5 Ways to Help an Expectant Dad Through Childbirth
It may come as a surprise that the father's place in the delivery room is a relatively new concept. In the 1950s it was rare to see the father at a child's birth, but today as many as 86 per cent of fathers are present.
However, many of these men don't fully understand their role in the delivery room, which leads to a sense of unease.
What can you as a medical professional do to help them through?
Stay calm and be understanding
Men can often feel a little helpless when it comes to childbirth. Even if he likes to feel in control of most things in his life, there's a good chance he will be out of his depth in the delivery room. He has no choice but to put his trust in the health system.
Let him be confident that you are in control of the situation. Keep calm, try to empathise with his position and focus on a smooth, safe delivery.
"Would you like a cup of tea or coffee?"
This is such a commonplace question that it can make any situation seem normal – even the delivery room. When he first arrives at the hospital and is feeling a little jittery about the whole process, offering him the home comfort of a hot beverage is a great way to ease the tension.
Keep him busy
Things are a lot less uncomfortable when you have a clear direction. Ask the father to assist with small tasks, from helping to calm the expectant mother to getting a fresh glass of water. The actual task isn't particularly important, but his sense of usefulness is essential.
"You know her best. What can we do to make her more comfortable?"
Recognise the father for the one thing he should be an expert in: the expectant mother. He knows her favourite things, how she communicates, what relaxes her and most importantly how to support her emotionally through an uncomfortable labour. He can help the birth go more smoothly, which in turn keeps his mind occupied and as relaxed as possible in the circumstances.
Include him in postnatal care
Traditionally it is the new mother who takes the lead in caring for a newborn baby. However, involving the father in postnatal care help new parents digest the vast amount of information together.
The father might be able to help the mother with her breastfeeding technique when she leaves the hospital, and both parents can contribute to tasks like changing nappies and wrapping the newborn.
Both mother and father are new to this and have much to learn. Your contribution in the delivery room can get them off to the best possible start.