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Instructions for birth partner - what would you add?

(60 Posts)
Plateofcrumbs Fri 11-Jul-14 06:18:32

I'm writing my DH a bullet-point list of 'instructions' for what he needs to do/how he can help during birth. From trivial (feed me jelly babies!) through to important medical stuff (if I have an EMCS make sure they remember that...).

Here's my headings so far - what would you add?

- packing (double check have got maternity notes etc).

- food drink and comfort (reminder of what's in hospital bag to feed me, help me stay cool etc)

- coping (what he can do to help me keep calm - breathing/hypnobirthing stuff etc)

- advocacy (key stuff from the birth plan he should make a fuss about to HCPs if needed).

madwomanbackintheattic Fri 11-Jul-14 06:24:49


Mine had trouble actually staying awake.

Maybe put that?

The midwives were lovely and kept offering to wake him up or make him coffee. In the end we gave up.

To be fair, it had gone on a bit by then, and we were all exhausted. I joined him in sleeping between contractions.

I hope you get the birth you want...

Will you be writing a list of penalties for not adhering to your instructions?

Does he usually need such an amount of guidance?

woodlandwanderwoman Fri 11-Jul-14 06:27:17

The only instruction I gave mine was to promise to stay with me the whole time and not to look!!

The only thing that actually needs to be remembered is your maternity book (mine was orange), bag is also preferable.

madwomanbackintheattic Fri 11-Jul-14 06:28:09

And, um, make sure you think about what you want him to do if you get in there, change your mind completely, and expect him to adhere to the NEW instructions.

I mean, at which point should he believe you have changed your mind, and you want him to go with it, and at which point should he ignore you and stick to the plan? Even if you shout and scream and beg?

To be honest, you sound like you have it covered. I don't think he'll need the list. You'll be fine to keep giving him instructions throughout.

Good luck wink

mathanxiety Fri 11-Jul-14 06:57:17

Caffeine pills (for him)
He needs to brush his teeth a few times in the course of labour if he doesn't eat, and also if he does eat -- toothpaste or breathmints for him so he won't gross you out when he counts in your face while you push

Tube socks for you
Tennis ball or some sort of back massager for you
Chapstick for you
Lozenges for you
Washcloth to soak with water and cool your forehead or neck
Bottles of still water if you like bottled water both for labour and on the ward afterwards
Light snacks for you
Toiletries, hairbrush, deodorant, toothpaste and brush
Nursing bra and nursing pads
Granny knickers and maternity pads
Some sort of nightie you won't mind binning, or just use hospital gowns
Music that you like -- some playlist you enjoy -- soothing music might work better than heavy metal
Towels for your shower afterwards
Baby clothes

Shutting up
Doing what he's told
Not getting in everyone's way
Staying awake
Not answering his phone or talking on his phone
Not looking up football etc on his phone
Keeping relatives out if you don't want them there
There's a lamaze technique where you lightly stroke your bump during contractions that works pretty well to reduce the sensation of pain or distract from the pain -- can't remember what it's called -- something about feathers (in French)

Have you gone to prenatal classes together?

Let him talk you into an epidural
He should let others talk you into an epidural
If you have a drip, make sure he knows to insist they numb your hand or arm with the small novocaine needle before putting in the large IV needle
He needs to know any allergies you have to latex (bananas, avocados) aspirin, penicillin, etc. Any asthma, any previous surgery, any reactions to anesthesia
Ask questions for you if you need questions asked on the ward afterwards
Keep visitors away if you are not up to visitors

Making sure you have what you need on the ward afterwards by way of water, tissues, fruit to snack on and get you moving, crackers, your own high quality TP, a perineal bottle (you can buy them online, they are fab), chemical ice packs for perineal use (online, they are fab)

Cleaning the house and stocking the fridge for you while you're in the hospital

Chipandspuds Fri 11-Jul-14 07:11:58

I jut told DH my birth plan and told him under no circumstances do I want my back rubber or any sort of massage (not a touchy feely person)! I just told him I didn't know what I'd be like or need and he was to do whatever I asked grin

DH was excellent, when I went into labour at home he got me water and paracetemol and made me toast that I couldn't eat. He ran me a bath and sat with me for over an hour and topped it up with hot water. He helped me get dry and dressed when I got out if the bath. He carried the hospital bags and supported me walking to the car.

When we got to the hospital he again carried my bag and helped me walk to the maternity wing. He then let me bruise his fingers with my iron grip grin and I asked him to breathe with me so that I could follow and breath better myself. When it was time to push I asked him to count from 1 onwards and keep counting - I decided on the spur of the moment I would push as hard as I could for at least 30 seconds!

DH also wanted to cut the cord so I added this to the birth plan as well.

Quite excited about doing it all again soon smile

Plateofcrumbs Fri 11-Jul-14 08:27:44

madwoman caffeine pills for DH not a bad idea! grin

To be honest there's nothing ruled out in my birth plan - for pain relief etc it's start minimal but if on the day I want/need all the drugs then that's fine.

Main things are I want to try using relaxation/hypnobirthing principles so want to try to stay in my own zone, so the more DH can make himself useful without me having to tell him at the time, the better. Plus he does a better job of being demanding than me, so he can take the lead on that, providing he knows what I want him to be demanding about.

Some helpful ideas here thanks, keep them coming!

Heels99 Fri 11-Jul-14 08:30:24

I think you just need to go with the flow. I don't think he needs a list, have a conversation instead.

