Mums share the brilliant things their partners did while they gave birth

Okay, so now mums have shared the rubbish things their partners did while they were giving birth, let’s get to the good bits.

What are some examples of what you should do when a loved one is giving birth?

How can you make them feel supported? How can you help out without being annoying or getting told to piss off?

We asked mums to share the brilliant things their partners did to give us all a bit of a steer.

Massage

‘When I was giving birth to my little girl, every time I had a contraction she was pressing down on a nerve in my leg and it was excruciating,’ a mum, Kate, tells Metro.co.uk.

‘My husband massaged my leg for hours to help me. I was pretty out of it but remember him doing that.’

Pack the hospital bag

Kate adds: ‘He packed the hospital bag with everything we needed – including straws so I could drink water even in a weird and wonderful position.’

Keep an eye on contractions

An easy way to help? Learn how to keep track of contractions as your partner goes into labour.

‘My husband was brilliant,’ says Rhian. ‘He watched my face and told the midwives when another contraction was coming so I didn’t have to.’

Bring food for post-labour feasting

Imogen says: ‘I had a baby six weeks ago and had hyperemesis gravidarum (extreme sickness) the whole way through pregnancy and couldn’t eat.

‘My husband is a chef and made me a picnic hamper and brought it to the hospital for after my C-section.

‘It was the best thing ever with sausage rolls and a cream tea. I couldn’t wait to get off the operating theatre to eat it.’

Learn about breathing techniques

‘My husband was a rockstar at the birth of both of our children,’ Candice remembers. ‘We read a hypnobirthing book in advance and on the day of delivery guided me through the breathing and visualisation techniques beautifully.

‘My first pregnancy had a few complications and I wouldn’t have coped so well without him.’

Laura had a similarly great experience, telling us: ‘My husband is an opera singer. Once I went into labour he calmed me down using the breathing techniques he uses on stage.

‘It worked a charm, my daughter was born under five hours with no pain relief or intervention.’

Record video

‘When our daughter Beatrix was born in 2020 I was too ill to go and see her in the NICU ward and was devastated,’ says Imogen. ‘I kept trying but couldn’t make it out of bed without vomiting.

‘My husband Duncan felt so sorry for me. He used to go over the unit and make videos of her to send to me saying “hello mummy, this is day one in the baby Bea box (incubator)” and give me updates.

‘It made a hard time so much easier and it was really thoughtful. Now I treasure those videos even more as she sadly past away at two months.’

Take care of the practical stuff

Call the ambulance if needed, have the car ready to go, and get the bags packed.

When your partner goes into labour, they shouldn’t need to faff about with the admin side of things.

Krisha says: ‘We had a very quick home delivery for my second child. My hubby had to deliver her in our bathroom but not before he ran downstairs (in a three-floor house) and cleared our lounge ready for the when the ambulance arrived.’

Learn about labour

Don’t go in clueless – do your research to help guide your partner through this process.

This will help if things don’t go as planned.

‘I would love to sing my partners praises during a traumatic 56 hours lockdown labour last year,’ says Melissa. ‘He helped me with hypnobirthing and making decisions as per our birth plan – the birth plan went out the window but he advocated for me at every decision.’

Support your partner’s plan

‘When I was pregnant with my first child my husband, who had never witnessed a birth or even had much time with any children, assumed we’d have a hospital birth and we’d do everything the way it had been shown on TV,’ Sian tells us. ‘I had other ideas coming from a home where homebirth was the norm.

‘He reluctantly agreed to do a hypnobirthing course with me (something he thought would be a bit on the woo-woo side of things) and following the course he did a complete turn around.

‘Not only did he support me with my wishes to have a home water birth but took complete control liaising with the midwives and allowing me the peace and quiet I needed to birth, without any intervention whatsoever, my first child.

‘When my second child came along he was on the same wavelength as me with the home birth but took it one step further delivering our second baby without a midwife present when I misread the signs and went into labour very quickly and delivered on our bathroom floor.

‘All in all a huge change in him from the man I first met and I’m forever grateful for the support he provided on both occasions.’

Advocate for them

It’s tough for your partner to ask for what they want and push back against the wrong thing when they’re busy giving birth. Your role is to be their voice and advocate on their behalf.

Rhian tells us: ‘When it was getting a bit much he went out and reminded the midwives my induction needed turning down – and kept pushing them until they’d done it.’

