This question has been debatable for quite a long time. Today’s ultramodern man has become more emotional and sensitive than before. Now, he does not want to fold his hands behind the back while his wife is in the labour room, but wants to hold her hand throughout the most painful process. He does not want to walk alone in the waiting room but wishes to walk with his wife in labour to ease her delivery. He is not ready to put his ears across the wall outside the delivery room – so that he can hear the feeble cry of the newborn, but wishes that he hears the first cry of the baby in his arms.  

Is there a role of a “to be Dad” in the labour room?

It is the woman who takes the pains and delivers the baby, but times have changed and so is the thinking. Nowadays, men want to be with their partners in the labour room. In western countries, men are encouraged to witness the labour process of their partners and they are even invited to cut the umbilical cord. Many hospitals in India have started allowing ‘to be fathers’ in the delivery room. It is very much necessary for men to gear up to face this enduring and long-lasting process or else they may faint and simply complicate the things around. They should read the material on pregnancy and labour beforehand as much as they can.

Here are some useful tips for you if you are going to be with your partner in the labour room:

  1. Try to make her laugh – It is not an easy task. Even if you crack jokes before her she won’t laugh, instead, she may get irritated and shout at you. Still, you can give it a try.Try to make her recall those incidents where she had peals of laughter with you. If this doesn’t work, try to create humour on the things around, but remember do not make fun of her or else be ready to get a hard reply or a tight slap!
  2. Massage her – Massage can give a good amount of relief in pains. Ask your partner if she is relieved of pain through massage. You can start massaging her back and legs with mustard oil, a week before her expected date. Some women also have back labor– the pain of which is intolerable. It is felt that the back is ripping into two parts. In such a case, discuss with your doctor and during pains, you can press her lower back with your closed fist at the place of coccyx or tailbone of the vertebral column.
  3. Do whatever she asks you to – You may not like many things she is doing or is asking you to do. Just keep chanting that you cannot help her in pain or cannot take pains for her and so, at least do small things she is asking you to. 
  4. Be composed – Your one stern look can make her cry. So, try to be peaceful and composed as this is not the time to fight with her. Offer your partner some ice chips to be kept in the mouth which will divert her attention and give relief in dry mouth and lips which is a common sign of labour.
  5. Give moral support – Keep telling her that for 9 months, she has been having a difficult journey and this is an end to it. She is brave enough to take this ordeal and very soon she is going to hold her baby in arms, which will make her forget all the worries of the world. Assure her that this would be the best gift for you.
  6. Motivate her to do breathing exercises – I have seen many couples reading about breathing techniques to be exercised during labour but when it is a ripe time to follow, women forget because of humongous pain. Ask her to inhale through the nose as soon as the contraction begins and exhale through the mouth with a deep sigh. Make her recall these exercises and tell her that she is going to get relief with these manoeuvres.
  7. Take her for a walk – You have held her hand and walked on the beach. But, if you do this now, she will never forget throughout her life. In long-lasting labour, doctors advise the patients to take a stroll which may push the baby down. She may not be willing to do that but if you hold her hand and take her for a walk she may get ready. 
  8. Capture the precious moments – Try to capture the precious moments with your camera when your baby is being weighed or when she is sleeping on her mother’s bosom.  

Being with your wife in Labor not only strengthens the bond between you two but instead assures her that you are with her not only in pleasure but also in pain.