Heels99 Fri 11-Jul-14 08:31:45

Just wondering whether a doula would be helpful for you ?

forago Fri 11-Jul-14 08:45:03

realistically (I have discovered over three births) there is not really much for them to do. Just hold your hand and carry and fetch refreshments, flannel etc. Advocacy is a good point but, again, you really need to make any decisions yourself in conjunction with what your body is telling you. Any emergency or time critical decisions will (and have to be) made by the staff, pretty much.

So basically think of him as a porter stroke waiter smile Birth really is one of those things where you have to go with the flow (and I say that as a massive control freak).

oh and be careful that he doesn't overdo it on the refreshments. At my third birth, I'd put a large box of Capri suns in the car from the freezer for the duration of proceedings (labour wards can be HOT!). As DP didn't really have much to do he kept just handing me Capri Suns and, being slightly distracted, I just kept drinking them. It was only as things progressed and I threw up, as you often do in established labour, that I realised he had fed me the whole box when I covered the entire bed, myself, the floor and the poor midwife in bright purple sick!

Heels99 Fri 11-Jul-14 09:35:20

Yes definitely give the jelly babies a miss!

Scotinoz Fri 11-Jul-14 09:42:32

Conversion - eliminate annoying topics ahead of time. Football, F1, general drivel etc

RiverTam Fri 11-Jul-14 09:48:57

goodness, was I meant to give DH a list? We wrote a birth plan together, whilst being fully aware that it could go out the window at any moment (which it did). I packed my bag in advance so that was done.

I dunno, he was just there with me, that's all.

NickyEds Fri 11-Jul-14 11:10:08

Are they just the headings!!?! You'll discuss the important medical things together before hand and all with of the more trivial stuff I'd just go with the flow.You'll be able to talk during labour so just order advise him then! Mainly they are required to do as they're told, stay awake and not, under ANY circumstances-however tired/hunger they get, complain.

PenguinsHatchedAnEgg Fri 11-Jul-14 12:01:57

A packing list is a fairly good idea - on the top of the hospital birth to check you have everything before you leave.

The rest of it, I'd take it as it comes. You might want the snacks, you might not, etc, etc. Do you think he's going to read a big long document in the midst of things? You might be better of talking it all through in advance.

Plateofcrumbs Fri 11-Jul-14 18:15:46

Oh yes I don't plan to just hand him a detailed set of instructions on the day - I 'm going to make the list then we can talk it through, then he has the list as a reminder. I'm naturally more of a 'wing it' person whereas DH likes a plan, so I thought he'd appreciate stuff written down.

WanttogotoDisney Fri 11-Jul-14 18:21:33 sounds a little controlling and I don't think you can plan giving birth in this sort of detail. But you might want to agree between you what should happen if your baby needs to go to special care. Should your DH stay with you or follow your baby.

PenguinsHatchedAnEgg Fri 11-Jul-14 18:24:50

I think maybe you are trying to control every variable in a situation where that isn't possible. Are you particularly anxious about birth generally?

Your birth plan can take care of things that are important medically (put the really vital stuff in bold). A packing list is good. I think that the benefit of the remainder is the planning, not written instructions on the day smile

missbluebird Fri 11-Jul-14 18:25:38

You should have a code word (or something) to indicate when you want to go off plan....I drummed into my DH that under no circumstances were they to give me any pain relief. I ended up begging for an epidural and DH stuck to my plan and insisted that I did not really want one and I didn't get one which I really regret.

PurplePidjin Fri 11-Jul-14 18:27:19

forago I was coming on to say get him to make sure you drink enough! DS took several hours longer than needed (and I ended up at 8cm on Syntocin with no epidural!) because nobody realised I was dehydrated blush

PenguinsHatchedAnEgg Fri 11-Jul-14 18:27:39

It's not S&M! If you'd said the code word, how would that have made him believe you more than the begging. Surely if you told him to ignore begging, he'd also assume that the code word was 'heat of the moment'? I genuinely don't get how it would help.

PastaandCheese Fri 11-Jul-14 18:47:33

I think you just have to see how it goes on the day.

In my first labour I was so hot so for my second I instructed DH to keep me cool. I ended up being feeling cold for some reason. As the poor man got a fan out I was snapping that I was cold.

In all honesty I have only ever wanted water from DH by the end. Didn't even get a hand y

PastaandCheese Fri 11-Jul-14 18:48:41

Gah.... A hand to hold fir pushing as we'd agreed he could watch them being born if he wanted which he did.

That said making time to talk about how you think you might feel is a good idea.

missbluebird Fri 11-Jul-14 19:08:50

S&M would have been less painful! We had prepared our birth plan so much and talked about how it had exactly to be that when it then I didn't want that anymore my DH did not know the alternative. I was in too much pain to talk him through it so he stuck to the original plan and relayed this to midwife.

I just think that the OP should not only talk through what she wants with her DH but also be prepared for her changing her mind. This needs to be easily communicated as you can't always verbalise it when the contractions are all on top of each other.

PenguinsHatchedAnEgg Fri 11-Jul-14 19:13:45

I agree with all of that! I think, though, that all that "don't let me get an epidural even if I'm begging" stuff is what causes the issues. Personally I think that, if you are begging, unless you are in transition and having 'a moment' (which you can normally find out by waiting just a few contractions), you need one. So my instructions to DH would be to take whatever I say seriously. smile

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