Portland Marriage Counseling: Helping Your Partner through Pregnancy

February 4, 2012 by

One of the most common things I hear from my Portland marriage counseling clients who have just had a child is how unexpectedly fast the pregnancy really was… and how unprepared they felt for the actual birth.

Most of my pregnant clients in Portland marriage counseling have some sort of idea about how they want their labor to go. Some feel weird about putting chemicals and want to experience the birth naturally, if possible. Others are happy to utilize the best that modern medicine has to offer, even if it means not remembering much of the process. It’s important to discuss the birth before it happens to ensure you know what your partner wants.

Talk About the Birth and Make a Plan in Portland Marriage Counseling

As the birth partner, your main job should be to make the labor and birth as close to what the mother wants as possible, and the best way for you to do that is to ask her questions. The relationship help that I can offer is to tell you common important questions to ask, and, if need be, show you the best way to present those questions to your partner. I also recommend getting a book or two on childbirth and reading it at least several weeks ahead of time so that you know what to expect.

Some general things that every birth partner should do before labor include:

Visit the doctor or midwife. Getting to know them even a bit will help you and them to feel more comfortable.

Tour the maternity area and pre-register. Learning the layout of the hospital or birth center will help greatly when the time comes since there’s a good chance you won’t be thinking clearly. Touring also often allows you to pre-register and fill out any necessary paperwork so that you won’t have to do so when you are rushing into the delivery room.

Plan your route. It’s important to know the exact distance and rough amount of time it takes you to get to the hospital or birth center.

Take classes. Birth classes not only teach you what to do, but can actually help to make you calmer through the actual birth since things will feel more familiar.

Pack ahead of time. You’re going to need to pack for the mother, the baby (including a professionally installed carseat), and even yourself since you don’t know how long labor might take. Plan for this to be at least an overnight trip, with changes of clothes and necessary toiletries. For a more complete list of things you may want to pack, check out a childbirth book and then talk to the mother to see what she may desire.

Make a birth plan. This basically tells the birth center or hospital staff exactly how the mother would like her birth to go. It should let the staff know who will attend the birth, how the mother would like to be treated in labor and how much freedom she desires, how she would like to deal with the post-birth care of the baby, and what to do if unexpected events occur during the birth.

If you feel too overwhelmed to deal with all of this yourself, I encourage you to seek out relationship help in Portland marriage counseling.