Happy Father’s day to all the dads to be out there. In honor of Father’s Day, I am going to teach you how to approach the birth of your baby like a boss coach. Here, you will learn how to guide your partner through all the blood, sweat, and tears of childbirth while accomplishing the winning triumph of holding your newborn baby at the end of the game.

You’ll be happy to know that being a winning birthing coach can be viewed much like playing your favorite sport while refereeing your partner – making all the best calls. It requires strategy, practice, physical stamina, mental focus, and commitment. Here’s how you can prepare to make the birth of your baby as successful as that winning touchdown!

GAME STRATEGY

Birthing game strategy begins with communication. Start communicating early on with your partner. Talk about what kind of birth you both hope to achieve. Ask questions about mutual birthing goals and listen to her responses.

What kind of pain relief does she feel is appropriate?

Does she want an epidural or is she trying to go all natural?

Is an induction something she would consider?

What other medical interventions are you both willing to accept?

Your strategy should also consider informed consent. The only way to practice informed consent appropriately is for each of you to become informed. The actual birthing process is at best, an instinctive biological process that requires mom to be in a very primitive game winning mindset. Once tip off happens, and labor begins, it will be far too late to communicate your strategy. As she is experiencing ongoing contractions, she should be free to focus 100% on her body, mind, breathing and relaxation techniques so you will need to be able to step it up.

PRACTICE

Education is where you will practice and gain new birthing skills. How do you know what options you have for informed consent, if you never explore what birthing options you have? Deep diving into the birthing process will allow you to practice your coaching skills and discover what play comes next. I encourage you to look for a childbirth course that teaches techniques on how to be included as a support person during birth.

Some pointers to keep in mind, in most circumstances, pregnancy lasts about 38-42 weeks. Sometimes, labor does begin before 40 weeks, but if this is her first pregnancy, statistics show she likely will go well past her due date. Once contractions start, the intensity will increase over a series of hours to even days. Encourage mom to rest, eat and stay well hydrated at kickoff. During the first inning, birth will start out slow so conserving energy is the goal for you both.

STAMINA

Don’t rush off to the hospital during the first play. I recommend heading to the hospital when contractions are 3 minutes apart lasting for 1 minute. Parents, especially when it’s their first baby, get way too excited at the start and often rush to the hospital way too soon. You want to remain at home as long as possible where the environment is calm and the beds are comfortable. When her contractions are regular, consistent and she is no longer able to talk through them, it is usually a good indicator that it is time to head over. The purpose of this uterine activity is to actively open and thin the cervix to 10 centimeters. It is very important during this period of time for mom to work on her breathing and remain relaxed.

The uterus is no different than any other muscles exerting energy. It needs oxygen, nutrients, and adequate blood flow to function properly. Holding her breath and becoming tense throughout these surges will cause the muscle to tire quicker. If the muscles tire too quickly it could result in oxygen deprivation, pain and even distress. Your job as the birth companion at this very crucial point, is to remind her to relax and breathe fully. Provide her with emotional support and encouragement. Say birthing affirmations to her and remind her that each surge is going to bring your baby closer. As an intense surge wanes, remind her that she will never have to experience that surge ever again because it is over.

AVOID PENALTIES

Allow some space. As the contractions become more intense,  her attention will be directed inward where she will focus her mind on breathing through the peaks of the intensity. She may even begin moaning and groaning as they become stronger. Allow her space during this time to follow her own natural and innate instincts.

REMAIN FOCUSED ON A WINNING MINDSET

As the cervix becomes fully dilated mom will enter the transitional phase of birth. This time is often the most intense. The body makes a  transition from actively opening the cervix to beginning to nudge the baby downward through the birth canal. Transition occurs when the cervix is between 7 to 10 centimeters. During transition, the body releases adrenaline which makes mom more alert and she may become more aware of her discomfort and fatigue. The fight or flight response is triggered by the release of adrenaline. Mom may begin to doubt her own ability to continue further with birth. She may say something like “I can’t do this anymore”, “I want to stop”, “I need an epidural”. Hopefully you have already communicated your goals by now. Your job is to remain calm and encourage your partner that she can absolutely do this. Transition is a sign that the baby will very quickly be born, so tell mom that. Saying, “hang in there, honey, you got this,” will be a Godsend to her during this time.

STAYING COMMITTED TO WIN

You are empowered to make the call and do what feels aligned with your birthing goals. Encourage mom to trust herself, her body and her baby.

>RELATED TOPIC: Guide to Breastfeeding Support + Essentials<<

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Kat Gallis was born and raised in Ventura County. She is a wife to an elementary school teacher and mother to two children, Hazel (2) and Brayden (4) as well as a baby with 4 paws, Kona. She is an ICU nurse by night and HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator by day, who is passionate about teaching women how to have a positive and calm transition into early motherhood. She loves all things related to natural birth and lives to inspire others looking to have a positive birthing experience. Coffee is one of her favorite things in the world as it fuels her daily and nightly endeavors. She loves to make friends, so if you enjoy coffee just as much her and you have a child stuck to you - its a date!

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