Pregnancy

7 Things Dads Should Know About Labor and Delivery

things dads should know about labor

7 Things Dads Should Know About Labor and Delivery

There are a ton of books covering this topic on Amazon or at your local store. I especially like recommending the book to my friends that are going to be new parents:

What to Expect When Expecting.

This books, among others, has helped expecting parents a lot as it covers this topic in totality…well almost.

Like most things in life, the reality of a thing is sometimes slightly different from the theory. Or sometimes, life just happens, and even though you feel fully ready, things could suddenly go sideways.

So…as an expecting dad, you want to be prepared as best you can, this way you can offer all the support your partner needs at this overwhelming (and it is overwhelming) time of your lives.

things dads should know about labor

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That said, here are

7 Things Dads Should Know About Labor and Delivery

1) Labor Can Progress Super Fast

Even if this is your first time as a dad, you would already know (from the books read or from friends) that labor and contraction progress at a pace.

Labor occurs in stages and the early stage is usually very easy. Your partner would experience contractions that come quite far apart and aren’t in the least painful.

Yeah, they are bearable and she can still go about her regular activities at this point.

(I remember I made a complete dress for a client’s daughter and also made a quick meal for my husband when in the early stage of labor for my first baby).

As the hours go by, however, the contractions will become a little stronger, come closer together, and will progress this faster until your baby is born.

Labor typically lasts 14 -36 hours from the first stage of labor up until the last. However, this is the ideal, and there are situations where labor progresses at a much more rapid pace. You can expect the whole process to be over in a little over three hours, in what is called precipitous labor.

Precipitous labor, dubbed fast and furious labor, is labor that happens in a relatively shorter time and is a lot more intense.

(Picture a woman in active labor then up that pain several notches and you have an idea what to expect here).

Thankfully, precipitous labor is not that common as only 1-3 women in every 100 expecting moms experience it.

Related: 33 Fun Facts About Babies

2) That Breathing Exercise Doesn’t Exactly Work

It does help with the pain, but only up to some point. When your partner progresses into active labor, this breathing exercise won’t work to reduce the pain but will instead help take her mind off it for a while.

She will likely forget to practice this exercise, so you want to remind her as gently as you can to keep practicing it.

3) Your Ever-gentle Wife Could Become Foul-mouthed

Labor pain is pain at its worst and will bring out those primal qualities that have been tucked somewhere deep inside.

In the throes of her pain, especially when the stronger contractions hit, your partner could resort to hurling unprintable words at you or anyone close by.

She’s also likely to transfer a little (only a minute little) of the pain she’s in through a grip so…brace yourself.

I’m guilty of this and have also seen it play out one too many times on the several trips I took with friends in labor.

It can be somewhat hilarious to watch all that drama when you aren’t the one in labor. A little advice though, never make the mistake of laughing right in front of these women. There will be plenty of time to recount and do so later (even by the women themselves!).

things dads should know about labor
things dads should know about labor

4) Be Prepared to See More Than Your Baby

If you’ve both agreed that you be present during the birth of your baby, then you want to come fully prepared for this.

Don’t be deceived by all you see in Hollywood. Labour and delivery can be a messy affair. If your partner had a full bowel beforehand, then be prepared to see all of this content get pushed out as well.

READ ALSO: How to Get Your Baby to Sleep Through the Night

5) Sometimes Complications Arise Out of The Blues

Even if you had a smooth pregnancy up until that point, it is still possible for a little complication to suddenly crop up.

The labor might not progress as it should and your healthcare provider might recommend an emergency cesarean.

Being calm at this point would come in handy as your partner might become agitated, believing all is not quite well.

READ ALSO: 8 Tips for Coping with a New Baby

6) An Episiotomy is Likely

12% of all expecting moms get an episiotomy, a slight cut done to the perineum and the posterior vaginal wall to make room for the baby to pass through.

Episiotomies used to be more common, but thankfully, they aren’t anymore.

While they can be painful unless your partner receives an epidural to block out labor pain, they are a necessary evil to make it easier for the baby to be born.

Your partner will feel sore and might also experience some swellings the first week after delivery, however, most of this pain should be gone after a week and the wound healed in 3 -4 weeks.

In the meantime, she can get some relief by using an ice pack to dull the pain or carrying out a sitz bath, which will also help keep that spot free from infections.

things dads should know about labor and delivery
things dads should know about labor

7) Postpartum Delivery Can be Overwhelming

The weeks after your baby gets born can be overwhelming. If you are both new parents, then making this adjustment to a baby that needs 100% care gets a little overwhelming.

This feeling comes, not from taking care of your newborn, as you would be more than eager to assume this new role, but by needing to do it at odd hours.

Babies need to be fed round the clock, since they have such a tiny stomach and having to be up by 2 am and again 4 am and 6 am can be something.

Your partner would also be recovering from the birthing experience which does take its toll and if you don’t have help at this time, you would need to up your game to ensure things continue to run smoothly.

You would need to take your turn feeding the baby (expressed breastmilk work here if you have both decided on exclusive breastfeeding) or just holding her while your partner catches up on some much-needed sleep.

There would also be tons of clothes to be washed, meals to be prepared, and guests to be entertained, to mention a few.

A little advice?

You want to keep visits to the barest until you both get the hang of your new roles. Even if you aren’t new parents, there would still be some adjusting to this new addition. You want to put words out there you arent receiving visits just yet and could everyone be kind enough to just reach out via texts or WhatsApp.

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