've got it! When I was giving birth I craved pretzels all throughout my pregnancy, all the way until my angel was about 4 months. I was advised not to have salty snacks before delivering but I snuck in a few of them when the nurse wasn’t present. Pretzels made me feel better so pretzels are what I got.
Your wife won't be allowed to eat while she's waiting to give birth, but you can ask the hospital staff what you can give her. Sometimes the hospital will have treats for women who are experiencing long labour, so if you find yourself in this situation, ask once in a while if you're allowed to give your wife a little something to tie her over.
If she requires more sentimental support like massages, singing, praying or even affection, then let her have it! Women tend to seek a safe and private place to give birth. The promotion of normal birth includes enabling a woman in labour to focus totally on her own body, feelings and wishes, without distraction.
When you're by her side you provide more than physical comfort, you also give her the piece of mind that you'll be there for her when she needs you. And sometimes, just knowing that can put her mind at ease.
1 Keep Busy
Giving birth is a beautiful thing, but for births that string on for a day or two…even three, prepare yourself for long, restless and very boring periods. The mommy-to-be will have a bed to take naps on; the dad will be given an option to either sleep on the uncomfortable hospital chair or to stay awake.
Consider bringing a laptop loaded with episodes of your latest binge-watching obsession to soothe nerves while you wait. Whatever you do, never stop exercising the brain!
The brain’s incredible ability to reshape itself holds true when it comes to learning and memory. You can harness the natural power of neuroplasticity to increase your cognitive abilities, enhance your ability to learn new information, and improve your memory.
If you’re an expectant father and you’re awaiting the arrival of your little one, keeping your brain occupied is one of the most important things you can do in order to remain sane. Failing to do so will result in memory loss which will lead to losing focus and as the mommy’s supporter you are going to need to be alert to avoid confusion and dizziness in the delivery room.
You can also use up any free time you have by getting to know the hospital. If you’re there for hours on end you will need to visit the loo, and most times the staff doesn’t let you use the in-room bathroom therefore you need to map out the closest one. Hit up that vending machine while you’re at it.
But remember, even if labor is slow, everything has to be done quickly. You might miss something, or worse, you might cause your partner unnecessary irritation.
4. Ignore The Insults
Mom might not be her sweetest self when the contractions are the most painful. So being her birth partner might not be that fun all the time. But it may also be one of your most intense and fantastic experiences if the two of you manage to work together.
Some men use this opportunity as a chance to sneak out to the hallway after they have been labelled unspeakable names. When your lady is yelling and blaming you for all the pain she is undergoing, the worst thing you can do at that moment is leave. Stick by her side and don’t let go.
watched a film where the woman was giving birth and calling the husband all sorts of names, what helped the woman get through the pain was her man taking all the verbal abuse that was thrown at him by agreeing with it and using positive reinforcement.
You could look at this time as a brief passing phase of labour. Not all women are going to yell at her man as he's standing there, some might not even have the presence of mind to do more than push and moan and cry. But if she does raise her voice, it's not your fault, it's a side effect of being in extreme pain.
During the transition stage she may prefer that you don't touch her or even talk to her, but don't get angry with her. You need to understand that she is in a lot of pain and most likely afraid of the even more extreme pain to come. Use encouraging words, sing, cheer-anything you can do to make this process a smooth one, do it now!
5. Be Her Gladiator
My birth plan did not include the father of my child watching me bring his newborn son into the world, but he did. He had informed me he couldn’t stand to watch me in pain, suffering and screaming, but by the time I was commanded to push, he found inner strength to be there for me in a way I couldn’t be there for myself.
He took over the nurses’ spot and cheered me on the whole way through. He was holding my leg, helping me breathe and made me feel like a warrior. It was amazing!
Take your cues from your partner. Some women love having a massage or having their hair stroked during labor. Others don't. And it may be hard to predict ahead of time what your partner will prefer. If you feel your lady doesn’t want to be stroked, or rubbed then stop.
While a woman is in labor, she is not always able to make good decisions. Know ahead of time what she wants so that you can be her advocate if she needs one. You should discuss the different pain medications available and different birthing methods.
Best of all you can let the doctors know about her wishes, and do everything possible to keep her comfortable during the childbirth.
Remember you are there for support, and as difficult as the job may seem, imagine what the woman is going through, she is tired, scared, frustrated, hungry and probably just wants to meet her newborn as much as you do and go home. Don’t overwhelm yourself by taking on too much responsibility, keep yourself and your lady hydrated and don’t forget to stretch when nobody is looking.
6. Warning: Lots Of Blood
If you were not prepared for the amount of blood you are going to see during the birth of your son/daughter, then please refer to the first bullet point of this article. The average amount of blood loss after the birth of a single baby in vaginal delivery is about 500 ml (that’s almost as much as a tallboy of beer!). The average amount of blood loss for a caesarean birth is approximately 1,000 ml (or one quart).
Okay, stop thinking about beer and read on. Keep calm, and remember to breathe –and hey you don’t even have to be all up in mommy’s business if you start to feel faint. Most labouring women actually prefer their loved one to be by their side holding their hand rather than watching their cookie expand and pop out a human.
A leading French obstetrician, Dr. Michel Odent caused a massive controversy by making impassioned plea for men to stay out of the delivery room. For the sake of the sex life, he states that men will not be able to remain sexually attracted to a woman after seeing her vagina used for non-sexy jobs. So unless otherwise instructed by your lady, it’s cool if you stay by her side.
If you know that watching your lady bleed isn't something you're going to be able to handle, avoid going closer to her legs as she gives birth. Instead hold her hand if you can, or concentrate on her face, but for the love of God, don't look at her nether regions! And breath, don't forget to breath.
Similarly, if you're significant other is going to have a caesarean, don't go and take a peak behind the curtain the doctor puts up. It's there so you CAN'T see what's going on. On the other side of that curtain an operation is being performed. If you wouldn't watch a surgeon perform open heart surgery, why would you watch your wife have a caesarean?
7. Prepare To Meet Your ‘Precious’
If you’re a first time dad-to-be and you’ve never seen what a 2 minute old baby looks like, I suggest you get on your laptop and start Googling images of that.Newborn babies can look like Gollum from The Lord Of The Rings or something from Picasso’s Cubism period: misshapen cranium, flat or crooked nose, swollen or asymmetrical eyes, plus bruising on the face and body.
Being born, it turns out, is like going 10 rounds with a young Mike Tyson. Most of this will clear up quickly—I promise that babies get cuter by the day.
It will be hard to bond with your brand new baby right away, but truth is you don’t have much time to look at the misshapen head on your little angel. It’s not over yet! The mommy still has to deliver the placenta which means more blood. This stage of labour is called postpartum hemorrhage.
About 1% to 5% experience this and it is more likely following a C-Section. The baby’s mouth and nose have to be suctioned, tests have to done on your baby to make sure he’s functioning accordingly and dad’s favorite part – cut that umbilical cord and give you baby the cutest belly button!
During the last hour of labour it’s very easy to stay alert; so much is happening you don’t want to miss a beat. There’s a little person who is being brought into this world, and every bone and tissue in every single human in that room are doing all they can to make this the best birthday for that bundle of joy.
This is the time for you to shine as the daddy. Be there for your partner and give her the support she needs to make it through to the end. That doesn't mean smothering her with attention but giving her what she needs as she needs it. Take her non-verbal cues and be where she wants you to be.