Preparing Your Partner for Childbirth

When you think about the impending birth, you’re probably worrying about how you’ll cope on the day, what will happen and whether it will all go to plan. With all that on your mind, it’s no wonder you’ve forgotten to consider how your partner will cope. Preparing your partner for childbirth is almost as important as packing your hospital bag, and it certainly isn’t something you should overlook.

There are plenty of horror stories about dads-to-be fainting in the delivery room and missing the birth, or infuriating the mums-to-be by asking how long is left. The birth of your child is one of those life changing moments, so make sure your partner is prepared for what’s going to happen, and how he can help on the day.

Give him homework
If he has any chance of being useful, he’s going to need to know what to expect in the delivery room. From bodily fluids to labour noises, he needs to be ready for whatever you’re about to throw at him. There are plenty of great books designed to coach dads-to-be in preparation for labour, so why not pick one out for him? There’s loads of information online, too; he could even watch some birth videos. Prenatal classes are the best place to pick up information about the birth. Your prenatal teacher will explain the labour process in detail, and answer any questions he might have. If you’ve enjoyed using this app, you could also ask him to download our new Baby+ App. It has hundreds of interesting articles, tools and great features.

Talk to friends and family
The best way to learn about childbirth, is to speak to people who’ve been through it. The best people to speak to are those who have recently experienced it, because the information will still be fresh in their minds. Ask questions, and tell them you want all the gory details. Ask the dad what it felt like for him, and what he had to do. This will give your partner ideas and prepare him for the big day.

Great expectations
Let him know any expectations you have, so that he knows what you want on the day. If you’re expecting a back massage during labour, make sure he knows in advance so he can learn some massage techniques. If he can often be found playing games on his phone, let him know that he shouldn’t do this in the delivery suite.

Taking care of himself too
One rookie mistake that lots of first time dads make, is that they forget to look after themselves on the day. The don’t eat, they don’t sleep, they don’t even stop for toilet breaks, and as a result they end up an exhausted, shivering, weak mess by the end of it all, utterly unable to offer you the support you need. Make sure he packs energy drinks and snacks for himself, and makes sure that he’s in the best state to be able to support you to deliver the baby.

Talk it through
Keep communication lines open at all times. You might be scared of impending parenthood and the birth, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t. In fact, you might find he shares all of your fears and has a few of his own too. Encourage him to talk to you about his feelings, so that you can work through any issues and prepare for any potential problems together.

Do you have any tips on how to prepare to be a birth partner?

Do you enjoy this App? Good news! You can now also download our new Baby App (iOS only, but Android will follow soon!). Click here to install the new ‘Baby+’ App, and prepare for the arrival of your little one(s).

Written by Fiona, proud owner of a toddler, @fiona_peacock

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice.  All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

Fiona PeacockPreparing Your Partner for Childbirth

Comments 12

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  4. Chalene Mahon

    This is so important to remember. When having my first baby i was so clued in to what was happening my body. I read every article i could and had even learned about impending birth in my studies for my diploma. Coming up to the birth of my daughter my hubby worked long hours and missed the prenatal classes but at the time i thought this wasnt a big issue, after all i could fill him in. After my first graphic class i came home traumatised and my sis in law who came with me was likewise horrified. After talking it through with the drs i passed what i felt was ness on to my husband so not to freak him out. On the day my husband was as supportive as can be. He tried with back rubs, informing family, trying to make me laugh. Trouble was we never talked about what i expected of him and i kept getting annoyed he wouldnt just leave me to “suffer in peace”. When labour kicked in properly, he was terrified. He put up a gd front but i could see it in him and knew right away it was because he just didnt know what to expect. After he admitted that he at one point thought this cant be normal its been hours of pain something must be wrong and his mind was thinking the worse was happening. He explained this is why he kept asking the midwife. Is she ok. Looking back i feel bad cos he really was clueless and prob needed to know how intense it can get and my expectations for him. After all no one reads minds and having the hunni would u like this talk at 6 cm isnt the ideal time for a calm and pleasent convo about how you feel about him.
    With baby number two we have talked the topic to death. He knows now when the goin gets tough i like to suffer alone but have him there to look at and fix my anger for 4 hours lol. He knows how i want support and most of all what to expect from the situation at hand. Especially since we have a toddler at home, it was how i wanted to deal with labour and know what we wanted care wise for her also and when he should be where.
    I appreciate we go through alot but it can be fightening for them to, so a heads up wouldnt kill them. The shock of not knowing what labour is like might tho lol xx

