If you worry about how he’ll handle seeing you in labour, some preparation steps can definitely help you both.
Whether you picture your partner passing out at the word ‘dilated’ or being 007 calm while he mops your brow, there are still plenty of steps you, and he, can take to get him ready for the big day. And you’ll both benefit – we promise.
So, get his mate on speed dial and start adding to your Amazon basket. Here’s our best advice…
What he expects
Try not to assume you know what’s going through his head. Instead, have a chat about how he imagines birth and any concerns he has. ‘That way, you can dispel or work through specific worries he has, and think about solutions,’ says Kicki Hansard from Doula UK.
You can also warn him you may want him rubbing your back one moment and nowhere near you the next – it’s normal and not a dig at him.
Get him to do his research
Seeing someone you love go through a tough experience can be difficult, but if he knows what to expect during labour, he’ll feel reassured and know how to support you best at different times.
‘Get a book, buy a dad-specific birth preparation DVD or suggest he has a chat with a dad friend who you trust to inform but reassure him,’ says Kicki.
Create an action plan for him
Talk about specific things he can do to help
Talk about specific things he can do so he doesn’t feel like a spare part, and make sure he’s comfortable with suggestions.
This could be anything from controlling the birth playlist on your iPod to cutting your baby’s umbilical cord and revealing the gender. ‘Also ask him to be there while you write your birth plan so he can communicate your wishes if you can’t at any stage,’ says Kicki.
Pack the bag together
You’re in the throes of a contraction, and suddenly you hear, ‘Sorry love, where’s that lip balm you wanted?’ Not ideal. ‘Pack your hospital bag together and make one for him too,’ says Kicki. ‘He’ll have everything he needs and also know where your things are when you want them.’
Consider extra support
If he’s really struggling or panicking, talk about hiring a doula or bringing a second birth partner with you. ‘Another person gives you both some added support and means you’re less stressed worrying about how he’s coping,’ says Kicki.
After all, if there ever was an occasion for you to prioritise how you’re getting on…