40 weeks (give or take) have come and gone. The big day is here. Whether you’re driving her to the hospital or filling up the birthing tub in your living room, chances are you’re nervous and excited. Your biggest job during birth is to protect the laboring mother and her wishes. Consider hiring a doula. The doula supports the laboring couple – you’re going through labor together, and he or she is there to support you both as a team. You’re going to get tired and forget to take care of yourself. Your doula will remind you to chug a protein shake so you can stay alert and present with the laboring mother. If you start to feel uncertain, your doula is there to reassure you. A doula is one of the best investments you could make at this stage of parenthood.
Take care of yourself. In the weeks leading up to the birth, make sure you stay rested, hydrated, and well fed. You will need your energy to support your partner through labor, whenever it happens.
Expect a flood of emotions. You will have an emotional roller coaster. The laboring mother is becoming a parent during labor. You’re becoming a parent and watching the one you love tackle an enormous physical feat – there will be a lot of emotions to process. Expect that and make sure you have a support system for yourself as well as for your partner.
Protect her wishes. Become informed about patient rights. Even if you plan to birth in a birthing center or at home, sometimes the unexpected can happen, and you may find yourself in a hospital. Make sure you know how to protect her right to informed consent so that her birth experience can be as safe and enjoyable as possible. Your doula can help you with this as well.
Learn some techniques to apply to help her with discomfort during labor. If she doesn’t opt to have her chiropractor at her birth, there are some gentle, soft tissue techniques that your chiropractor can teach you to perform on her if needed during labor that may help make her more comfortable.
No matter how the birth goes – whether it goes as planned or not, make sure she knows that you are proud of her. Any birth is an enormous physical feat. If for some reason plans change, and she doesn’t have the birth that she was striving for, she may feel disappointed. Let her know that she’s still an amazing woman and an amazing mother.