Delivery room survival tips
The day your baby is born will be one you'll never forget. With a little advance planning you can avoid some bumps or misunderstandings. Check out our delivery room survival tips for dads here.
Seuk Kim is a delivery room expert. He and his wife, Anna, have had three children in the past five years. In fact, their first child was born on the morning of August 9, 2008, missing the lucky 8-8-08 date by just a few hours.
theAsianparent Malaysia spoke with Seuk and Anna about their delivery room experiences and they offered several tips for survival. Both say that planning ahead, anticipating, and fulfilling mom’s needs are the keys to having a successful and positive delivery room experience.
Here’s part of our conversation:
Mom and dad should talk about the birthing process ahead of time – A lot of problems can be avoided if mom and dad talk about them ahead of time. Things that might seem trivial before the baby is born can become significant in the delivery room if you haven’t talked about them in advance. Some things to consider:
- What does mom want dad to do during delivery? Hold her hand? Stay by her head and count her breaths? Or watch the delivery from down below? Who’s going to cut the umbilical cord? Do you want an innie or an outie belly button?
- Anticipate mom’s needs. She’s going to be uncomfortable and in pain. Do what you can to help. Hold her hand, rub her feet, massage her legs, rub her neck, and make sure she has what she needs.
- It’s likely that mom will go hours without eating. Before you start munching ask mom if it’s ok to eat in the room. The smell of food might make her nauseous (or envious). Don’t be surprised if she asks you to either eat in the hall or the cafeteria.
- Dad should also bring an overnight bag to the hospital just in case.
The secret word is “yes” – When mom and dad arrive at the hospital, dad should put mom and her needs first. It’s possible (maybe even probable) that mom will be scared, and uncomfortable waiting for the baby to arrive. Dad should be empathetic; hold mom’s hand; massage her; get her water, ice chips or popsicles to stay hydrated; and be her advocate with the medical staff. The most important thing is to be with her (both physically and emotionally). The birth of your child is the end of one journey and the beginning of another. Savor the moment.
Let me entertain you – It’s likely that you and mom will spend several hours waiting for something to happen. Seuk and Anna were in labor the first night of Beijing Olympics and spent hours watching the opening ceremonies on TV. In addition to watching TV, Seuk suggests bringing books, magazines, an iPad or Kindle, or cards to keep busy.
The communicator – Devise a system to update family members on the status of labor or delivery. Mom and dad probably won’t have the time (or energy) to talk to everyone who calls so come up with a way to communicate with friends and family. Create a group text list or post to Facebook or Twitter to provide updates.
The photographer – Dad is going to wear a lot of hats in the delivery room: husband, coach, father, advocate, and photographer in chief. It’s important to talk with mom ahead of time and ask what pictures she wants to you to take and which ones she would prefer that you avoid.
Be the doorman – After mom has given birth, and she and the baby have settled into their room, people will want to visit and say hello. Mom and dad should talk with close friends and family ahead of time and make their visitation wishes known. Dad may have to be the enforcer if people start to show up in droves. Mom and dad will be tired and the first few hours after delivery are important for the family to begin the bonding process. There will be plenty of time for visiting in the coming days and weeks.
Seuk also says that during the birthing process dads can feel ignored.
“I think it's important to take into consideration your own needs. There are plenty of nurses, doctors and other people who will cater to mom and baby’s every need, but the dad usually gets neglected. Not many people are going to ask you how you feel and if you need anything, so you have to make sure that you're taking care of yourself.”