By Expert Contributor: Lisa Dowling
What you don't know about a GentleBirth Dad
You hear a lot of Moms on pregnancy forums throwing out comments about how their partners will act in labor.
Examples being “I hope he doesn’t annoy me”, “he will probably freak out or faint”, “I don’t want him seeing anything in case it puts him off sex”.
These are rarely concerns GentleBirth Moms have regarding the abilities and effectiveness of a GB (GentleBirth) Dad. After a GentleBirth workshop, our Dads know exactly what they need to do on the day. Here are just some of the things you can expect from a GB Dad on the big day:
1.) When you say the magic words “I think this is labor, I’m getting contractions” – he won’t be panicking throwing the bags in the car, he will be calm, smiling and asking what you feel you need. He will be lighting some candles, running a bath/filling the pool, getting your GB tracks or music playing in the background, etc.
2.) If you’re experiencing back pain he will take charge and start using the hands on techniques he learned in the workshop (counter pressure…double hip squeeze) while you breathe through your surge.
3.) He will be ensuring there are a few copies of your birth preferences in the bag and will know what each one of them means to you.
4.) He will be quietly timing the surges.
5.) A GB Dad will be using the acupressure points he learned in the workshop to give you comfort when needed.
6.) He will call the doula, midwife, or hospital to inform them.
7.) Upon arriving at the hospital a GB Dad will know if you are up to talking or not, if not he will confidently be able to inform the staff as to when labor started, frequency and length of surges and distribute your birth preferences so you can maintain your focus.
8.) A GB Dad knows the importance of the environment as a stress inducer or reducer - he’ll adjust the lighting, etc. to help you stay relaxed and keep that oxytocin flowing.
9.) He will recognise the signs of you being physically tense and know the triggers help you let yourself go.
10.) A GB Dad will be able to confidently advocate on your behalf with staff when it comes to your birth preferences be it CTG issues or the position you want to be in.
11.) When it comes to the second stage of labor, a GB Dad will be the one asking the nurse if it's possible to hold a warm compress between your legs to help soften the tissue and help prevent perineal damage.
12.) If something unexpected happens and you become anxious, he will be the one holding your hand and reminding you that you are prepared for whatever path the birth takes and you can still remain calm, confident and in control.
During Positive Birth Agency's GentleBirth Childbirth Education Classes we cover a section on what we call your “labor toolkit” which includes everything from acupressure to an epidural. The one trend we find in birth stories from couples who attend the workshop is very different to the sentences at the start of this piece. We hear things like “he was amazing”, “he played a blinder” and “he knew what to do without me even asking”.
You see the thing some people don’t realise is that often the strongest most effective tool you have in your “labor toolkit” is a GentleBirth Dad! For more information check out: PositiveBirthAgency.com