Posts Tagged ‘partner’

Should Dads Be in the Delivery Room?

Friday, August 19th, 2016

should dads be in the delivery room?A recent article in the Huffington Post brought up a question that many modern parents probably thought had already been put to rest in the 70s: Should dads be in the delivery room?

Trends surrounding childbirth tend to follow a pendulum swing. From the days when women endured natural childbirth because there was no other way, to knocking women out with ether while their baby was delivered, to natural childbirth, to the height of C-section popularity. Birth experiences even vary widely within one  mother’s experience with multiple children. One thing is certain: there is no one right way to have a baby, for any couple. For that reason, the trend of having dads in the delivery room may well be worth re-examining. Many people also consider allowing siblings to be present during birth, and these are worthwhile considerations for that decision, too.

Here are a few points to consider when deciding how to wrap your head around how childbirth might go for you and your spouse:

  • Birth is a stressful situation, even when everything goes textbook perfect. It may be hard for your partner to see you in pain and not be able to help. Consider how you each react to the other’s stress, and what impact that might have on the labor process. Relaxation and oxytocin help speed labor up, while stress and cortisol slow labor down.
  • Would other people (in addition to your spouse) in the delivery room make the situation worse or better? A doula might be helpful for facilitating involvement. Other family, like adult siblings and parents may or may not help, too.
  • Does your spouse handle needles and/or blood OK? it’s possible that they may need to leave during certain parts, like administering an IV or epidural, and return when it’s over.
  • Consider where your spouse might stand during delivery that might allow them to offer support but not be overwhelmed.
  • Think about decisions like whether or not they want to help catch or cut the cord ahead of time.
  • Birthing classes can be helpful at giving your spouse helpful suggestions for how to assist during labor.

My husband passed out at the sight of needles and would shut down in a stressful situation, so we worked with a doula from early on in my pregnancy. She tagged him in on and off during labor, allowing him time to help and also get away during the process since it was long and overwhelming, and I felt safer knowing I would still have support if he needed medical attention.  I also decided no one but us and the doula would be at the birth. I had never really thought about this until I got pregnant, but once I did, there was no question. I knew additional family and the associated travel plans–on an unknown timeline, no less–would be stressful for me. It was disappointing for some, but I held my ground. It was one of the first times I felt a mother instinct.

In the end, only you as a couple can decide what’s best for your family. You may end up making some unconventional choices, or at the very least, not making the choices you imagined you would before you got pregnant. If you think family or friends will not be supportive of those choices, you can choose not to discuss the topic with them. Remember, it’s your body, and your birth. This is a time to be selfish and think about your health and what’s best for you.

Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mom of three girls. She lives and writes in Oklahoma City. 

 

Pregnancy Week 26: Getting Your Spouse Involved

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Pregnancy Week 26: Getting Your Spouse InvolvedIt’s so exciting for a woman to be pregnant! We get to take the test, share the news first, feel the little kicks, and watch our bodies transform. But what about your partner? How is pregnancy an exciting time for them, and how can you get your spouse involved in your pregnancy?

Here are five ways to get your spouse involved in your pregnancy:

1. Take him along to the doctor.

Now, I realize a lot of us are stay at home moms and our husbands do amazing things for us every day by supporting our families. However, it is important to encourage your spouse to go to some doctor appointments. With my first pregnancy, my husband was in the Navy, so he wasn’t always available for doctor visits. He was there for the majority of my fertility appointments and the really important prenatal visits. This time around, I have tried to encourage him to come by scheduling appointments when I know he is off work.

2. Include him in the planning.

Women are born planners. I love to have all of my ducks in a row. However, let your spouse get in on the fun. Encourage him to help you pick out baby gear, pick a nursery theme, and guide you on baby purchases. Of course, make him a big part of choosing the baby’s name. Include him on writing your birth plan. Take him with you to Babies R Us. Yes, it can be done. Get him as involved as you can. Even if he is hesitant, you will be glad you did.

3. Get educated together.

Go to childbirth classes or any other classes your hospital or birthing center offer. Have him read a book with you about becoming parents. Let him research parenting styles with you so that you are on the same page. Watch funny movies about parenting together. Have him talk to his family to find out what kind of a baby he was, as you do the same.

4. Talk about your feelings.

This one is touchy for some men, but I bet your husband would love to talk to you about your upcoming arrival. Let him feel the baby move or kick. Talk about what life will be like after the baby arrives. Make sure to be open and honest and enjoy the time together before baby makes his or her appearance into the world.

5. Let him be the daddy.

It’s so easy to do everything by ourselves as women. We tend to rely on our spouses to be there to assemble the crib, figure out how the swing works, etc. Let your spouse become a daddy. Give him equal say in matters that concern your children. Be a team. I bought my husband a book called “The New Dad’s Survival Guide” when our daughter was born. I knew that becoming a parent was a new adventure for him, just as much as it was for me.

However you do it, include your spouse. You will be glad you did when you see how much it means to him.

Karyn Meyerhoff lives and writes in Northeast Indiana. She loves her husband and thinks he is a great daddy!