Preparing your partner for delivery
Depending on whether your partner prepares for things with research, or if they’re more of the “wing it” type, they may or may not already have an idea of what to expect from your labor – and if they’re the queasy type, “winging it” might not be the way to go. If you’re not sure how to make sure you and your partner are on the same page before the big day, there are a few different strategies for making sure you’re both as prepared as possible before it’s time to rush to the hospital, or the birthing center, or to call the midwife.
- Take them to childbirth classes: If you want a professional to explain the ins and outs of labor, check out your local hospital’s offerings for childbirth education. Bring your partner along for a crash course, and you might learn some new things too!
- Talk to them about the signs of early labor: Water breaking, lower back pain, contractions and releasing of the mucus plug all indicate that labor is approaching. Make sure you have the hospital bag handy!
- Know how to time contractions: While you’re busy coping with pain and discomfort of early labor, have your partner watch the clock and evaluate the time from the beginning of one contraction to the beginning of the next, in addition to the duration of each contraction.
- Know when to go to the hospital: If the frequency of contractions is 5 minutes or less and the duration of each contraction is 30 seconds or more, it’s time to hit the road! But if you get there too early, there’s really nothing healthcare providers can do for several hours until your cervix is dilated sufficiently, and they might even send you home.
- Talk to them what their role will be during delivery: It’s a question only you and your partner can answer, what role they’ll play when you’re giving birth. Your partner can be a videographer, a hand-holder, a cord-cutter, or all of the above when you’re in labor. There’s no way to know what your labor will be like exactly, but it’s still helpful to talk to them ahead of time about what kind of help you’d most appreciate from them.
- Make sure you’re both prepared for the not-so-beautiful parts of labor: Movies about birth aren’t generally a very good guide for what to expect, so if either of you is new to this part of the process, it can be helpful to be prepared for some of those less cinematic moments. Some women vomit or defecate during labor, for example. And after delivering Baby, your little one might be wrinkly and covered in goop. And don’t forget that you have to deliver the placenta too!