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Want to be hero of the hour when baby arrives? While you'll play second fiddle to mum, learning to be the best birthing partner you can be is your role for D-day
You're expecting a baby. The scans are done and now you're getting ready for the big day. Although the dads aren't giving birth, they're still an important part of the process. Read on for birthing partner tips to transform you into the best right-hand man ever.
Do your research
There is no typical birth, but it helps to be aware of what could happen. Your wife is bound to be a little nervous, so show willing by reading any birthing books you are given and doing some research online. It will be too late by the time you're in the delivery room.
Go to antenatal classes
Learn important information about late pregnancy and what life with a newborn baby will be like. You'll also meet other parents-to-be, who often end up becoming new friends.
Help create the birth plan
Your wife will almost inevitably want to make a birth plan, mapping out the ideal way to welcome your new baby into the world. She will not only need your support in putting it together, but will want to talk to you about what she wants when labour begins.
Stick up for your wife
During labour, there may be times when your partner won't be able to tell the midwife or doctor what she wants. This is where you need to step in and make decisions.
Not everything will go to plan. For example, your wife may be desperate to have your baby in the birthing pool, but the timing might not work out. You need to accept this, be prepared for things to change and help your wife through it.
Take a bit of abuse
Labour is a pretty gruelling ordeal for many women, and the pain and discomfort will potentially make your wife want to lash out verbally and occasionally physically. Accept it as part of your job as her birthing partner.
Be a huge support
Do everything you can do for your partner. Help her to focus and to cope with the pain. Get her drinks and food when necessary, and be ready with the birthing ball if she wants it. Basically, you need to be a one-man support act.
Take a break
If you don't look after yourself during labour, you'll be useless to your wife. Make sure you find the time to have a cuppa, grab a bite to eat and even take a short walk outside – but not when baby's about to arrive, of course!
By Rob Mansfield