Labor tips for dads

July 18, 2010 at 10:05 pm

I also like to call this one:  “Parturient Relations:  PR for dads.”  Remember these “Five PR’s”–the most helpful things you can provide for your partner while she labors…

1. Presence

  • Sometimes all she needs is your loving physical presence.
    • Be “Rock Steady”—the familiar, strong, soothing rock she can hold on to.
  • Be “present” in every way—don’t let your fatigue or fear take your attention away from her emotional and physical needs.
  • Do NOT fall asleep (unless she’s asleep).
  • Do NOT leave her alone unless she demands it.
    • Some women prefer to be alone while they labor. (But don’t go too far!)

2. Protection

  • Be a buffer between your wife and the rest of the world.
  • You can’t protect her from the intensity of childbirth or from unexpected complications, but you can protect her personal space and surround her with peace and calm.
    • Close doors.
    • Turn off/down the lights.
    • Take over answering questions so she can keep her energy focused on her hard work.  If someone tries to talk to her mid-contraction, gently ask for them to wait or stand between them and your wife until her contraction is over signaling with your hands for them to wait a moment.
    • No matter what happens or how much stress may arise, ensure that she always feels safe and secure.  “Peace, be still.”

3. Pressure

  • One of the most helpful hands-on ways to help with the most difficult contractions is counter-pressure.
    • Use your hands to provide firm, strong, steady pressure.
      • Lower back/pelvis
      • Double hip squeeze
      • Knees while sitting with something against her back
      • Hip while side-lying
    • Do not let up until the contraction ends!  (You will probably get tired.)

4. Prompts

  • Your wife will likely not be in a position to remember all of the ways to increase her comfort, so your job is to prompt her.
  • Remember PURRR
    • P Position: Is she changing position every half hour?
    • U Urination: Is she using the bathroom every hour?  (And drinking lots of fluids?)
    • R Relaxation: Is she as relaxed as possible?
    • R Respiration: Is she breathing evenly and as calmly as possible?
    • R Rest: Is she resting between contractions?

5. Praise

    • All of your words must instill her with hope, confidence, peace, comfort, pride, and power.
    • Think of it as your job to help her get to the “finish line” without giving up.
      • “You are so amazing right now!”
      • “I am so proud of you!”
      • “You are doing so well!”
      • Kissing counts! (Some women find kissing very helpful.)
      • When she says, “I can’t do it!” reply with, “You are doing it.”
      • When she’s reached the point when she thinks she can’t do it anymore, that usually means she’s almost finished, so shower her with praise, encouragement, and lots of statements like: “You are so close!”  “You’re almost there!”  “The baby is almost here!”

See also:  Emotional Signposts of Labor