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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 or heard about from your friends.

Then this dreaded thought comes to mind:

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

We all know the answer is yes for most of us, so this post is going to answer – how can I support my wife during labor and delivery.

There is a good reason you need to be supportive in the delivery room, and that is to support your lovely partner through one of the toughest moments in her life.

After reading this post, you will be able to do little things that make her life more comfortable.

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 fortunate we are as dads?!

Supporting your wife in the delivery room is the absolute least you can do

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. I included a bit of my experience to give you some perspective.

#1 Be prepared

To be ready for the delivery room and to support your wife through labor and birth, you must be prepared. 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.

Knowing if you will be in one room the entire duration of the hospital stay or if you will be in multiple rooms is information you will want to know.

Also, knowing where baby goes once she is delivered is another good thing to know. You do not want to wonder, ‘where did my baby go, and when will she be back’ knowing the policy will give you an idea of what to expect.

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

Here is a quick list of things you can take to comfort your wife in the hospital:

  • Slippers or flip flops – whichever she prefers
  • Robe – a comfortable one that can help her cover-up when she moves around the hospital
  • Pajamas – preferably some with a button if she is going to breastfeed
  • Her favorite lotion or toiletries – especially if there are scents that bring her comfort
  • Portable speaker – create a playlist of music too (we used her laptop)
  • Entertainment – usually there is a television with cable, so if your wife wants something extra take it for her (we took our Apple TV)
  • Pillow and blanket – my wife, ended up using the blanket I packed for myself because she was extra cold

You may not end up using everything, but thinking ahead and putting in an effort to show your wife how much she means to you can be significant to her. Having a few bits and pieces of home can be comforting during a time of uncertainty.

You just might have to take a few trips back and forth to your vehicle! If you are using public transportation – you will need to curtail what you take with you.

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 the pain. 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. We definitely used it, and I am thankful to have those pictures.

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…”

**These are a MUST-READ for future dads:**

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

50 Powerful Ways To Be An Amazing New Dad

First 20 Things To Do When You Are Going To Be A Dad

How Dads Can Help With Breastfeeding an In-Depth Guide

Pets and Your Baby: Prepping and the First Months

#3 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 and your baby. Do what is best for them. Any requests she may have try to take care of them as quickly as possible. 

Do what your wife, doctor, and nurses say or midwife depending on your type of birth method. Just do everything you can to help.

Know the basics of your wife’s medical history, like drug allergies, and if she has had any health complications in the past.

You never know what type of birth curve ball you may go through during labor. Labor can be long, or things can happen quickly, and sometimes there are complications.

If she had trouble with her pregnancy, make sure you know those details to share with the hospital staff that may not be familiar with your wife’s history. If your wife is in unbearable pain, she may not be able to communicate well.

Be aware and follow your hospital’s procedures. If the doctor asks you to step out, do so, just stay nearby.

Also, keep in mind that things change, in the moment, her preferences may change. If the pain is unbearable and she suddenly wants medication, just roll with it and make the request.

#4 Stay calm and help her get comfortable

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

Seeing her in pain can be difficult because all you want to do is make her feel better. Just try your best to 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.

When your wife is going through contractions and pain, there is a delicate balance in terms of your support.

You want to support her how she wants without being annoying! Assess what makes her feel best. What you did the fifth hour of her pregnancy may not work during the tenth hour.

She may enjoy your enthusiasm at first and then just want silence after a while – you never know. If she offends you for any reason, do not take it personally, she is overwhelmed and most likely not herself.

You may need to help her walk or move around. One thing I had to do was help the nurse change my wife’s position to get her comfortable since my wife was stuck to the bed she could not walk (the nurse was pregnant herself and struggling).

 

You can also help with positioning her bed, pillows, blankets, and her surroundings overall to get her more comfortable.

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)

There may be moments when you feel helpless, just know that your presence and support are tremendous contributions. You will help your wife get through this!

#5 Stay strong

You are going to get tired, hungry, and exhausted. The adrenaline will keep you going, but you may get to a point where you need to do something about it. If you packed snacks, eat. If your wife falls asleep, try to rest. If you have family or friends around lean on them.

Try your best not to complain out loud. Keep the 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.

Plus, you do not want her to start worrying about you – she needs to focus on herself and the baby.

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. It was unlike what we learned in our classes.

When it comes to pain, there is not much you can do – except ask for more medication, although she may get to a point where more medicine 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 breathing techniques, at least learn about it on your own so you can coach her if needed. Some excellent videos on YouTube will walk you through it.

**Do not skip this step! Trust me.

**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 Da

#7 Do not leave her side

You are allowed to take a restroom break – but other than that, you want to be by her side 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.

Dedicating yourself to your partner and the new baby is critical while in the hospital. You want to make sure they are both doing well.

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.

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. it is incredible bringing your baby home to a clean environment.

#8 Be her watchdog

You both need to do your homework and come up with a birth plan. Consider things like whether or not your wife wants pain medication and the environment she wants.

While most of the birthing choices are hers (you can give your opinion), know what her wishes are, so when you are in the delivery room with her, you can speak up for her. 

You know your wife the best, so you know if something is not right, let the doctor know.

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 for two hours and then went on with our day. At about 10 pm, her water broke (at Walmart, haha). We were 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 and the 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 and visitors

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 the delivery room. 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. 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.

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 peace 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.

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How to Be a Successful Dad in the Delivery Room: 9 Tips
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How to Be a Successful Dad in the Delivery Room: 9 Tips
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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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