Dr. Jazlan Joosoph, a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Raffles Women’s Centre shares tongue-in-cheek advice on how you can stand by your wife (and not to faint!) as you welcome your little one into this world.
Are you and your lovely wife soon expecting a bundle of joy? Have you decided to be by your wife’s side in the labour room as she gives birth?
But wait, what about those horror stories and gory details you’ve been hearing about other women’s labour experiences?
Here are 10 tips on how can you put those stories aside and focus on your child’s birth and be a positive influence in the labour room.
- 1. Be prepared.
When your wife announces that she’s pregnant, it also means that you are going to be a dad.
Take a deep breath - from the time you two learn about the pregnancy to the delivery date, you have plenty of time to read up on everything you need to know about babies and being a great dad.
- 2. If it’s a Caesarean birth, do not peek.
There a reason why you’ve chosen an experienced doctor. Leave everything in their expert hands and sit where you have been asked to sit and talk comfortingly to your wife.
Hearing encouraging words from you can really calm her at this rather nerve-wracking time.
- 3. Do your homework on childbirth
A husband can be the best birthing partner ever. So read up about being a birthing partner and attend a preparation class together with your wife.
Do everything in your power to stay focused and be a pillar of strength rather than a hindrance in the delivery room.
Just cheer your wife on and be around to support her. And please try not to faint – the medical team already have their hands full!
- 4. Birthing is not usually a medical emergency, so stay calm and don’t get hysterical at the sight.
This ties back to the above point. Remember, your wife is in the capable hands of her doctor and the hospital staff.
So try not to make yourself the centre of attention, rather focus on your job at hand – to be a supportive and encouraging birthing partner.
- 5. Don’t take things personally
In the heat of the moment, when your wife is overcome by pain she may hurl insults such as, “This is all your fault…!” at you.
Keep your calm and recognise that she is overcome by pain. It also could be a result of a hormonal change during the final stage of the birth process.
Don’t take offence and get mad at her. She needs your patience and understanding now, more than ever!
- 6. Code word – Episiotomy
This is code for stop what you are doing and turn away! If you are one to faint at the sight of blood, you really don’t want to see an episiotomy in action.
- 7. Be in the moment
Seeing the love of your life giving birth to your child is one of life’s true miracles. These moments don’t happen every day, so stop what you are doing and be by your wife’s side every painful step of the way.
Openly show extreme pride and admiration for the amazing feat your wife just pulled off.
- 8. Be careful when cutting the umbilical cord
Most fathers are entrusted with the mammoth task of cutting the umbilical cord. It sure will be an unforgettable moment in your life and it certainly isn’t the time to have butter-fingers.
So when cutting the cord, be extremely gentle and careful. It is much tougher than you will expect.
- 9. Don’t shriek in disgust at the ‘birth’ of the placenta
Again, advance prep is key here. Read anything you can get your hands on about childbirth and watch birthing videos together.
Be prepared for what will be the final ‘push’ after your baby has already come out. This – the placenta – won’t be quite as attractive and adorable as your little one but quite the opposite. So it will really help if you have at least seen a picture of it beforehand.
- 10. Learn from those who know what they are doing
While you are at the hospital you’ll have plenty of help from the nursing staff with the handling of your newborn. Don’t just sit there marvelling at their dexterity in handling the baby – get involved and ask them to show you how to hold the baby, burp her and rock her, so you can help out when you bring your baby home.
Dr. Jazlan Joosoph is a specialist in Obstetrics and Gynaecology from Raffles Women’s Centre in Raffles Hospital, a tertiary care private hospital and the flagship of the Raffles Medical Group, a leading private healthcare provider in Singapore and South East Asia.