Senior Midwife Marie Louise has kindly provided her expert advice for the Scarlet Journal for soon-to-be-parents. Here, she is giving her top tips for Dads and birth partners.
If you are expecting your first baby I’m sure you’re nervous, excited but not quite sure what to expect or what is expected of you. I’ve been a midwife for almost a decade and here’s a few quick tips, I hope they help.
Parent craft classes are essential- life is going to change dramatically and it’s a good idea to understand what may come, what your partner would like and what you would like. Preparing for your baby is key to getting things off to a good start.
You may need to leave- the room for a break- or you may want to stay there the whole time. Whatever you feel that you need to do, go with it. As labour progresses emotions can run high but you really need to look after yourself as your partner and newborn will both need your support after birth. First baby’s can take their time and even if your partner can’t eat, have a snack and keep yourself hydrated, look after yourself.
You’ll feel everything- from intensely needed to utterly helpless, probably nervous and even uncomfortable in relying on healthcare professionals to look after your pregnant partner but when you look down at your very own creation those feelings soon fade and elevation takes over. You’re somebody dad, a hero to them.
Your support is so important– your partner may or may not want a lot of chat or tactile support, just being there and sensitive to her changing needs will go a long way and set the foundations for your new family. Don’t under estimate just how important your hand holding really is and try to stay calm. It’s tough seeing someone you love in pain but stay calm, she’ll admire you for it after.