Preparation is everything
It helps to be prepared beforehand and that's where antenatal classes come in. They'll teach you all about the different stages of labour and what's going to happen when. You'll also learn how to help your partner breathe through the contractions and they're a brilliant place to meet other dads and birth partners who might be feeling the same way you are.
So what can you do during the birth?
Make sure you know exactly what’s in your partner’s birth plan. So whilst she’s concentrating on breathing and pushing, you can make sure that, wherever possible, her wishes are followed, especially when it comes to pain relief options.
Be ready to get your partner drinks and snacks when she needs them. Massaging her shoulders, feet or hands may help keep her more relaxed. And during the early stages of labour to reduce pain, help your partner stay mobile by physically supporting her or helping her change position in bed. Massaging her lower back may also ease the pain. Equally importantly, don’t forget to provide encouragement throughout the birth especially when it comes to breathing between the contractions.
It’s worth also remembering not to take it to heart if she swears at you during the birth – wouldn’t you swear if you were pushing out something that felt like a watermelon?!