Supporting your wife during labor and delivery: What dads should do

It’s been a few months, pregnancy has been okay, and your pregnant wife or girlfriend is not as bad as they make it seem in the movies.

She keeps getting bigger and like clockwork is going through all the pregnancy stuff you read about in the books.

Then this dreaded thought comes to mind:

Do I really have to be in the delivery room when my wife gives birth?

A sentence no future dad has ever dared to say out loud in the history of mankind!

But I can bet some good money that most dads think about it – just not out loud.

Well, guys, the answer to that question is yes, you do have to be in the delivery room. There are a few exceptions, but most dads are expected to be there.

There is a good reason we are in the delivery room, and that is to support our lovely wife, girlfriend, significant other, etc.

You see, pregnancy is hard, working while pregnancy is hard, giving birth is hard, breastfeeding is hard, being a mom is hard. Basically, everything that happens to a woman while she is pregnant and thereafter is hard.

Your job is to help her and do little things that make her life easier. We do not have to go through all the physical pain and suffering – yet in the end, we still get this amazing little baby. Do you realize how extremely lucky we are as dads?!

Supporting our wife in the delivery room is the absolute least we can do.

I went through it all – I was in the delivery room with my wife for a good 21 hours. Her water broke, and we rushed to the hospital around 11 pm at night. She gave birth at around 7:30 pm the next day.

Trust me, it was not easy, but it is doable. Plus, I feel like our delivery may have lasted a bit longer than the average one. So I have a ton of tips on what you can do to make it a bit easier for both you and your wife.

Just keep in mind, no matter how tired or exhausted you are it is nothing compared to what the mother of your future child is going through. So be a trooper, and let’s get started. Here are nine things you can do as a dad to support your wife during pregnancy.

#1 Bring out your inner Boy Scout – be prepared

To be ready for the delivery room and to support your wife through labor and birth you must be prepared, like Boy Scouts. During labor and delivery, you are in survival mode with high stress for hours at a time.

There are a few ways to prepare:

  • Pack up your hospital bags
  • Pack up food and snacks for yourself – things to give you energy
  • Research what goes on in the delivery room
  • Learn what you can and can’t do at the hospital – such as taking photos and video
  • Figure out a route to the hospital and learn where to check-in
  • Have your insurance and vital documents ready
  • Decide on your baby’s name

Most hospitals offer a tour of the maternity ward to expecting parents. If your hospital offers tours, I suggest you take advantage and go on it. Ask questions and take notes. You do not want to be wondering about things days or hours before your wife goes into labor.

My wife may have nagged me about all this stuff – but it was totally worth getting ready and not having to worry about anything once we arrived.

#2 Gather her favorite things for the delivery room

If you have read any of my posts, you will see a reoccurring theme about the importance of music. I involve music in every aspect of life – to relax, to get me motivated, to help take care of my daughter; seriously everything.

Of course, when it came to getting ready to have our baby, my wife and I put together a playlist of songs she wanted to hear during labor.

She had a few different playlists, and with several hours of labor, we listened to a ton of music! What we did was take my wife’s laptop, it has good speakers and worked great. You can do the same or take your Bluetooth speaker or whatever works best for you.

My wife wanted to watch her favorite movies to keep her mind off of the labor and pain, so I also took my Apple TV and hooked it up to the hospital television – I even packed up every cable possible to ensure we could get it connected. My ultimate goal was to give my wife exactly what she wanted.

I also took an extra blanket and pillow for myself – although my wife ended up using them. Nonetheless, they came in handy. My baby was born on my Child’s Play blanket with Chucky’s face sprawled across it.

It was essential to my wife to get some high-quality photos – so I also packed up her camera.

As you can imagine, our hospital room was full of stuff and yeah we looked like first time parents – but I would not have had it any other way. My wife was happy, and there was never a moment where we said, “we should have brought…”

**This is a MUST-READ for future dads:**

Caring For Your Pregnant Wife Guide: 60 Ways To Be Her Hero

#3 Go into robot mode – do what is needed

You should really do everything you can for your wife as soon as you find out she is pregnant if you have not been doing this then start immediately. Do so especially during those tough final months.

In the delivery room, you only exist for her. You can go into robot mode and just do what everyone tells you because in those moments what you think does not matter.

Do what your wife, doctor, and nurses say. Just do everything you can to help. Luckily, my wife had a normal delivery; the only issue was she took hours for the final half-inch needed to dilate.

Now, if your wife has complications or anything, you may need to snap out of your “robotic” state to pay attention to what is going on – just keep doing everything you can to support your wife. Do not stop.

#4 Be cool, man

Many things can and will happen in the delivery room. You may end up a little overwhelmed at times but trust me, you will be so busy worrying about other things that time flies by.

Always stay calm, no matter what is going on. Your wife will look to you to see your reactions to everything, and you just have to be strong for her. Reassure her that everything will be okay and let her know you are there for her.

If things get complicated or you get stressed, here are a few other things you can do:

  • Breath with your wife or do a meditation
  • Put on a show on or a distraction
  • Get reassurance from the hospital staff or doctor, ask questions
  • Step out of the room and get yourself together
  • Visualize the outcome of finally being able to hold your healthy baby
  • Do something nice for your wife like rub her or whatever you can to make her feel better (when she feels better you feel better)

#5 Shut your trap

If you are tired, hungry, exhausted or all of the above, let me tell you now, nobody cares!

Nobody cares about how you feel, and you should never complain out loud. Well, it’s not that nobody cares, but this is the time when you should focus on your wife.

