For most sane men, seeing their significant other give birth is a mind blowing experience. My brain, for example, is already beginning to elicit nausea every time I think about my wife’s upcoming labor and delivery. Don’t get me wrong, I’m terribly excited about the arrival of our first baby, but the birthing process isn’t like renovating a kitchen or bath. Delivering a baby, at least from all the unsolicited second hand accounts I’ve heard, seems more akin to an art form than a structured process.
With the above said, I recently came across a “Husband Remind Sheet” from 1973 (thanks to a fabulous mother of six!). The printed document was part of a packet given to new parents at a local hospital and given that I’m a sucker for practical tips I’ve re-produced some highlights:
1. Your main function aside from physical comfort measures is
to supply encouragement, emotional support, praise and to remind your wife of
training tools as she may have difficulty remembering these during active labor
2. Understand that this is an extremely demanding physical experience
and frequently tell her that you are proud of her efforts and grateful to be
able to share it with her.
3. Ice ships, if hospital allows this, are given between
contractions. Use alternatively with lollipops.
4. Talcum powder on your hands will add to the comfort of a
5. Be alert for signs of muscle tension and give the appropriate
command to relax.
6. Be prepared to leave the room when asked and to retire to
the fathers room or similarly designated waiting room until recalled back into
the labor room. You are not to wander
into the halls for any purpose other then extreme emergency! A nurse can be summoned with the call bell on
the labor room wall.
7. Transitions signs – Irritability, restlessness, sensation or
extreme physical and emotional fatigue, low back pressure increasing to an urge
to “push”, nausea (vomiting), tremors or shaking of the extremities, chills or
heat flashes, a vocal expression of wanting to “give up” and finally and
involuntary rectal push that signifies full dilatation.
8. Commands given in a loud demanding tone or voice will be “tuned
out” so instead issue all directions in a low calm voice directly into her ear.