We’ve come a long way since those days when a husband paced back and forth in the hospital hallways, waiting to hear the new that his wife had given birth so he could start passing out those cigars with the pink or blue bands!
Nowadays partners are encouraged to participate in the birthing process. Instead of keeping them out in the hallway we are inviting them into the birthing room. Whether you have a traditional family or not, it is important for your partner to actively participate in your pregnancy. The more involved your partner is, the more support he can give you during your pregnancy, labor and delivery.
In a recent study, women who felt that their partners were being supportive during pregnancy felt less emotional distress during their pregnancy and after giving birth than women who thought their partners were less supportive. Women who felt more social and emotional support from their partner in their second and third trimesters had fewer symptoms of post-partum depression and anxiety after giving birth. And interestingly their babies were less sensitive to stress, which meant that the babies also benefited from the support of the partner.
Even though you are the one carrying the baby, your partner has an important supporting role in your pregnancy. Share in the excitement. This is an amazing time!Sharing throughout your pregnancy
Plan meals and go for walks together. In order for your baby to grow and develop, you need to be as healthy as possible. Make sure you are eating well and getting appropriate exercise. Have your partner join you. By the way, if either of you are smoking, now is a good time to stop.
Have your partner accompany you to your prenatal appointments if at all possible. Both of you will get lots of information and can share in the excitement of seeing that very special first ultrasound.
Take a childbirth class together. These classes are very informative. They will prepare both of you for the delivery room. And your partner will learn techniques to support you during labor. You will also meet other expectant parents and can share information, tips and experiences.
Schedule a Massage for Labor appointment. This is a one on one lesson that teaches your partner how to give you a massage. Most partners will rub your feet or your back for a few minutes. Here they will learn to really ease the aches and tension in your body caused by the changes your body is going through. He’ll actually learn how to give you a full body massage and learn specific points to help support you during labor.
It’s always a good idea to have a birth plan, so write one together. Since your partner will be advocating for you during delivery, it’s a good idea that he or she be aware of what you want. This gives both of you an opportunity to discuss issues such as who you want at your birth and what interventions you may or may not want.
Communicate. Decide where you want your partner to be during the birth. Should he be near your head so he can talk to you and offer words of encouragement? Or should he be at your feet, waiting for the baby to appear so he can catch him?Shared decisions
Here are a few other things you may want to decide together:
- Will your partner cut the cord?
- Do you want your partner to take pictures?
- If you and your baby are separated, who do you want your partner to be with?
- Do you want your partner to immediately hold the baby skin to skin?
After the baby comes it may be awhile before the two of you have time alone together, so take advantage of this time when there are just the two of you and plan some “dates.”
These next 9 months are exciting for both of you. Enjoy them together.