There was a time when the husband’s role in labor and childbirth was delegated to the back hospital waiting room. The scene was one of an anxious father pacing the floor with a cigar in his mouth. He was out of the loop. He was clueless and powerless. His wife was left to labor and birth by herself. Birth was turned into a medical event.
Dr. Bradley coined the term “Husband Coached Childbirth”. He wrote a book on the subject called Husband-Coached Childbirth: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth which now has been reprinted and updated. Dr. Bradley was a pioneer in bringing the husband back into the delivery room and encouraging him to actively be involved and engaged in the birth of his child.
Times have changed and even in the hospital circles, more husbands are involved in the birth of their children. In the home birth realm, the husband usually plays a vital role in the birthing process. Husbands are encouraged and often looked to as the main support during childbirth these days. The birth at home husband is important…vitally important to the birthing process.
Husbands have regained much lost ground and become active in the labor support role. This is a vitally important role as no one on earth can fill the place of the husband to his wife who is experiencing such a life changing event: the birth of their child. It is a truly intimate experience that solidifies the bonding between husband and wife in relation to the entire pregnancy and birth process. It has now come full circle: the conception of the child, the months of pregnancy, the expectation of labor, the experience of birth, the joy of new life.
During labor the husband can offer much support and effective encouragement to his laboring wife:
The husband is able to give labor support just by his physical presence whether that be someone to lean on, someone to hold her up, someone to support her while she takes a hot shower, someone to give encouraging words. The husband coached childbirth is empowering and encouraging during difficult, hard labor.
The husband offers a tremendous amount of relief from pain to his wife whether it be from a lower back massage to relieve back pain, counter pressure on the lower back during a contraction, massaging feet and hands to aid in relaxation, or holding his wife’s hand for reassurance.
The presence of the husband gives his wife a peace and comfort by knowing that she is protected and loved.
The home birthing husband as labor coach is actively involved.
Husbands should be encouraged to take an active role in the birth of his children. Natural childbirth classes are an excellent way for the husband to become more involved in pregnancy and childbirth for first time dads. Many times the husband would like to help during labor but doesn’t know what exactly he can do. Natural childbirth training will give the husband and wife an incredible amount of knowledge about the birthing process but also practical how to suggestions on the logistical aspects of labor.
Husbands: You play a vital support role during labor. Involve yourself and interact with your wife. It will give her the confidence she needs to complete the work of labor and birth. Do not be offended if she yells at you or puts a fist in your arm or says, “This is all your fault. Sometimes labor can be so overwhelming, you may be honored to take the brunt of her frustrations. Hang in there. Give her physical support and emotional encouragement. This provides a much needed security during a time when your wife feels most vulnerable.