‘One thing my late husband did was really knowing what I wanted,’ says Holly. ‘He fought my corner in the delivery room.

‘I had two very challenging pregnancies and when having my first they wanted to C-section me (I had pre-eclampsia) Ross asked them to try naturally one more time, he stood firm, they did and I was able to.’

Keep them hydrated

An easy way to help your partner out? Providing a steady supply of drinks.

Rachel says: ‘My partner was great, he kept reminding me to drink and giving me water and isotonic, which really helped as your mouth gets so dry.’

‘He fed me Lucozade throughout,’ Sian adds.

Get involved when needed

Don’t stand by the sidelines and wait for it all to be over.

Emma tells us: ‘I’ve had three home births and every time my husband has been amazing – he is my rock!

‘He’s filled up the birth pool, liaised with the midwives, taken care of the kids while I labour in bed in the early stages, made and brought me food and drinks, he even suctioned out the water from the pool when the pump broke getting it out once and got a mouth full of birth pool water.’

Tell them it will be okay

Lauren tells us: ‘We had six years of fertility treatment and IVF to have our first son so when we went into premature labour the chances of survival were slim.

‘We were taken to the delivery suite five times being told we would need to deliver our baby who was too small to survive, each time my husband was incredible.

‘When I went into labour we weren’t sure if my son was going to be born alive and if the doctors would try to save him as he was only four days over viability and too small at 24 weeks and four days.

‘My husband James was incredible, he held my hand, told me we would be ok and just as always calmed me down.

‘When our son was born he was taken straight to NICU and he got me to the toilet and washed then left to be by our sons side.

‘Sadly our son passed away at eight days old.

‘When we were lucky enough to have our second son and subsequently our daughter, which were both C-section he held my hand and was by my side through it all, making me laugh and telling me it would all be okay.

‘It’s been a bumpy few years and we’ve both aged another 10 years but I couldn’t ask for a more supportive, loving husband who I know always has my back.’

A midwife’s advice for being a great birth partner:

Lesley Gilchrist, registered midwife and co-founder of My Expert Midwife gives five tips for being a brilliant birth partner:

Know your partners’ wishes… but don’t speak for her

Working on a birth plan together means that you’ll know what is important to your partner so you can support her when labour starts.

But don’t speak on her behalf – she is the only person who should make decisions, but you can support her words.

For example, if she decided she does not want pain relief, but the midwife keeps offering it, you can support her by saying: ‘Please could you stop offering – she’ll tell you if she changes her mind’.

At the same time, listen carefully in case things change. Your partner may have made the decision before labour that an epidural is not for her but, if she changes her mind then listen! Talk to her and, if she is very clear, then you can help support her wishes.

Boost that love hormone… but only how she wants you to

One of the most important hormones in labour is oxytocin. It is vital for effective contractions and triggers the production of pain-relieving endorphins.

Loving touch, hugs and words can boost oxytocin in both of you. Touch, like massage or stroking can help to boost oxytocin, so do whatever feels right to her.

But some women hate being touched in labour, and this is totally normal, so if that’s the case, use your actions and words. Tell your partner how proud you are of her, how beautiful she is, how much you love her.

Be her cheerleader – especially when things get tough

Your job is to tell her how great she’s doing and to encourage her when she’s struggling.

Some great phrases are, ‘You are doing so well’, ‘You can do anything for a minute… it’s passing… nearly there…’, ‘Relax your shoulders, relax your body’.

Follow her cues and understand how labour progresses

How your partner feels in labour may change as it progresses. She might be quite chatty or laugh and joke in early labour – this can be a great way to relax and let the hormones flow!

But as labour progresses, she may become less communicative. This is completely normal and is often called the ‘birth bubble’.

This can be disrupted when she is asked questions about her care. You can help to protect the ‘bubble’ by responding to questions, giving answers that you have agreed in the birth plan – but each time say to her “is that right?” so she can just nod or shake her head so the decisions remain hers.

Look after yourself… but choose your moments

Take care of yourself so that you can fully support her. This means that you will need to stay hydrated and energised.

But choose the right time – popping off for a drink when she needs you would not be great.

So think carefully about what you’ll need when you pack your hospital bag and be sure to refill and relax when it’s ok with her.

Do you have a tale of your partner being terrible – or brilliant – while you were giving birth?

Tell us all about it in the comments below, or by emailing [email protected]

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