How Moms Can Get Their Partner Involved in Pregnancy and Childbirth
When I found out that I was pregnant with my first child, I remember feeling an overwhelming sense that my life had changed in that very moment. A few days later, my husband called me on his way to work and said, “You know what I was thinking? Your life is already so different, and I still have nine months to adjust. Isn’t that wild?” I rolled my eyes and proceeded to sob uncontrollably. Thank you, hormones.
But my husband had a point. Making the transition into parenthood is a new experience for everyone, and it is important to get your partner involved from the get-go.
Here are some tips I offer to my expecting parents during pregnancy:
Communicate. One of the most important things you can do as a mom-to-be is to talk about what you’re going through with your partner.
Take a class. South Shore Hospital offers a number of classes to help prepare couples for labor, birth, and parenting. In my experience, classes help partners build confidence because they leave with information on the changes that happen during pregnancy and how to support women through the process.
Bring your partner to some of your prenatal visits. The initial visit is especially important because it is full of information on diet, exercise, travel, changes to expect throughout the coming months and any restrictions that are recommended to help keep your baby safe during development.
Here are some tips for partners during labor:
Support your mom-to-be during early labor. South Shore Hospital does not admit women until they are in active labor, which is typically when the cervix is dilated to a minimum of 4-6 centimeters. That means it is not unusual for moms to come in with contractions but are better off at home or in our Early Labor Lounge to work through those first few centimeters of dilation. Having a partner who is prepared to offer suggestions regarding position changes, hip squeezes, counter pressure, hydration, food, and rest can be just what a laboring woman needs to get her body and mind ready for the next phase.
Be a grounding force during active labor. We encourage couples to walk together, have the woman lean on her partner during contractions, and sway and breathe together. Partners can offer counter-pressure to the lower back, or squeeze hips together to make more room for the baby to descend through the pelvis. Women often find hydrotherapy a good tool for pain management, and partners can use the shower nozzle to run water over the woman’s belly or back, offer sips of water between contractions, and continue to provide words of encouragement.
As midwives, we value partner involvement just as much as you do, and we are always here to offer suggestions and help guide your family through this journey, because there can never be too much support when you’re working on birthing a human.
To learn more about midwifery care at South Shore Health, click here.