Advice for Labor Partners: What to Do Before Labor Begins

Your role is very important. Your physical presence and emotional strength mean a lot to your partner’s feelings of security. And what you do to support your partner through labor and birth will reassure her that you’re going to be with her every step of the way.

Here are some things that are helpful for you to do before labor begins:

  • Attend childbirth classes and pay close attention. You’ll learn a lot about breathing, relaxation, comfort measures and choices. You’ll also learn about the roles everyone plays in childbirth and what kind of help you can expect to get.
  • Prepare and discuss your birth plan.
  • Pack the bag.
  • Preregister at the birth center or hospital.
  • Practice your route to your birthing place.
  • Have fun going out to dinner and seeing movies one last time without a sitter!

Barbara Hotelling, BSN, CD(DONA), LCCE, FACCE, has been a Lamaze International Certified Childbirth Educator since 1983. She teaches childbirth classes, is a doula in Rochester Hills, MI, and is past president of Doulas of North America and Secretary of the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS).

Harold Hotelling, Barbara's husband, learned labor support during the births of their five children. He is chair of the Humanities Department at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield, MI.

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