Purpose built: a woman’s body is designed to carry a baby and give birth. Her body is like a spaceship that provides the perfect conditions: oxygen, food and temperature control. It's incredible!

As soon as she thinks she’s pregnant…

 
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It’s your opportunity to step into a new role as a protector of your partner and child:

  • See that she gets to her doctor

  • Find a midwife  or “lead maternity carer

  • Be there for meetings with the lead maternity carer

    • Write down questions you  have so you can remember to ask

  • Make sure the midwife understands how much involvement that you expect to have

  • Go to as many scans and other health checks as you can

  • Book into an antenatal course early (these often have limits on numbers) – and go to them together

  • Talk with her about what she wants you to do when she’s in labour – and write a birth plan together

  • Even if you're planning a home birth, visit the maternity unit at the hospital beforehand to check out

    • where to go

    • parking

    • night time entry

  • See that she has a bag packed and ready – and know what’s in the bag

  • Pack what you will need in case you're there for a couple of days

  • Sort out the car seat/capsule you'll need one to drive the baby home

  • Sort out where the baby is going to sleep

  • Talk to your boss about what the arrangements you need to make around time away from work

  • If you have problems with the car, get them sorted

Almost all dads (86%) are at the birth
These days a dad needs an excuse NOT to be at the birth
 
What you can do during the labour and birth:
 

 

Be there with your partner. Listen to her, reassure her, get her what she needs, stick up for her.

  • Be encouraging

  • Make sure she has water to drink

  • Have snacks for her

  • Make her as comfortable as possible

  • Hold her hand and let her crush it if she needs to – you’ve got another one!

  • Role with it if she yells at you

  • Do whatever she asks

  • Pay attention and respond to what she says or does

  • Be her ears and listen to the health professionals – she may not be able to take in what they are saying

  • Be her voice if people aren’t listening to her

Once the baby is born

 

Congratulate her.

  • See that she is comfortable – change things if she isn’t

  • Make sure she has what she needs – including food, water and rest

  • Hold your baby to your bare chest – this helps your baby identify you and begin to attach to you

Visitors

You may have more people wanting to see the baby than your partner and you can handle. While whanau may be keen to see and hold the baby, it is also a time that the three of you may want few, if any, visitors.

What you decide about visitors will probably be about balancing the expectations and culture of your family and whanau, with what you and your partner feel is right for you. Whatever you and your partner decide, you may have to be the gatekeeper enforcer. You can tell people that you don’t want the baby to be over-stimulated or that they are sleeping. The same can be true for the new mum. Tell them you’ll let them know when is a better time.

If people want to help, tell them it would be great if they drop-off meals you can heat up later. Meal Train is an excellent app that can organise friends and whanau to do cooking they can drop off without coming in.

How people can help

You may find that some relatives have their own ideas about how involved they intend to be with the baby.

Some of the family may assume on being there a lot – nearly moving in – without talking it over with the new parents. Discussing this with your partner before hand is important because you both may have different views on the who, when and how long for visitors . You may not entirely agree, but discussing how each of you feels on this is better than finding out on the birth day.

Your role as a father and paryner starts right from the get go. Enjoy!