How did you prepare your partner for birth? — The Bump
February 2017 Moms

How did you prepare your partner for birth?

Hi everyone, I'm a 1st time mom and we're only 11 wks in but my Hubs and I are super excited to meet bebe. My Hubs has a lot of anxiety, though, about being a good partner to me in labor-- he has ADHD and anxiety. My mom and midwife (and maybe a doula) will be there to help too but I want him to be involved and feel useful during labor. Any suggestions or resources for 1st time dads? Folks on #2+, how did your partner prepare with you for labor?

Re: How did you prepare your partner for birth?

  • We did a birthing class that had a lot of good info but wasn't jam packed with it. Also, my sister and BIL were very open about talking about her labors/deliveries and I think that helped. But having a support person there in addition to your husband may help. 
    Gretchypoo
  • My husband had a lot of anxiety too. He did not want to be there even but he knew he should be. I had both my mom and his mom there and I think having his mom helped a lot. Our nurse pretty much required him to be right down there helping and had him cut the cord. He survived and is willing to do it again this time. 
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  • We took a birthing class. My husband watched csection videos before I had my daughter *barf* I refused to watch them.

    Gretchypoo
  • I would be very blunt and tell him what kind of support you need throughout. Before labor, I told my husband that if he said things like "it will be over soon" or "this is worth it in the end" I might chop off his balls. I do not find those words comforting. I instead find more reassurance in him acknowledging my pain and helping me focus on breathing.

    i would think about what kind of support you like in intense situations and make sure he knows that up front.

    once I had an epidural I honestly slept a lot. My body was exhausted. 

    He was AMAZING during recovery and sit by the door of my room and if I was sleeping he would turn nurses and staff away so that I got uninterrupted sleep. He would do his best to keep the baby quiet til I needed to wake to feed her. 
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  • birthing / new parent class. 

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  • I bought my husband a book (which he never read). But what worked best was what the previous posters said--tell him what you need and what you absolutely do not need. 
    Gretchypoo
  • I made sure to tell my husband he was not to watch what was happening to my nethers. He stayed by my head, rubbed my back, and told me I was doing a great job and I was amazing. It was all I needed or wanted from him at the time. Actually, I barely heard him-- I was in a zone all by myself.

     If your hubs has a lot of anxiety, I'd maybe prepare him for the difficulty of watching you suffer and being essentially powerless to help. I know that was hard for my husband. If he's ready for that feeling, maybe it'll cause less anxiety for him in the moment. I just needed him in the room with me, to feel his love, and that was all. 
    Gretchypoo
  • kswiger06kswiger06
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    edited August 2016
    We never did any classes or anything we just had a let's just wing it attitude. However knowing what I know now, I definitely agree with @angeltennis3 my husband had no clue that the smallest things would annoy me, he was tapping on my bed lightly and after a few times I snapped at him and said to quit touching my bed. He now shares that advice with every expectant father, he tells them in a joking manner "whatever you do, don't touch her bed" lol. 

    I also don't want to hear the stuff like "you're so close, you're almost done, just 1 more push" nope nope nope, I prefer silence other than honest feelings of I'm sorry you're in so much pain, or is there anything I can do. Other than that it only distracts, and annoys me to have someone yapping in my ear.

    In my experiences the nurses and Drs did well with instructing my husband on how to help. He held one of my legs and offered me a hand to squeeze if I wanted one. He also got to cut the cord. 

    If I were to be on my first I think I would want to have husband watch a couple birthing videos, to make sure he'll be able to handle it, without passing out or feeling uncomfortable. Maybe try a class but they still aren't my thing. To keep calm in the room, a husband getting all excited and worked up will cause mayhem. And for sure make sure to tell husband you will be in a lot of pain, will inevitably get grumpy, and that when it happens, you don't mean to be so mean to him. I think it would help tons if husbands knew that we will be super cranky, and it's not personal or about them but it will happen, and try to just calmly go with it.

    Edit: darn auto(in)correct
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  • I wanted to do the classes and read the books with our first. My husband however said people had been delivering babies for thousands of years and did just fine without the help of books. Not really sure that was the best outlook, but he stepped up to the plate and did what I needed. He is really good about reading my body language and knowing what I need. It helped my mom was there as well. I don't know if anyone is ever truly prepared to have their first baby.

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  • I'm embarrassed to admit it, but we didn't do anything to prepare. I did try to suggest a few books to H, but he hates reading so that didn't work. I signed us up for some classes too, but he made lame excuses to back out of them last minute and I didn't want to go by myself. Despite all this, during my extremely long and traumatic labor/pushing, he was excellent. He did everything he could to help me through it and he was very good about it overall. I was impressed and surprised. My H also has ADHD and severe anxiety. 
    Gretchypoo
  • My DH is the opposite he's really laid back. We opted for no classes, they freaked me out for whatever reason. I read several natural birthing books.  I really wanted a Dula but the cost was prohibitive - he said he could handle it.

     I told DH what I wanted him to do (keep me calm/distract ect) and he did. 
    Gretchypoo
  • My husband had a lot of anxiety about me getting an epidural. Even in the birthing class he almost passed out during the conversation about it and had to leave before he passed out.  We made a plan for the parts of birth that he thought he couldn't handle.  My sister was going to come in and be with me when I was going to get the epi if he was feeling woozy.  He ended up handling it GREAT!!  He was worried about seeing the blood the baby being born and all of it.. He doesn't do well with medical stuff.  He did great with that too... infact he kept coming back to report that he could see hair and everything else.  It's amazing what adrenaline will do.

