Many partners don’t feel prepared for pregnancy or their baby’s birth, especially when it is their first baby. It is natural to feel ambivalent about money, becoming a parent, or what the future holds. The best solution to solving your worries is by becoming informed. Talk to other parents, your pregnant partner, or a health care professional. You’ll find out you’re not alone!
A healthy baby isn’t just a mother’s responsibility. Everyone involved plays a role in the pregnancy and birth process. You are a very important part of your partner’s pregnancy. Your choices and attitude can immeasurably affect her and your baby.
It’s very important to keep stress levels low. Recent studies suggest that stress is harmful to pregnant women and they are more likely to have unhealthy babies. Pregnant women say the major cause of stress is a difficult relationship with their partner. She needs you to be calm, patient and supportive.
Because of the numerous physical changes in a woman’s body during pregnancy, it is common for her to be less than comfortable. These changes can affect her mood, too. Ask her how she is feeling. If she’s not feeling well, ask her what you can do to help her feel better. It may be something as simple as getting her a drink, helping with the dishes or caring for your older children while letting her rest for a few minutes. It takes a lot of energy to build a baby within you. Your kind and thoughtful support is key to helping her pregnancy be a positive experience.
The job of birth partner is hard and rewarding. Having a caring person with the mother during her labor can make her more comfortable and confident in her ability to give birth. For the coach, being present at the birth of a baby is one of life’s most unforgettable and rewarding experiences.
Don’t feel alone if you are a little worried about what birth may hold for you as a labor coach. The most common concerns coaches have are whether or not they’ll be able to give their partner the assistance and support she will need during labor and birth. Knowing what to expect, however, is a good way to ease your nervousness.
Usually the baby’s father is also the woman’s birth partner/labor coach. However, a labor coach can be anyone the mother-to-be trusts to help her, such as her mother, sister, or a good friend. A coach’s job begins well before labor. The labor coach needs to learn along with the pregnant woman what they can do to work together in the experience of labor and birth. That means learning about birth, attending childbirth classes, and practicing the relaxation and breathing techniques learned in class. By attending childbirth classes together, your presence at classes, as during labor, is reassuring to her in an unfamiliar situation and surroundings. In order to attend to her needs during labor and birth, it is important to understand what she has been taught and to practice it with her. By practicing the techniques you learn in childbirth classes, you become familiar with them and these techniques soon become second nature to you. They are life skills that can also be used long after she gives birth. Remember, birth is like running a marathon–you will face challenges and you need to be prepared to face those challenges.