A Fathers Role During Hypnobirthing
A question I often get asked about is the role of the Father. Please read on all future Hypnobirthing Dads, I hope these details will help you enjoy this amazing journey you are on!
Mothers’ and Fathers’ Instincts
Trust that her instincts about anything to do with birth and the baby are right. Women giving birth now are the peak of an evolutionary process that has been developing for millennia. She can be trusted absolutely to know what’s best and what to do.
Fathers also have a vital role in the care of mother and baby. His instinct is to protect, and that instinct has been developing for millennia too. A man’s hormones adapt to this role around the time of the birth, and revert to normal a few weeks later.
A hypnobirthing father or birth partner provides important support for a woman giving birth:
Most of the work of hypnobirthing is done in pregnancy so practice is essential.Practiithehypnobirthing techniques in pregnancy brings a couple closer together, and the fathers know that he has played a useful role in how his baby enters the world. This also deepens his bond with his own child after birth.
A hypnobiing father can be extremely supportive at antenatal visits, and is the person who helps her to ask the questions that ensures she makes the decisions that give her the best possible birth experience.
At the Birth
The father or birth partner’s most important role is to protect her space and make sure nobody disturbs her private bubble of positivity and calm. This is especially important in the down (second) stage of labour as that is when many midwives will start to instruct her in pushing and interfere with her space.
Prompts during surges can be very helpful, and many women have said, ‘It was his voice that kept me focussed. I couldn’t have done it without him.’ Remember that, at times, she may prefer silence.
During pregnancy you will have gone to sleep listening to the Colour and Calmness CD and the cumulative effect of this relaxation is available to her when she gives birth. It is the father’s role to make sure the relaxation is playing when she would like it, and to suggest it to her if it has slipped her mind.
The gentle back stroking that you practised in pregnancy is wonderful during surges when she is in labour.
It is important that a woman in labour does not become dehydrated. Offer her a sip of water from time to time. A few drops of Five Flower Remedy from Healing Herbs can help her remain calm and confident.
Giving birth is a strenuous physical activity and making sure she has snacks available as required help to keep her energy up.
Use essential oil of lavender for a calm environment. This can be in an essential oil burner (electrical if in hospital), in a container of hot water, or simply a few drops on a handkerchief or tissue held to her nose. Essential oil of lavender is also safe to apply topically. Lavender is the oil that promotes calm and relaxation.
She may like to be offered arnica to dissolve under the tongue. This is the remedy that supports tissue under stress and, however gentle the birth, the body has been doing unusual work.
After the Birth
The ‘golden hour’ after birth is an extremely important time of transition for a new baby. The mother’s whole being will be focussed on her baby, so it is up to the father to keep an eye on whatever you had decided about:
- Cord clamping
- Injection of synthetic oxytocin for the mother
- Vitamin K for the baby
Immediate skin to skin contact at this time is important and mother and baby do not need to be separated for anything unless it is an emergency. Of course this time includes skin to skin bonding for Dad as well.
Perhaps the most valuable support that a father gives is in the form of continuity of care. Without eption eppveryone agrees that the continuous support of a known caregiver gives the best outcomes but sadly this seldom happens on the NHS in the UK. A knowledgeable hypnobirthing father provides that continuity simply by being there for her. Just knowing that the person you know and love is there for you is of enormous benefit when giving birth.
As one father said when they were expecting their first baby, ‘When we had our first baby, I thought it was something that you do. Now I know it’s something that happens.’