Complain to yourself if you need to or call someone but whatever you do – do not complain in front of your wife. What you are going through pales in comparison to what your wife is going through. Do not minimize what she is going through by whining.

She will be looking to you for support, give it to her and let her know that all three of you are going to get through this just fine.

It all goes back to being her rock and being strong for her.

#6 Breath with her**

Learn about breathing techniques during your wife’s pregnancy. Here’s the thing – I do not think my wife’s epidural worked or maybe it wore out. All I know is she was in significant pain for hours on end.

When it comes to pain, there is not much you can do – except ask for more medication, although there comes a point when more medication does not do anything.

That is why breathing is one thing that will help your wife make it through those rough contractions. Contractions vary, sometimes they are strong and last long, sometimes they are shorter, and the pain is mild. You can see them on the monitor – trust me when they get extreme you are going to want to help her any way you possibly can.

No matter how silly you feel or time-consuming it is, practice breathing ahead of time. There are various breathing techniques and methods – choose the one that works best for you.

If your wife is not sold on the breathing techniques at least learn about it on your own so you can coach her if needed. There are some excellent videos on YouTube that will walk you through it.

**Do not skip this step! Trust me.

#7 Do not leave her side

Okay, so you are allowed to take a restroom break – but other than that, you want to be with her the entire time.

That is why being prepared is vital, you do not want to miss a thing because you had to go home to pick up something. Or to do something trivial you forgot.

The entire labor I was with my wife. I left to take a shower the morning after she had the baby (the hospital is less than five minutes away from our house) and took a nap while my mother-in-law took care of my wife and daughter. But other than that I was with them in the hospital the entire time.

Which reminds me, if you have pets or other kids, have someone on standby to take care of them. Since my wife’s labor lasted long, we stayed in the hospital for about three days before we got released. I had my buddy take care of our pets.

It was awesome because my sisters cleaned our entire house and finished up the nesting my wife was doing before her water broke while we were in the hospital. So when we got home, our house was spotless, and we could focus on our daughter. If you do not have amazing sisters (shout out to my girls), look into hiring someone to clean – trust me it is awesome bringing your baby home to a clean environment.

#8 Be her watchdog

Pregnancy is tough on both you and your wife because when she does not sleep neither do you. Those last days of pregnancy she was restless, so there were several nights that I was up with my wife rubbing her back and trying to help her sleep.

The night before she went into labor was one of those tough nights. We probably slept but a few hours, went on with our day and at about 10 pm was when her water broke (at Walmart, haha). We were easily up for over two days straight – luckily my wife was able to sleep during labor for a few hours. I stayed up watching over her, monitoring her contractions and making sure she was okay.

You may get tired and exhausted, but being there making sure both your wife and baby are okay will take over and give you adrenaline to keep you going. Make sure you have snacks that provide you energy, I ate trail mix, beef jerky and I drank coffee.

Yes, it is exhausting, but being there for the loves of your life is totally worth it – besides you can rest in about 18 years or so.

#9 Tag team

Most hospitals allow two people to be in the delivery room – find out what your hospital’s policy is.

My wife wanted her mom to be in the delivery room with us, and that was a huge help. Having another person to support your wife is exactly what you will need as things get tough and the hours grow long.

It is incredibly beneficial to have someone supportive with you and your wife. You and that person can tag-team in taking care of your wife and dealing with the hospital staff.

Talk to your wife about who she wants in there, it’s her decision, and if she does not want anyone else there, that is her choice, not yours.

Also, talk to your wife about visitors after she has the baby. As soon as my wife had the baby we had about five people storm into our room wanting to see the baby and my wife. Which is fine, but my wife was absolutely exhausted and could barely keep her eyes open.

She was not ready to have visitors.

I wish I would have known to allow her some time to recuperate before allowing visitors. Guys, it is your duty to make sure your wife is comfortable and ready for visitors, even if it means saying no to people.

**Further reading for dads and stay at home dads:**

Stay at Home Dad Misconceptions & FAQ in 2019

How to Make Chocolate Covered Strawberries for Your Loved One

Stay at Home Dad’s Daily Toddler Routine from Foo Fighters to Bath Time

9 Amazing Reasons Being A Stay At Home Dad Is The Best Job Ever

7 Questions to Think About Before Making the Decision to be a Stay at Home Dad

Final thoughts

For one second put yourself in your wife’s shoes – there is a seven-pound creature in her body and there are only two ways for it to come out. Both are painful and scary.

Plus, birth happens after nine months of body changes and weight gain. That is not fun. Which is why you must be there for her the entire time, beyond the delivery room.

Pregnancy and birth are things that no woman should have to go through alone. If you are present in your baby mom’s life, do whatever you can to help her through the tough times.

Take action, be proactive and prepare – most of all when you are asked to do something – just do it. Do not make a face or procrastinate, your wife’s instincts are kicking in and her body is telling her what she needs and what needs to be done.

Listen to her! If she feels that your restroom needs a new shower curtain before the baby is born – then go out and buy a shower curtain. This is the only way to give her the much-deserved piece of mind.

Most of all, be strong for her as she goes through the most excruciating life-changing experience of her life. Remember, this is life-changing for you too and when you think back you want to know that you did everything you possibly could for the mother of your child and your baby.

How to Be a Successful Dad in the Delivery Room: 9 Tips
Article Name
How to Be a Successful Dad in the Delivery Room: 9 Tips
A guide to being a successful dad and husband in the delivery room during labor and giving birth. 9 tips on how you can help during labor and be supportive.
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Not A Power Couple - Stay at home dad. Working mom.
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