A Dad’s Important Role in the Delivery Room
Not so long ago, it wasn’t the norm for dads to be present during the birth of their children. Just ask your own dad and a few other male relatives, and you’ll be surprised to hear how few of them actually witnessed their children being born. But times have changed, and instead of being able to recount the rugby score of the game played that day, or what the weather was doing, modern dads are now able to share the birth story of their children in great detail with anyone willing to listen. And that’s a good thing too, because your role as a dad in the delivery room is invaluable to your partner, and strengthens the bond between you and your child.
Knowledge is power, and by the time you and your partner arrive in the delivery room, you want to be armed with as much power as possible. The power to manage pain, facilitate a smooth birth, and make the right decisions is something that only preparation can give you. Speak to your partner, agree on a birthing plan, and contemplate the alternatives should things not go according to plan. You need to understand what your partner wants so that you can help her stick to her guns when birth gets difficult or complicated.
At the first sign of contractions
Now is the time to entertain and distract your partner in the most soothing and subtle way. Generally movement is best for this early stage of labour, so act as her support as you both take a stroll around the delivery room or ward. Offer up foot and back massages, watch some TV, listen to music, or play a game. Anything that keeps her calm, and detracts from her discomfort is a good idea. Listen to her needs though. If she’s not interested in a spot of poker, drop the subject!
During active labour
Swallow your pride and submit to being both your partner’s carer and slave. And head’s up, your good deeds may not be very well received by a struggling mom-to-be! But don’t let that bother you; simply soldier on in a calm and comforting manner. If you’ve been to birthing classes, it’s time to practice what you’ve learned. If not, seek guidance from a nurse. It’s your job to keep your partner focused. Lead her through a few breathing techniques, encourage her, and support her both mentally and physically. Depending on your birthing plan, you may have to be holding her up or gripping her hand.
Take a peek, and inform your partner when the baby is crowning. Just hearing that the end is in sight will give her the final motivation she needs to finish off the task. Your voice and excitement at this point is far more valuable than that of the doctor and nurses. But stay calm! You’ll obviously be blown away by the very imminent arrival of your baby, but you’ll need to keep it together and provide support up until the very end.
This is going to be an emotional and life-changing moment for you and your partner. Enjoy it! When your baby is placed into your arms, look right into his or her eyes and hold them close to your body to kickstart parental bonding. The birth process is traumatic for baby too, and this show of love is imperative to soothing baby and creating a special connection. Go with the nurses if they lay baby in a nursery to rest, and report back to mom ensuring her that all is well.
Giving birth is hard work and moms truly are warriors in this sense. But as a supportive and present dad, you can be the hero of the birthing story too. Through this experience, you set the tone for the type of father you’re going to be. And wouldn’t you want to be hands-on and proactive in your parenting style?
Woolston.C, 20/01/2016, Dad’s Role in the Delivery Room, Health Day, viewed 15/06/2016 at https://consumer.healthday.com/encyclopedia/emotional-health-17/love-sex-and-relationship-health-news-452/dad-s-role-in-the-delivery-room-643267.html