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Pregnancy Weeks 38-Birth - Page 4

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Dad's role during birth

Many expectant fathers want to know what they can do to help their partner during labor and birth. Dads play an important role in supporting mother-to-be, both physically and emotionally through labor. Labor can be a lengthy process and both of you may become very tired and emotionally tested, especially if this is your first baby. It can help if you understand the process of labor and what will happen as your baby is born. The information you learned in your childbirth classes will help you now, and the labor nurses and doctor or midwife are always willing to answer questions.

How involved a dad becomes in the whole experience can vary. He may want to participate actively in some things, and leave others to the health care team. Here are some tips for dads during the labor and birth process:

  • Know how to get to the hospital, as well as an alternate route if there are traffic delays.
  • Be supportive. Always keep a positive attitude and encourage mom. Tell her what a great job she is doing, no matter how slow or tiring labor may be. Be strong when she is in pain.
  • Be flexible. The relaxation and breathing techniques you learned in childbirth classes may have to be adapted to what works for her.
  • Anticipate her needs. She may be hot, cold, or thirsty. Be ready with a cool or warm cloth, and ice chips if allowed.
  • Keep unwanted visitors away. If you need help, ask the nurses to explain that mom needs some quiet time.
  • Take some snacks with you to keep up your strength, but don't eat in front of her, as she may not be able to have solid foods, or she may be sensitive to odors.
  • Don't be afraid to take a break and get some fresh air or a meal in the cafeteria. When labor reaches the active stage, mom will have a nurse with her at all times.
  • Follow the hospital rules. Smoking is not allowed inside most hospitals, and the use of cell phones is usually restricted. Ask about photography or videotaping policies.
  • Enjoy this wonderful event. Seeing your baby born is an unforgettable experience to treasure.

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