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Any body thinks their DH/DP won't be helpful during labour


42 replies to this topic

#1 HGL

Posted 06 February 2013 - 08:59 AM

Since I first found out that I was pregnant, I've been worried about how my DH will handle the labour.

The main problem is that my DH panics easily. Just yesterday he rang in me in a panic because he found out that a relative has received an abnormal test result. His mind immediately jumped to cancer, then that she would die and the husband would be left to care for the kids. They're still wanting to have further tests and investigations but it's an extremely common female issue and is most likely to be benign.

I also worry because my DH and I have opposing opinions on labour. If DH had his way, I'd have a scheduled caesarean, even though I'm in excellent health and have been assessed as low risk. He feels a caesarean is 'safer' regardless of the post-op risks and future issues. I on the other hand am very keen to try for an intervention-free vaginal birth (but would be fine to have a caesarean if the baby was at risk).

So I'm worried that he could end up being a liability at the birth. I'm normally the relaxed, non-panicked one in our relationship but I know that during labour I will get distressed and need a support person to be there for me, keep me focused and on plan. I'm worried that as soon as we hit a little bump, he'll insist that I'm risking my life and the baby's life and demand I have a caesarean. Also that he won't be able to handle seeing me in pain.

I'm starting to think I would be better off hiring a private midwife or doula but I'm not sure if my doctor will allow it.

Just wondering if anyone else has been in a similar situation and what they did and how their DH did go on the big day?

#2 littlemissmessy

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:04 AM

My DH was great during my first two deliveries so I had no concerns about this. But the day I went into labour he spent most of the time sitting beside me whinging about nurses not showing up and how he wanted to go home and instead of helping when the real pain hit, he annoyed the heck out of me. But I'm sure your DH will be fine and you'll be glad for his help.

#3 *Kell*

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:05 AM

I was initially worried that my DH would freak out during labour, or be put-off by seeing the blood/gunk coming out of such a beloved place on his wife.
The main thing that changed my mind, is the prenatal classes, and the birth video that they showed. He was so calm and composed, and handled it very well.
So I highly recommend that you take your DH to classes, and make sure that they show a video of a woman in labour.
The second thing for you, is I would definitely find out if your doctor would allow a doula. Doulas are usually in addition to your regular birth partner (DH), so that means that you can have your DH and a back-up. You can send him out of the room if he starts to panic you.
Good Luck!

#4 MrsFeral247

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:09 AM

Invest in a calm birth class and a doula.

You need to spell out your expectations of him clearly. The last thing you need is to have to worry about your husband when he should be looking after you. That being said, you have no idea how you will react when you're in labour. I'm generally quite dependant on my husband for support but I was in my zone while labouring and didn't want anyone near me.

#5 PrincessPeach

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:09 AM

I had a colleague hire a doula & simply told hospital staff she was a close friend.

Her DH passed out during the birth of her first & second children, so they decided he was best left outside the delivery suite for number 3 (and 4 & 5 later on).

#6 Tesseract

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:09 AM

I was quite worried about how DH would handle things. He isn't great under pressure, hates seeing me in pain, wants to "fix" everything and when he can't he gets frustrated. He had also told me that he was already feeling useless and unsure about the birth.

And then we did a CalmBirth course.

The course was absolutely amazing. It was amazing for me, but it was even better for him. He came out a complete convert to natural birth. He knew his role, he knew what to do, he trusted my ability to birth the baby completely.

In labour he was fantastic and we had a beautiful calm birth, we felt like such a team (although you know, I did all the work lol).

Really recommend you do the course.

And/or hiring a doula is a fantastic idea. Honestly you should have an open enough relationship with your OB that you can discuss this with them. If you don't feel comfortable raising the issue of extra support for your labour with your OB, then perhaps you need a different OB, or midwife care.

#7 feralisles

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:11 AM

I knew my DH would be useless.  As it turned out it didn't matter, I was so overwhelmed when labour hit that I didn't know or care if he was even in the room.  I didn't want anyone near me, touching me or even talking to me as I was 100% focused on just getting through.
If you feel you need a support person you can choose to bring one.  Most hospitals allow two - one could be your DH, and one a "friend".  It shouldn't matter whether that is your Mum, sister, friend or a doula/midwife that you have hired.  As long as they are there to support you rather than try to intervene in any decisions regarding your care, I can't see why your doctor would object. Your DH can then take a break if he isn't coping, knowing you aren't left on your own.

