Family Magazine

Dad’s Guide to Survive Active Labor

By Upliftingfam @upliftingfam

Heading to Labor and Delivery at the Hospital Many new dads don’t know what to expect during the labor and delivery process, especially, if they are a first time dad.  If you have ever seen a tv show or movie that shows a woman giving birth, let me assure you that most labors don’t look anything like what you have seen on television.  A woman typically labors for many hours before she is ready to deliver her baby and it is rare for her water to break on its own.  So if your wife or significant other tells you that she thinks that she is in labor, there is no reason to panic and rush to get her to the hospital unless she is in active labor and having regular contractions every 3 to 5 minutes and last about a minute.  Typically, active labor can last up to 6 hours unless she has a history of short labors or this isn’t her first baby, so if you think your wife or significant other is in active labor you should head to the hospital or birthing center.

Disclosure:  This post is for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be substituted for medical intervention.  I am not a doctor, midwife, or nurse.  If you think that your wife or significant other is in labor, please contact her doctor or midwife or take her to the nearest labor and delivery unit for observation.

Determining if Mom is In Active Labor

Once you arrive at the hospital, the nurses will admit her into the hospital so that they can monitor her contractions and determine if she is in active labor.  The contraction monitor will measure the intensity, duration of the contraction, and how frequently the contractions are coming.  They will also monitor the baby’s heart rate to ensure that the baby is tolerating the contractions.  After they have her hooked up to the monitor, the nurse will do a pelvic exam to check her cervix.  Most hospitals won’t keep mom in the hospital unless she is dilated to 4, her water has already broken, or continue showing signs that her labor is progressing.  If she isn’t dilated to a 4, they may encourage you to walk around the hospital or monitor the contractions for an hour to see if there is any progress from the first pelvic exam.  If there is no change, they will send her home and tell her to come back when she is in active labor.

Going to the Hospital Too Soon

As a mom, I went to the hospital too early with each one of my pregnancies and it can be very frustrating if she is having regular contractions and is being sent home.  If she is up to it, you can attempt to go for a walk at the mall or go window shopping to help distract her and see if the contractions continue getting stronger.  If not, try to go home and encourage her to rest.  Early labor is usually the longest period of labor and it can be very unpredictable.  It can last for hours or days, contact her doctor if she is unable to get any rest.

What Happens if Mom is in Active Labor or Labor is Progressing?

If they determine that she is in active labor or that her labor is progressing they will keep her at the hospital   Most doctors will order the nurse to start an IV so that they can give mom fluids and draw blood work.  Once mom is in active labor, this is where dad needs to step in and help her work through the contractions, as you have probably already discussed with her prior to this moment.  Some moms want dad to leave her alone while others want dad to do things such as give her a massage, talk her through the contractions, or allow her to squeeze her hand.  Dad it is best to discuss what she wants before this stage of labor so that you know how to respond; of course, she may change her mind half a dozen times as well.  If that happens try to be patient with her while she is trying to deal with the pain.

Ask Your Doctor If You Can Move Around With Limited Monitoring Before You Are Admitted to Labor and Delivery

Some doctors want to constantly monitor the baby; however, if her doctor will allow her to move around while she is in labor you can try to encourage her to move around or change positions to help ease labor pains and keep labor progressing.  Some things that she might try include:  walking the halls of labor and delivery, stand up and sway through the contractions, use a birthing ball, take a shower, soak in the bath tub, sit in a rocking chair, or other birthing positions that she wanted to use to help her labor progress naturally.  At this phase of labor, she may opt for pain medication or an epidural depending on her birth plan.  If she didn’t have a birth plan written down; hopefully, she has communicated her wants to you so that you can assist her the best you can during the laboring process.  If she wanted a natural birth, you can try to talk her out of the pain medications and help her refocus on her breathing techniques.

If you and your wife or significant other haven’t taken birthing classes yet, check out “Are Childbirth Classes Necessary for Expectant Mother’s?”  The three popular birthing class available are: Lamaze Classes, Bradley Method, and Hypnobirthing.  Being prepared for the birthing process can create a more calm and relaxing birth.  These classes also teach you how to help your wife or significant other with her breathing techniques.

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