We are DONE with clueless dads and partners in the birthing space. It is just as much their birth experience as it is yours and they deserve to be educated and empowered also. Not to mention it is more likely that you will have a positive experience if they are ready to be a rockstar birth partner. Turn into this episode for for tips on getting your partner prepared for your unmedicated hospital birth.
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Mamas, you are going to want to bookmark this episode and save it for later because today I’m going to share some tips on getting your partner ready for birth. We are DONE with the clueless dads, with the clueless partners in the birthing space.
I feel like it’s like a fun thing to joke about, like dad passing out during birth and “oh, I’m not going to look below the waist, haha”. I just think this is perpetuated and comes from way back when dads literally were not in the birthing space – they waited outside, which you know, that does have some cultural and historical roots to it where women gave birth in the home surrounded by the wise women, but that’s just not our reality anymore.
The reality is most women in the United States give birth in the hospital with only their partner, their husband, the dad there with them. So, it is just as important for the dad to be educated and empowered. They deserve a good birthing experience just as much as the mom, just as much as you. So let’s get them empowered to fill the big shoes of the biggest supporter in the room. They are going to be your birth support, your birth advocate – even if you have a doula – they deserve to know what to expect, to know how to support you, and to know what to do.
Imagine being the partner and walking into birth, having no clue what to expect. I mean, just like a lot of pregnant women walk into that situation as well. But you wouldn’t want to do that. Obviously you’re listening to this podcast because you want to walk into your birth feeling prepared and feeling powerful. And our partners deserve that same respect as well. Not to mention, it’s more likely that you will have a positive experience, that you will feel really supported and more powerful and more empowered if your birth partner is ready to rock it in the birth partner job.
Here are my four tips on getting your partner prepared:
Tip #1 is to take your childbirth education course TOGETHER. It’s good for the partner to also have an understanding of how birth works, not just to know what to expect in the process, but also to help remind you of where you are in the process as well. Because one, you’re not going to be able to logically explain or walk your partner through what’s going on during labor. Okay, you’re not going to be able to say, “Oh, this is early labor.” It’s not the time to be doing that. And this is actually why a lot of doulas, even if you’re having a doula, a birth expert, with you during birth, they don’t have time to educate you on the process, on the coping mechanisms, on the strategies, on the positions in the moment. You need to have that knowledge before. So does your partner! And you may forget some of the things you learned in your childbirth education course once labor gets challenging. Once you’re in the thick of it, it gets a little more difficult to tap into that knowledge. Which you know, side note, is why we practice. In Unmedicated Academy you get homework, and you practice these things so that they’re easier to tap into when you’re in labor. But when you’re in labor, your logical thinking is turned off. So it’s actually really difficult for you to regurgitate educational things when you’re in that primal state, which is what we want, to be in that primal state. That’s how we get through labor unmedicated. If you’re not tapped into that primal state, it’s really difficult to surrender to the birth process.
So number one, it’s really important that your partner is educated on the childbirth process and the strategies and the tools for helping you through unmedicated birth. Inside of Unmedicated Academy – if you’re new here – that is my online birth course that uses my signature method, the best birth blueprint to get you prepared and feeling super powerful for your unmedicated hospital birth. The last module is Team, and that is all for you and your partner to watch together to help prepare your partner for birth. And you know what I’m getting a lot of feedback from my moms who just enrolled and they’re having their partners watch the whole thing. So their partners are taking the whole course with them. That is definitely ideal. And insider tip, you can stream! I don’t know if I like the idea of my face being on your big TV and my voice coming through your sound bar but I hear moms are doing that. And it’s a genius idea! It’s a genius way to get that birth education to your partner and bring it to them. Don’t just be like here’s my login, do it yourself, you know, do it together, make it accessible to them, do it when you guys are cooking dinner so it’s just on, you guys are watching and listening. And then if you want to be more in tune, you have lifetime access. You can watch these multiple times and repeat ones that you need to repeat and that sort of thing. So that’s tip one. Do your childbirth education course together.
Tip #2 is to talk about your birth plan together. Talk about your birth plan with your partner. Part of having a strong birth plan comes from having a strong “why” behind all your choices and a strong understanding of how what you put on your birth plan supports your physiological birth process. I actually teach about this in my Better Birth planning class, which right now it’s only available to the moms inside of Unmedicated Academy, but you may see it pop up again in the future. I just did a Black Friday sale on it – sorry if you missed it. But we talk about the importance of having an advocate voice. So in that class, I teach you how to write a really strong birth plan, how to have a strong advocate voice because that’s what makes the birth plans strong.
The birth plans that go out the window – yes, your birth plan can go out the window – there are cases where there is a true emergency, where you might have to stray from your birth plan. Now if you’re truly educated in your options, and you know all your options, it doesn’t take away your empowerment, it doesn’t take away your powerful and positive birth experience because you’re still the decision maker the whole way through when you know all of your options the whole way through. It’s the weak birth plans, the birth plans that don’t have the strong “whys” behind them, that as soon as something on your birth plan goes against what your provider prefers, that’s out the window.
And you guys there’s a reason! There’s a reason I teach you to make your birth plans the way that I teach you. It’s because the typical hospital birth is not set up to support the physiological process. That means when you go into the typical hospital birth, and you just go ahead and go along with whatever they’re doing, it’s very likely you’re going to hit intervention city and that cascade of interventions is going to come down. And this is why we have so many moms who have instrumental deliveries, vacuums, forceps, episiotomies, epidurals, cesarians – this is why.