  5. Layla

    My due date is just over 2 weeks away and my guy is being very chilled about it all which I can only assume is down to his ignorance on the subject!
    Even though I got him to attend the prenatal class all about the birth and we toured the birth suite where it’s all going down, somehow I don’t think he’s taking his role as ‘birth partner’ onboard. This is probably because I’ve said my mum will also be in the room and he thinks that will take the heat off him, but if I’m totally honest I would prefer just the two of us and I’m hoping he’s going to step up and surprise me on the day, god knows there’s nothing else I can do to prepare him I’ve already got me and bump to worry about! His attitude could definitely be better but then again I’m glad I don’t have a partner who’s more scarred than me, I guess I should take his calmness as a reassurance that everything will be just fine

  6. Heather

    My husband is the god father to 2 children under the age of 10. He was in the delivery room for both of them. I know he will do amazing and has already said he can’t wait to cut the unbilical cord!

  7. Sue

    I’m not worried about how he will cope. At a time like that he can man up and fend for himself lol. He is a great husband and he will do his own homework. Having a 2 year old at home and being 9 months pregnant this article is still to me! We go through the worst pain someone could go through and we are sopposed to remember to worry about how someone else will cope? Lol

  8. Janet

    My husband have 4 kids,but all of them have being c-Sections,so noe that our baby is going to b natural,his sooo nervous,I’m praying that he won’t feel sick on that day

  9. Judy

    My husband always said that he had enough experience. He has 2 teenage daughters already, but l just worried the “enough experience” won’t fit new situation now.
    Blessed we both…

  10. Marley

    While my husband and I took antenatal classes together I worry that during the actual event he will let his anxiety take over because every birth is different. That sounds really horrible on reflection. I’ve included him in the birth plan and want to make sure it goes swimmingly for him but until we get into the Birth Unit who knows? As he is my only support person I am acutely aware of the pressure on him so I might need to have the awkward conversation. At the end of the day though all I want is for him to be calm, relaxed, supportive, funny and keep up with the massaging and kind words of encouragement. Fingers crossed. We only have 2.5 weeks to go…

  11. Emily

    My husband took birth classes with me and has been so supportive. I’m so glad he took the time to learn…turns out he had a lot of misconceptions – for example, that you have to push the whole time during labor! Going to classes and appointments certainly also gave him a deeper respect and appreciation for what I and our baby are going through in this whole process, and I appreciate that.:)

  12. Dominique

    Prior to the prenatal class we took I was concerned about a lot of things. My husband sounded so confident he would be able to handle anything but only had a concern about c sections. We both took a prenatal class just to be better informed and understand what exactly to expect. Turns out he had more concerns than he expected to have but was able to have all of his questions answered, learned what was expected during the labour and ways he could help me cope. I have complete confidence in him because of this that he will not falter in his attempts to help me and will remember all of the different natural pain relief techniques available. Being informed with factual information I believe is the biggest tool you can arm yourself with. Understanding everything that is going to happen makes it a load easier to accept and be prepared for mentally. keeping communication between you and your partner about worries or concerns prior can help him help you or vice versa overcome them before they turn into a scary monster lol.
    personally, I used to be scared to start labour… odd to say but, now I am actually looking forward to the experience because I get to meet our baby in the end when it is all over! Whatever I go through will be worth it just for that moment!