#8 Roobear

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:12 AM

I thought why DP wouldn't be helpful in spite of his best intentions and I was right wink.gif
He annoyed the crap out of me ... awkwardly hovered trying to be helpful but not knowing what to do. We both breathed a sigh of relief when my best friend turned up! Lol.
He is not good in stressful situations. At work he is your go to man, but anything to do with me or the kids everyone is better off if he can just sit of the couch in the corner. In my second labour there was no question that I would have an additional support person there. Maybe look into hiring a doula? Or getting a trusted friend/sister/mother to support you?

Edited by Roobear, 06 February 2013 - 09:13 AM.


#9 Country (deci)Mel

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:16 AM

My mother often commented how lucky she was that men weren't expected in delivery rooms when she had her babies.

My father is a highly anxious person, extremely sensitive and she knew he would have been far more hindrance than help.


I think the more experienced PPs have given you some great advice - and remember, even if it IS the norm these days he doesn't have to be there, if after your classes and having a big long talk with your midwife you feel that you would be better off without him then don't feel pressured into having with you 'because he should' - do what it is best for all three of you. (You, baby and DH.. in that order)

#10 missy78

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:24 AM

Or a midwifery student? I was really worried about DP, he suffers from anxiety. Student midwives need to "follow-through" a pregnancy. I had a wonderful lady (a mature age student) who came to all appointments, and in fact ended up catching our beautiful daughter (it was her first "catch" too - really special). DP actually rose to the occasion and was great, but I think having our student friend there made things a lot easier on him. I couldn't have cared, frankly.

And think about triggers: I banned MIL from being anywhere close, because I know she is a trigger for DP's anxiety. And I forbade DP from telling anyone I was going into labour - just so he didn't have the extra worry of people calling if things went wrong. In the end,  I was induced, and it happened to coincide with a planned visit from her so I had to put my big girl pants on and tell her in no in certain terms that she wasn't to be there (DP had tried, but she "steamrolled" him).

ETA: By the way, have faith in yourself. Labour and childbirth hurts, but it's not the end of the world, and you won't necessarily lose control. That's a myth and a stereotype. I found I was very calm and polite given the situation. Yes, there was a bit of "crying out in pain" - but you're bringing a human into the world and you'll be surprised at how strong you are.

Edited by missy78, 06 February 2013 - 09:38 AM.


#11 rocketsurgeon

Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:34 AM

My husband fainted at the birth of both of our children.

#12 Natttmumm

Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:27 AM

My DH was different to that but not the most helpful during labour as he was so worried and anxious he tried to kind of leave me to it. He cried when I had an epidural as he was so worried. All I can say is lucky for mum.
Second time around he was fine. We are having number three very soon and I think he will be ok again.
Try to get another support person to be there too.

#13 MinkyMonkey

Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:34 AM

I agree with the calm birth classes and hiring a doula. Will make a massive difference to the outcome, especially if you and your DH aren't on the same page re: interventions.

#14 Guest_AllegraM_*

Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:37 AM

My DH was useless, but that is because he did not know what to do. We had both mistakenly assumed the midwives would at times suggest position changes and techniques DH could use to help me out. They didn't. I have hired a doula this time and I think with a bit of positive guidance, he will be excellent.

That said, he was a natural at newborn care, when I had NFI!



#15 FeralCrazyMum

Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:40 AM

XP was kind of useless and sometimes helpful. He couldn't find me anything I wanted, but for some reason, in the middle of contractions, what he said to me was clearer than the midwife. He considered his main duty to be announcing the sex of the child and then phoning his family.


#16 noi'mnot

Posted 06 February 2013 - 10:42 AM

My thoughts:

Educate him. Birth is a big unknown to most people before they experience/witness it, and it's natural to be scared of the unknown. Go to classes, read books together, watch documentaries or DVDs, whatever. Get educated.

Get another support person. It doesn't matter who - doula, mum, friend, whatever - you'll probably both appreciate your partner being able to have a break and refresh himself with some backup support.

He doesn't need to be there. If it's not going to work, then make the mutual decision that it's not his role. Fathers don't need to witness their children's births, even if that's what is often expected - especially if they're going to make the whole situation more difficult.


I'm pretty sure that you'll both be fine, though. Most new parents are terrified, and as long as you keep your lines of communication open and discuss what your expectations are of each other well before the birth, I think you'll be ok.

Take care, and good luck.

#17 HGL

Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:21 AM

Thanks for all the great advice.

It does seem to be a bit of a taboo. All the pregnancy & labour books I've read so far seem based on the assumption that men are strong and they'll be an excellent support.

I have heard a lot of friends say that during the labour they found their DH annoying and only wanted them to talk in single words and not touch them.

I'll look into the Calmbirth classes. Other friends have attended the same hospital and say the hospital classes are pretty useless re the actual labour, instead focusing on showing you the facilities, and post natal things like BF and safe sleeping. Apparently there is very little hands on exercises re labour techniques.