    I also gave him small tasks to prep... things for me to concentrate on, he made a music playlist, he was in charge of telling me to breathe, and I specifically told him things to NOT say.  He did great and really ALL I needed during the hard times..  One of the big things I told him was that I really wanted to try a med free birth so even if I asked for an epi he was to try and talk me out of it, this he did not do so well, but he asked 10 times if I was sure.   He says now that it was hard for him to see me in such pain and but he attempted to prepare himself for it all.

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    Gretchypoo
  • With DS, I was a FTM and didn't know what to expect myself so there was no way of knowing what to expect from DH.  Originally, I wanted to give birth without paint medication so we came up with a safe word.  No matter how much pain I was in, if I didn't give the safe word, DH wouldn't suggest an epidural.  

    Other than that, we didn't really prepare much other than to acknowledge that we'd roll with it.  He understood ahead of time that if I got snippy or annoyed, not to take it personally and give me space.  





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  • I took classes & read books to help me prepare, DH wasn't interested in doing either 1. But when it came time for me to labor, he would ask me what I wanted him to do, mostly I just asked for a back rub. And when it came time to push he stayed quiet 90% of the time. he would rub or squeeze my hand when he thought I needed it, but he finally said "I can see the head, your almost done pushing" right towards the end around the time I was too exhausted to keep pushing...his voice honestly gave me strength to finish.
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  • My DH has ADHD as well. When we were preparing for our DD we did prenatal classes which explained a lot to him. I'm pretty sure they showed a video as well. I also had my mom and midwife there for support. He was great walking through the halls for hours with me and rubbing my back or legs, or giving me words of encouragement. When it came to pushing, he was right there supporting a leg and cut the cord when she was born.
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  • I told him:
    1. Keep your mother away from me
    2. Its going to be super gross
    3. Babies are not cute and pink when they come out, he will be purple and wet and gross and not adorable until about 4 minutes later

    He was awesome. He thanked me profusely for the gross slimey baby warning. 
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  • Thanks, all!! I think a lot of these tips will help :-)
  • I'm actually getting nervous about this. My husband is wonderful but he doesn't speak English and I'm worried about communication issues. I can't be translating in there! 
    kswiger06
  • We didn't really prepare. I was fine and didn't need him for support so it worked. I had no idea what to expect the first time. I just figured I would be able to do it. Looking back I am glad I didn't watch any videos to prepare becaise it would have made nervous.

     I think being open and honest about what you need and want is the best preparation. If you aren't sure tell him that as well. I like to be left to myself when I feel sick or in pain. I wanted him close by but not to try and comfort me or encourage me. When I am in a lot of pain it doesn't sound comforting or encouraging so it ends up annoying me.

    As PP have mentioned The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin is helpful for some. I read it before my 3rd baby. 
    Gretchypoo
  • ShawllsShawlls
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    edited August 2016
    Prenatal class was so helpful. My husband suffers from anxiety (mostly work related) and was an absolute hero in the birth process (30 hours labour and a csection). Prenatal really helped us think of topics we should be chatting about. For example, we decided against a doula because he is also shy and we both felt he may get upstaged and not find his voice. So glad it was just us at the birth.
    Gretchypooexpandcontract
  • With my first, we just assumed the best and didn't really prepare. So the emergency c section and complications took us by surprise. With the second, we did a ton of research of vbac and watched the business of being born which got my husband excited and really on board for a natural, midwife assisted vbac. With this one we are reading hypnobirthing and preparing/hoping for another vbac. 
    GretchypooWinchesterGirl
  • With my first, we just assumed the best and didn't really prepare. So the emergency c section and complications took us by surprise. With the second, we did a ton of research of vbac and watched the business of being born which got my husband excited and really on board for a natural, midwife assisted vbac. With this one we are reading hypnobirthing and preparing/hoping for another vbacc

    arg stuck in the box!!

    when we 1st found out I was prego we watched the business of being born. I cried happy tears the whole time. he freaked out because he doesn't like the idea of me being in pain. <--it's gonna hurt, babe. he totally supports us using a midwife and really likes our midwife and birthing center. he's very supportive, just nervous :-)

    thanks for your advice-- it sounds like everything went well for #2? 
  • My DH went to almost all of my appointments and we took a birthing class. We also read most of the book  "Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy" together.  It was very informative for both of us.  
  • With my first, we just assumed the best and didn't really prepare. So the emergency c section and complications took us by surprise. With the second, we did a ton of research of vbac and watched the business of being born which got my husband excited and really on board for a natural, midwife assisted vbac. With this one we are reading hypnobirthing and preparing/hoping for another vbacc

    arg stuck in the box!!

    when we 1st found out I was prego we watched the business of being born. I cried happy tears the whole time. he freaked out because he doesn't like the idea of me being in pain. <--it's gonna hurt, babe. he totally supports us using a midwife and really likes our midwife and birthing center. he's very supportive, just nervous :-)

    thanks for your advice-- it sounds like everything went well for #2? 
    I recommend that movie to everyone. Once you stop viewing pregnancy and birth as a medical "issue" and see it as a natural process you were built for, a lot of fear melts away. My husband was nervous and wanted me to consider the epidural but we did some research and talking, and odds for successful VBaC were less if I did it. My second birth was beautiful. 100% natural, midwife assisted vbac. 10lber. No tears. Perfect healing. It was so empowering after such a difficult first delivery. Your nerves can really get the better of you, especially since every birth, first or tenth, is essentially unknown. But all we can do is arm ourselves with research, know what we want, and be willing to do whatever it takes to get baby here safely.
    scifichick09kswiger06
  • that is so helpful and reassuring @Babymakes5! Hubs is very supportive and believes we can do this without pain meds-- Our midwives don't even keep an epidural on hand. :-)
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