15. Offer cold cloths or hot compresses.
Sweaty? Regularly wipe her face or tie up her hair. Experiencing back labor? Offer a hot compress or heatpack for her back. Heat and cold can both be useful for a range of things in labor, but her preference may change depending on where the pain is.
16. Let her use you for physical support.
Remember how hard it was for her to get up off the couch during the third trimester? During labor she’ll have the big bump, combined with contractions and less energy. Help her stand, move or even hold onto you and rock during contractions.
17. Be the DJ.
Has she brought her pregnancy music? Make sure your partner’s favorite playlist is ready for her and know which songs she’d like you to change to as labor progresses.
18. Don’t comment on anything that shocks you.
Some parts of labor are normal; whether it’s pooping while pushing or throwing up and getting the shakes during transition. Other parts are not, such as extremely heavy bleeding.
If you see that medical personnel are concerned, don’t convey this to your partner. Right now, she needs to stay as calm as possible and get through labor; telling her in detail that something is wrong won’t achieve anything and just stress her out. Instead, let her know that you’re there for her, your care providers are making sure everything is alright and help her with any instructions they give.
19. Know when to be quiet.
You can provide suggestions and support, but watch her face carefully and be aware when she’s in ‘labor land’. Sometimes continual questions and requests can be annoying – especially during the end of labor when contractions can be intense and feel almost continuous. Asking her if she’s OK won’t help.
20. More support is needed after labor.
After birth your partner will need to birth the placenta, breastfeed baby and possibly need stitches or other medical care. Not to mention, she may be very hungry. Be prepared to continue supporting her after the birth.
21. Advocate for your baby.
The longer baby can stay skin to skin with the mother and the longer the umbilical cord can remain uncut, the better it is for your new addition. Many tests and procedures don’t need to be done immediately, so if you wish, you can request time for mother and baby to bond and breastfeed. It can also be beneficial for baby to wait up to 2-4 days after birth before their first bath; the white coating of vernix on their skin is an antibacterial and moistoriser.