Okay, so you need a really strong birth plan. You need to know your options, and you need to understand what those options mean in terms of your birth experience. And why we need to be talking about this with our birth partner is because your birth partner is your number one support person. They also need to have an advocate voice. Going back to what I already said, your logical thinking gets turned off. You cannot even form sentences once we get to like transition. You’re that tapped out of your logical thinking skills that it’s difficult to even form a sentence. And so we really rely on our partners to be our voice for us. So you need to talk about your birth plan with your partner and your partner needs to understand your birth plan just as much as you do.
The third tip and, I kind of already alluded to this, is to practice the comfort measures and the strategies NOW. This one is just a no brainer. If you practice the breathing techniques, if you practice the positioning, if you practice the massage techniques with your partner now, it’ll be second nature in the birth room and your partner will know what to suggest to you when you’re stuck. That’s a really common thing in labor. Once labor starts to get really demanding, we tend to get stuck, like literally stuck. I teach you guys all about using movement and changing positions and when we hit that rough spot in labor, we get physically sometimes stuck in one position. And that’s where your partner comes in, or your doula if you have a doula. But again, it’s good for your partner to have this knowledge beforehand and to practice with you so they can suggest those changes and suggest coping mechanisms when you get stuck. There’s something called the Take Charge Routine that we talk about inside of Unmedicated Academy for this time when you get stuck so that your partner can take charge and take over to help see you to the end of your goal of having an unmedicated birth. The point when we get stuck is the point when the moms who had a plan to go unmedicated end up getting an epidural because they need someone to take charge and their partner doesn’t know how to take charge. Their partner is relying on the provider, on the hospital to take charge and what do you think that they are going to do? They are going to offer you an epidural. That’s the support tool that they know.
Granted, there are some really great hospitals and some really, really great providers that may suggest alternatives before that. But if we’re talking about a typical hospital setting, they’re going to offer you an epidural and I mean we could go on and on about like, “Why would they do that?” Well, depending on how many moms they’re managing – you’re much easier to manage when you’re on an epidural. You’re much quieter, you stay still, you’re happy. Boom. They just have to come check on you at a certain time. Okay, I know that’s not all providers, but that happens. Okay, so #3 was to practice your comfort measures and your strategies now with your partner.
#4, the last one, I really want you and your partner to talk about why it’s important for you to go unmedicated. Our partners tend to be problem solvers. They tend to want to save you when things get tough and that’s exactly what’s going to happen when labor gets challenging. They’re going to want to save you, they’re going to want to solve the problem, they’re going to want to find the fix. And again, solving the problem of discomfort in the hospital setting typically looks like getting an epidural. I wrote in my notes “and a catheter” with the 🙁 face. A lot of moms don’t know if you get an epidural you have to have a catheter. I’ve never had a catheter and honestly just thinking of that makes my stomach churn a little bit. I’m assuming you can’t feel it but it sounds the worst. I’m the type of mom that is actually more scared of the epidural than I am of unmedicated childbirth. And even still, I did ask for the epidural all three times. And thankfully, all three times I was almost done and I just didn’t do it for whatever reason, different reasons each time.
Back to what we’re talking about here! It is important for your partner to know why you want to avoid that epidural, why you want to avoid Pitocin, why you want to avoid laying on your back, and why you want to avoid continuous fetal monitoring. I mean this kind of goes back to #2, you know talking about your birth plan, but they really need to know how important it is to you so that they can help you keep your eye on the prize during labor.
So those are the four tips. Let’s summarize real quick.
1. Take your childbirth education course together.
2. Talk about your birth plan. Your partner should know the ins and outs of your birth plan just as much as you. And spoiler alert: you should know more than what you think you should know. The typical mom doesn’t really know that much about her birth plans. I want you to get super educated. And actually right now is a good time to mention, I have an Intervention Research Checklist for you. I’ll link to it in the show notes. You can find it at lizziebolliger.com/diy checklist. And that checklist goes through basically everything that you should be putting on your birth plan and what your options are. You’ll need to make a decision on cervical checks, on how you want monitoring, on Pitocin. And that’s what’s on this list. So you know what to research. There are a couple of pages to help you get started as well. Okay, so here I go off on a tangent! We were summarizing, that was #2, talk about your birth plan.
3. Practice the comfort measures and strategies now.
4. Talk about why it’s important for you to go unmedicated.
Real quick before we wrap up this episode, I just want you to know that inside of my full birth course, Unmedicated Academy, the whole last module is dedicated to getting your birth partner prepared for your unmedicated hospital birth. Inside of that module, we cover how your birth partner can best support you based on your preference for pain medications or rather your preference for no pain medications. How your partner can support you through each stage of labor, how your partner can support you at home. once you get to the hospital, in transition, excetera. We go over the Code Word Method plus other tips and strategies on specifically avoiding the epidural. And then we also include the conversations to have before birth and specific pain management strategies to practice, aka your homework, to make all of that so much easier when it’s time for you to walk into the hospital.
All right, that’s all I have for you. I hope you love the episode. I hope this was helpful in getting you prepared and in helping you feel powerful for your birth. And as always, if you liked this episode, please take a moment to give the show a review and a rating or even screenshot this episode, share it to your Instagram and tag me so I can shout you out. See you next week.