Delivery Room Dads

delivery-room-dads-620x430Dads-to-be can also experience delivery room jitters: Here are some useful tips for this once-in-a-lifetime event.

Nowadays, it’s almost always expected that dads or partners will be alongside Mom in the delivery room. For some dads, tackling this tall order can be daunting. Common delivery room fears for dads include passing out, feeling sick or nauseated, not making it to the hospital on time, seeing their partner in pain or an overall feeling of helplessness. So what’s a dad to do in order to prepare himself for this once-in-a-lifetime event? Here are a few tips:

Educate Yourself

Attending a local childbirth class can help ease some common fears. During classes, you’ll gain a better understanding of the labour and birthing process, what to expect and when, and some common hospital procedures and practices. You’ll also acquire ideas and techniques (effective positioning, breathing patterns, comfort measures and relaxation techniques) to better enable you to support your partner.

Ask Away!

Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner’s doctor/midwife or your prenatal instructor. Go ahead; get all those burning questions finally answered. The more you know, the more confident you become.

Define Your Role

Some dads tend to have some uncertainty about their role. Are you supposed to be the cheerleader, the coach, or an unofficial nurse? Chances are your partner will need you at every stage of labour. Clarify your role; what does she expect of you during labour and birth? Let her know what you’re comfortable with. Together, come up with a plan that will work for you both. If you’re still unsure, you might want to think of arranging for additional support: enlist the support of a family member or friend.

Get to Know Your Surroundings

Become familiar with the hospital where you plan to deliver. Schedule a tour together. You might also want to plan your route to the hospital in anticipation of labour day (or night). Think about all the obstacles you might face, including the time of day (is there going to be traffic volume?), the weather or construction. Have alternate routes planned and make sure you have a full tank of gas!

Talk to the Experts

Other dads who’ve recently been through the labour and delivery process are a great resource. They might be able to give you a better feel for the various experiences you’ll face.

Expect the Unexpected

Mom’s needs and moods may change throughout labour. She may curse at you one minute and in the same breath ask you to hold her gently. Don’t take it personally. Try to be there for her and simply follow her lead. Ultimately, Dad’s role in the delivery room goes well beyond the role of support person; he is his partner’s advocate, protector, and liaison. And afterwards comes the role of a lifetime – being a father!

If you feel faint in the delivery room

  • Let someone know right away!
  • Sit down and place your head between your knees. (This helps the blood circulate to the brain; not as good as lying down, but you might not have a bed available in the delivery room.)
  • Try a cool cloth on the forehead.
  • Stay calm and remember to breathe.
  • Stay hydrated (your body is losing more water due to sweating).
  • Move away from the situation that is making you feel this way. Perhaps position yourself near the labouring mom’s head and focus on her face.

Article by Dale Alleyne-Ho for Parents Canada. Dale Alleyne-Ho instructs Childbirth and Lactation Education.


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