1. Don’t Rush to the Hospital
You may feel more at ease if your partner is there during the first phase of labor, but if you show up too early, they’ll just send you home. And home is a much more comfortable place to be. She can eat and drink, walk around freely without being hooked up to an IV or monitor — even grab a nap in her own bed. (And so can you!)
2. Know Your Stuff
Pay attention during your childbirth education classes. Learn about the phases of labor, what’s happening to your partner’s body, and the reasons for a C-section. Knowing what to expect will make the experience less terrifying for you. Your staying calm and focused will help your partner.
3. Get Ready for the Wait
Your partner will have several hours of increasingly painful contractions until it’s time to push. Depending on whether she gets an epidural, she may need your help walking the halls, as it often feels better to keep moving. (In addition to the casual clothes you’ve already planned for the big event, don’t forget to wear really comfortable shoes.) Bring along distractions, such as a deck of cards, an iPod, or whatever you think might take her mind off her increasing discomfort.
4. Don’t Worry
There is a lot of action in the delivery room! If something is going on that you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask the nurse questions. Also, don’t worry if you’re asked to step out of the room. If your partner gets an epidural, you’ll be asked to briefly leave her side. This doesn’t mean anything is wrong; it’s just standard procedure in many hospitals.
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