He’s been supportive since you first saw the little pink lines and he wants to be supportive of you when the big time comes, but it is very unlikely that your spouse knows exactly what his role should be during delivery. Here are four very helpful tips directly from a Dad of four about how to support your wife during labor and delivery! The best part is they are approved by my wife and mom!

1. Listen!

This is first because it is the most important and honestly seems like a no brainer, but you’d be surprised! Listen to your wife whether during pre-labor or active labor. She runs the show so allow her to speak up about her needs and be there for her. What worked during one labor and delivery might not work during another as each birth is unique. I’ve found that my wife is good at communicating with me when she needs support.

For example, with our third daughter, I could hear the urgency in my wife’s voice as she told me we needed to leave the house to head to the hospital. Luckily I listened to her and drove carefully, but quickly and we made it to the hospital in time to have our sweet girl in triage.

2. Be prepared to push too!

While you won’t be pushing the baby out, counterpressure is one of the most important ways I supported my wife during each of her four vaginal deliveries. She always had back labor with each of her labor and deliveries so the counterpressure of pushing on her back was how I could relieve her pain. I honestly remember my arms hurting after our second daughter was born because of how much counterpressure I provided. It was the least I could do and I enjoyed supporting her in whatever way possible.

3. Be her cheerleader and advocate!

Whether this is during pre-labor, active labor, delivery, or beyond. She needs to hear you supporting her and reaffirming that she can do this. I’m honestly a super shy guy, but I loved whispering in her ear how great she was doing during each birth. Even just this simple act seemed to help her through really difficult contractions. One time, I specifically remember her apologizing for screaming loudly and I just told her to let it out. She later told me in those moments after the baby arrived that it was so nice to be validated in that time of extreme pain.

After the baby arrives, we both enjoy quiet moments with fewer interventions for the baby right away. I was usually the one to advocate our wishes given my wife was still being cared for. Having this special bonding time with dim lighting and our newest bundle of joy is something we both desired and sometimes there is no time up front to share all these details.

4. Embrace the moment!

Even if it’s been a long few days or even nights, it is so important to stay positive and focused for your wife. With our first daughter, the labor process seemed to drag out and I was definitely tired, but when I saw how much my wife was going through it put things into perspective. 

When we welcomed our little man just this past January, I had the perspective of how quickly the whole process goes. I focused on soaking up those special seconds and moments with my wife both while she labored and after he arrived. My wife was still being cared for once our babies arrived, which was a great time for me to capture the first pictures of the baby on her chest that she will cherish forever.

Here’s one final bonus tip that I learned the hard way, which my wife will never let me live down.

5. Men, no matter how hungry you are, don’t eat in front of your laboring wife!

If you need a snack or even a coffee break do your best to step outside the room because chances are your laboring wife is starving and it won’t do either of you any good if you eat in front of her! 

I truly wished I had these tips before our first daughter arrived and I hope they will help new and veteran Dads as they await the arrival of their little ones. 

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