Childbirth guide for partners
During childbirth, the mother’s job is to breathe, relax and push. The rest is your responsibility – your role is critical.
4 min read
Reviewed by Jenny Jansson
As the partner, you are indispensable in terms of support, pep talk and assistance with most little tasks. Don’t let this stress you though, people know that it’s not only the mother who needs support. You do too. Make sure you are listened to and make as many preparations as possible. It's important that you have an understanding of what's going to unfold. Most major hospitals have lectures for soon-to-be parents, tours of the obstetrics unit and information about pain management and more. Talk to friends and relatives who have experience and ask them how they see things; maybe there is something you haven’t thought of before. There are also many good books about childbirth. Have a read!
Talk extensively to your pregnant partner before delivery, including all the details. Be open to each other, and share your thoughts, emotions and expectations. You are a great support to each other by being open about anything that’s on your mind. Start early, it will make things easier. Encourage each other! Be positive.
Today, many couples write a birth plan letter together. It's a plan that you bring to the hospital, something the midwives appreciate. It is important to communicate if you feel nervous or have any fears in relation to the delivery. Explain how you feel and ask questions. The more your midwife knows, the greater the chances of your childbirth being what you’re hoping for.
The delivery has three different phases. Read about it and be prepared for what will happen and talk it through with your pregnant partner. Childbirth is a magical experience, but it can also be challenging to be a bystander. Create a good dialogue with the midwife by asking questions and asking for support and help. Remember that you are present during labour for your benefit, not only for the mother’s benefit.
Traditionally, the midwives decided almost everything, but today much can be influenced by the mother and you. No one is expecting you to know everything when you arrive at the hospital, especially not if it is your first time. It is the midwife's responsibility to find out from you what your expectations and wishes are, but it's also helpful if you tell them how you want things to be. The role of the midwife is to guide you and take control when needed. Be outspoken if something is not right or if you perceive the midwife as non-attentive. Once in the maternity ward, your partner may be so focused on the actual birth that she is not able to listen to or question what the staff say. If the two of you are unhappy about anything, then it's most likely you who will have to handle any conflicts. If you have any personal questions, it may be a good idea to ask the midwife outside the maternity ward. It does not mean you are going behind your partner's back, it's a way to show consideration and avoid upsetting her.
Some women feel uncomfortable and vulnerable if their partner watches when the baby comes out. It is important that you are receptive to each other’s concerns, so talk about this beforehand. Ask your partner where she wants you to be standing. The perception that it will be unpleasant for the partner to watch is common and an idea the woman has created in her mind. It’s often not a big deal once the baby arrives. The delivery will be an unforgettable experience regardless of whether you are at your partner’s side or if you participate in the delivery of your child.
Reviewed by Jenny Jansson
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