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Tips for a First Time Birth Partner

Updated on August 25, 2017
Stephanie Purser profile image

Assisted my sister during pregnancy and was her partner for the birth of my six-month-old nephew in March 2017.

The Pregnancy

Congratulations! Whether your a father, a partner or otherwise, someone important to you is having a baby and it's a wonderful experience to share. Bringing babies into the world is not easy and the new mum in your life will need a lot of support. Be prepared to put the new mother before yourself at all times.

Being pregnant is really hard! It's expected to be emotionally and physically exhausting and therefore a person in this condition needs a lot of love and care. As their support person, it helps to be very sympathetic about their miscomfort and to help ease it in any way possible. Symptoms can range from uncomfortable to making her absolutely miserable. Treat all symptoms as best as you can. If she has back pain, a back rub and heat pack would be a good start to providing relief.

Give her whatever she wants! A woman during pregnancy can have her mood so easily turned upside down and stress during pregnancy is bad for the baby. So keeping her happy is important! If she wants the heater and a fan on herself to sleep, let it happen and worry about the power bill later!

Fluctuations in mood during pregnancy are totally normal. Support persons should work toward managing these mood swings as best they can. There's a lot of things you can do to help her relax. And as for arguing during pregnancy... don't do it! Pregnant women are in a vulnerable position and can be emotionally sensitive at this time.

Helping the new mother to prepare for the baby is exciting but you'll soon realize it's not as much fun as it seems. You don't actually get a lot of choice about stuff. Its ultimately up to Mum. So if she wants to decorate the nursery with mermaids and you thought unicorns would be nice, bet your bottom dollar it's going to be mermaids.

What you can do to help is the hard stuff. Baby furniture can be heavy and hard to put together, so helping her pick up and assemble such things is something you can do that she will appreciate.

Chores are something pregnant women will stop having the time and energy for. And a good support person will take over this responsibility. By performing chores she normally does you can greatly reduce her stress and improve her mood. She'll appreciate this effort from you and coming up to the nesting period she will feel a lot better in a tidy home!

Toward the end of the pregnancy women are feeling so big, heavy and uncomfortable that they can not manage a lot of activity. It's also incredibly difficult for a pregnant woman to get any sleep at this time. Do your best to get both of you some rest. As much as it feels like your on the last quarter mile, you're actually only just getting started.

While you are likely to both start feeling anxious about the upcoming birth, try to keep in mind that no one is more nervous than the soon to be mum. She'll need you to seem as confident as possible, no matter how much you're panicking on the inside.

The Birth

After months of enduring the pregnancy and all its glory your probably going to feel quite strung out by the time labor kicks in. But this is where you, the support person are going to be used at maximum capacity! So you'll need to bring your a game.

There is no right way to know when it's time to leave for the hospital. As labor progresses your partner will become less able to communicate effectively so you will need to take the responsibility of contacting the midwives or delivery ward. They will give you instruction as when to head to the hospital.

Do not rush! Getting to the hospital safely is the most important thing. If you feel like there isn't enough time or that something is wrong call an ambulance instead.

Grab the bags but leave the majority in the car! You'll likely have to move from a room to a delivery suite as things progress and in some cases be rushed down to theatre. The hospital can provide all first essentials like blankets and nappies so you can return to the car for your bags once the baby has arrived and is settled into the ward.

When you arrive at hospital, you might feel like stepping into the corner and letting the professionals take over. Don't do this! Believe it or not you are an incredibly imperative part of this process and will need to be assertive to provide adequate support. Your partner will need you at their side.

The next few hours are going to be a marathon for both of you. You won't likely get to eat or rest at all until the baby has safely arrived. You can expect to be so busy though that the time will pass quite quickly.

It's important that you, the support person are aware of your partner's birth preferences and can relate this to staff if complications occur. In emergency situations though, it is best to follow the advice of the professionals. If for example the baby's heart rate drops and the mother's not able to push, she will be rushed to theatre for a cesarean birth. You will be given scrubs to change into to accompany her.

The big take home message for the birth is to remain calm, collected and provide reassurance for your partner. Whatever happens, you have to keep being the support person. You can always cry in the toilet later.

The Baby

The most amazing thing happens when the baby is born. This strange feeling of peace and contentment comes over both of you and the last few hours of exhaustion and stress kind of just blur into the background.

You will witness this incredible shift in your partner too. When they have their baby in their arms, they have this change from woman to mother right in front of you. They seem to instantly forget themselves. All of their attention is now focused on this little baby that they have made.

Both mum and bub will need lots of rest after the birth and you might find yourself changing the first nappies and nursing bub a lot in the first few days. This is a beautiful time and I suggest you memorize it as it passes very quickly.

Taking your baby home is an exciting experience. Before you pick up mum and bub from the hospital ensure the home is tidy and ready for baby. You can do things such as such as organizing the change table.

Prepare pets for a new arrival by letting them smell clothes Mum was wearing when she left and clothes that the baby has now already worn. They'll understand and be less overwhelmed when you bring the baby home.

Newborns are a handful and first time parents can feel very anxious about providing adequate care once home. Relax! Your baby will teach you all that you need to know. Newborns are actually built tough to weather first time parents!

There are going to be lots of stressful days and sleepless nights ahead. Remember to be a team! New babies stress people out to new levels and couples can fight more.. try to avoid this divide. Your baby won't remember this rough period, but your partner will!

The newborn stage passes so quickly and in a few months time you will both feel confident in taking care of your baby. You want to make it through it all as a strong family so be sure to be supportive after the birth and well into parenthood.

© 2017 Stephanie Purser


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