Being a female work partner can be overwhelming, to say the least. The best way to prepare is to do some research beforehand, so you can feel confident giving your laboring mother the support and encouragement she needs during labor.
Knowing the different stages of labor, timing your labor, knowing when to go to the hospital, and having an idea about your labor plan will relieve your own stress during this eventful time in your life.
It is important to remain calm and supportive during this process. You are your woman's most important source of comfort and often her voice. Research shows that the more support a partner provides during childbirth, the more positive the outcome.
So if you're wondering how to best support your wife throughout the process, here are some things that will help:
Don't put off your research until the last minute. The last thing your wife needs in labor is giving her birth and you're looking for advice on your phone. Find out the stages of labor ahead of time so she can count on you to be there that day.
• The first stage of labor consists of three stages: early stage, active stage and transition stage. The early stages can last up to 12 hours, with up to 20 minutes between contractions. The active phase lasts up to 6 hours and the contractions are more intense. Usually they are 3-5 minutes apart. If you haven't been to the hospital, now is the time to go to the hospital. The transition phase can last from a few minutes to a few hours. This is when things start to get really intense, with contractions 2-3 minutes apart.
• The second stage of labor is the push and start of labor. This can take a few minutes or up to several hours. Your baby will be born at this stage, on average about an hour.
• The third stage is the delivery of the placenta. This can happen within half an hour of your delivery. Have a blanket for her, as her body might shake a little once she regains her strength.
Labor usually lasts a few hours, so you can schedule labor from time to time to find out how she's doing. This should only be done frequently early in labor if you notice changes in the intensity or timing of contractions. This lets you know when to go to the hospital.
A wives in labor have plenty to do, so it's important to pack your medical kit. Most pregnant women pack a few weeks in advance, so be proactive and have something ready. A change of clothes, comfy shoes, clean socks, toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, cell phone and charger, and snacks will suffice.
What used to make your wife feel calm and comfortable may now drive her crazy at some point during labor. Don't take offense. Just try different techniques or just provide affirmative support.
There are many coping strategies you can try during labor. In the early stages, stroking her arms, back, or hair may be very soothing, but as the intensity increases, holding her hand or encouraging her may be enough. You can also give her a heat pack, ice, or even a bath to ease her discomfort. You know your birth mother better than most, so let her inspire you and get involved.
Your job as a supervisor is one of the most important things. You may not have the same ailments as women in labor, but your partner will look to you for reassurance, comfort, calm, and confidence. You're her advocate, so don't be afraid to ask questions you're not sure about to put your mind at ease.