Dad’s Guide to Labor and Delivery {& Labor Cheat Sheet}

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I’ve given you tips on how to have a natural birth at the hospital by preparing mentally for birth, preparing your body, and now we’ve got to prepare dad for birth.

So, here it is, dad’s guide to labor and delivery and I’ve included something special that will help both of you a lot (more on that soon).

Your guy probably wants to be involved in the birth of his baby but is a little nervous about what’s to come. And, if you don’t talk about it now, you could be there in the delivery room with a man that is completely overwhelmed and frozen under the pressure.

You don’t want that. He doesn’t want that. And, the nurses don’t want that.

So, before you pass the phone over to the dad-to-be, let me tell you about a little thing called Dad’s Labor Cards.

They’re 14 (3×5) cards full of easy-to-read bullet points for dad’s to use during the birth process.

Dad’s Labor Cards are perfect for you if:

  • you’re a FTM and your man wants to be really involved but is forgetful.
  • he’s worried that he won’t remember how to help you… and let’s be honest, you are too.
  • you know for a fact that your husband is clueless about all things labor and delivery
  • you want to be sure that he won’t forget any important detail (like, uh, that you have a fentanyl allergy)

You can get a set of these mini labor coach cheat sheets for $1.99 now on the official sales page.

Okay, now, let’s jump in!

I’ve tried to keep this post as short and cut-and-dry as possible because I know just how hard it can be to have my husband read a long post about birth. 

3 Labor Tips for First Time Dads (+ mini labor coach cheat sheets)

1. Be there for her how she needs you to be.

I’ve read blog posts that tell dad to turn the TV off, be right next to her the whole time, and be 100% present (no texting, games, etc.). While I agree with that as a whole, I disagree with some of its specifics. 

  • For example, I was the one who wanted to watch TV during early labor.
  • I didn’t want him right next to me the whole time… actually I didn’t need or want him near me until the very end. And even then, I didn’t want to be touched or talked to.
  • I wanted him to keep up with texts and calls for me. And, I really didn’t notice if he was preoccupied doing something else.

So, it’s really different for each birthing mom. 

Instead, it will help her the most if you:

Tune into her cues. 

  • Does she seem thirsty? Offer to grab her water bottle. 
  • Is she hot? Get a cool cloth to place on her neck. 
  • Is she feeling discouraged? Read her a few birth affirmations.

Follow her lead. 

  • If she wants to dance during contractions, make sure the music keeps playing.
  • When she needs silence, make sure you give it to her.
  • Notice she’s trying to darken the space? Help her to make a cozier, more dimly lit environment.

Ask what she needs or wants.

  • “Do you want me to walk with you?”
  • “Honey, you look cold. Would you like your sweatshirt or should I turn up the heat?”
  • “Do you want anything to eat? It’s been 4 hours since you ate last.”
  • “Would you like me to rub your back on the next contraction?”

2. Take charge while you take care of her.

Before you go to the hospital or birthing center, you need to do everything you can to help her rest and save strength for active labor.

You’ll both be excited and she might want to get busy doing this and that. Don’t let her! She needs to utilize the rest time during early labor to have enough strength for active labor and pushing.

You need to be the one to:

  • Clean up the house before you leave.
  • Pack up the bags and put them in the car.
  • Put the car seat in the car (if it’s not already there).
  • Grab the snacks and drinks.
  • Start timing contractions (more on that later)

Since you’re going to be in tune with her needs and her labor cues, you can help her decide when to go to the hospital. 

Once you’re at the hospital, you’ll be her voice and make sure things go according to the birth plan if possible. Help make decisions for potential medical interventions, birthing positioning, and pain management options.

3. Know your stuff. Or at least, know the basic stuff.

Okay, so maybe your not a prepper and haven’t done the hours of research that she’s done. That’s okay. But, I think you should know some things about the labor process. This chart is helpful for understanding (at a quick glance) where she is in labor.

You can click the image below (or right here) to print the PDF to keep on your refrigerator.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD

Familiarize yourself with the general flow of labor so that you know when she is in the different phases of labor.

Other things dads need to know about labor:

  • your birth plan (talk about the ins and outs before labor – what is your preferred back up plan?)
  • what to do in case of labor stalling
  • how to boost low blood sugar
  • pain management options
  • how to time contractions (or just download an app)

All in all, prepare yourself for what’s coming so that you aren’t so shocked that you’re useless when the time comes.

Worried you’re going to forget what to do in the heat of the moment? 

My husband was too. He was worried that he was going to forget what he was supposed to do, when to do it, and how to do it but he wanted to be involved during the birth process.

2 years ago to the day, I created my first set of Dad’s Labor Cards for my favorite first time dad (my hubby).

To this day, I can still distinctly remember hearing the flipping of cards during labor. I was so thankful that I had made him that little set of labor coach cheat sheets. And, he was too!

Now, you can get a set too.

The Dad’s Labor Cards are perfect for you if:

  • you’re a first time dad, you want to be really involved but you’re pretty forgetful if you’re being honest
  • you’re worried that you won’t remember how to help your partner when you’re in the thick of labor… and let’s be honest, she is too.
  • you know for a fact that you’re clueless about all things labor and delivery
  • you want to be sure that you don’t forget any important detail (like, uh, her birth date or her severe fentanyl allergy)

14 (3×5) cards full of easy-to-read bullet points for the big day… and hey, they’re only $1.99.

Put them on a keychain and bam – you’re ready to be the best daddy-doula there ever was.

Dad-to-be, you’ve got this!

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