Being a knowledgeable and supportive pregnancy partner isn't always easy. Between your partner's body changes and countless doctor appointments, it can be challenging to keep everything straight. Check out a few quick tips below to help ensure that you are prepared for labor and birth.
Understand the challenges in childbirth care, and know how to advocate for mom and your baby
Sometimes hospitals or physicians replace best practices for labor and birth with routine practices for labor and birth. Those routine practices can sometimes make it harder to achieve the safest and healthiest birth for mom and baby.
- Learn how to spot care that's not evidence-based, so you can help steer clear of practices that don't help, and may actually harm mom and baby.
- Know mom's preferences, and work with your provider to make sure the care she receives is the care she wants.
Prepare for the big day and the big push
Knowing your role during these pregnancy milestones will make a tangible impact on labor and birth.
- Know basic facts about labor and birth, and identify where you come in during these stages.
- Beware of the "due date" pressures, and be ready to keep yours and mom's expectations in check if she goes "late."
- Recognize the signs of true labor, and remember that labor is typically a marathon, not a sprint, for first-time moms.
- Be mindful of unnecessary interventions like confinement to bed, continuous monitoring or restricting food and drink.
- Know what mom prefers for comfort strategies, and make sure she can access pain management tools like using a shower or tub.
- Reinforce mom's ability to have immediate skin-to-skin contact, and support a good start to breastfeeding.
Use your knowledge to ensure a safe and healthy birth for mom and baby
Apply your understanding of childbirth care challenges and preparation for mom's labor and birth preferences to maximize your support during your baby's birthday.
- Take an evidence-based childbirth class with your partner to talk about your experiences with other couples, and to learn about the different labor and birth options available
- Be ready to step in and advocate for mom's preferences during labor and birth by partnering with healthcare professionals to get information on the options you have, especially in difficult situations
- Refer to Push for Your Baby resources and Lamaze's website for additional resources on how to be an optimum pregnancy partner
For more information on being a top-notch pregnancy partner, watch Lamaze's recorded webcast on the topic.