The hospital allows up to 4 support people for a vaginal birth so there is no problem having a doula as a 'friend'. I would like my dr on side about the doula and I'm sure she'll be supportive when I explain my reasons why. It's just that DH attends all the dr appts with me so it may be tricky to explain it to her.

Thanks again  original.gif

#18 secret~sammy

Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:29 AM

Have you asked him how he'll think he'll cope?

A friend of mine was terrified her DH wouldn't cope, her DH was terrified he wouldn't cope but neither of them mentioned it to the other until 30+ weeks. Once they realised they were on the same page they were able to plan on bringing another friend with them to support them both, and as far as I know it all went swimmingly. DH did step out a few times to regain his composure but he was OK doing it because he knew DW had her friend there and was supported and she didn't worry about him because she knew the friend would step in and calm him down if required.

#19 epl0822

Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:37 AM

My DH went into "survival mode" and he was the epitome of calm and reason during my labour, despite being a highly anxious person normally. I'm so glad I had him and I couldn't picture being in labour with anybody else supporting me.

BUT- you know your DH best. If you feel he is unlikely to support you, please don't feel guilty about bringing someone else. Have you got a mum or sister or friend you could rely on? You are the priority here and you don't want to spend the last weeks of your pregnancy anxious about how DH might cope or hinder the labour.

#20 HGL

Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:48 AM

QUOTE (secret~sammy @ 06/02/2013, 09:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Have you asked him how he'll think he'll cope?

A friend of mine was terrified her DH wouldn't cope, her DH was terrified he wouldn't cope but neither of them mentioned it to the other until 30+ weeks. Once they realised they were on the same page they were able to plan on bringing another friend with them to support them both, and as far as I know it all went swimmingly. DH did step out a few times to regain his composure but he was OK doing it because he knew DW had her friend there and was supported and she didn't worry about him because she knew the friend would step in and calm him down if required.


Yes, we have discussed it a number of times. The problem is that he doesn't think he panics and that he'll be fine.

He also has an over reliance that that's what the midwives and dr is for and we should just do whatever the MW and Dr tells us. I think he sees himself as more as a passive participant whereas I believe we should lead the process and the MW & Dr should be there for support and if the SHTF.

Although I have PHI I seriously considered going public because I think midwife led care is better for low risk births.

#21 kpingitquiet

Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:56 AM

I kinda thought my husband would be annoying/useless during labor but wasn't willing to face it alone. He was perfect. Did everything I needed even when I was unable to articulate it, defended me against a particularly awful midwife, knew all my choices inside and out, knew all our contingency plans, all of it. And this was no 6hr labor but a 3 day marathon lol so he had plenty of chances to screw up. Never know how they might surprise you. But preparation and education is definitely key.

#22 adl

Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:57 AM

My DH doesnt suffer anxiety as such but he does get upset if I am upset or in pain, such a dear  rolleyes.gif   so I knew he would be pretty much useless... he has a tendency to panic with little emergencies like cut fingers, bumps etc

so we asked a very close friend who is like a doula in that she is a former nurse and mother to 3 to come with us,  it was the best decision... my OB was perfectly fine with it.

She really kept us all calm,  took great photos and was so thrilled to be part of such a special event..my Dh was so grateful to have her there he immediately asked as soon as we were pg again that K be there !!

It also means that he got a break, and he actuakky went off to get flowers at one stage after...knowing I wasnt alone

Friends have found student MW and doulas who need to get experience in threads here I think and have found it a mutually beneficial arrangement.



#23 deejie

Posted 06 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

DH spent my labour with DS1 in a chair in the corner of the hospital room reading Twilight. I kid you not, he will never live it down. He just could not cope with seeing me in pain, so this was his way of tuning out. He does have what I would describe an anxious disposition when it comes to childbirth and has made no secret of the fact that if he was the pregnant one he would be having a C/S! He is much more of a "trust the system, the hospital will take care of you" type of person. I am not.

I knew he wouldn't be much help. DS1 was born in the public system with very little support from overworked and understaffed midwives. I had to do it myself and I didn't cope very well, ending up with an epidural, episiotomy and forceps. I wish I had done it differently.

DS2 was born completely naturally under the care of a private midwife who was worth her weight in gold. We built a very close relationship over many antenatal visits and she knew me back-to-front by the time I went in to labour. I absolutely think that if you are concerned your DH is not capable of offering you the support you need (and this may include advocating for your wishes if you are not in a position to do so, eg concentrating on very close contractions etc) then you should look in to hiring a private midwife or doula.

If you think your doctor will not be supportive of this idea, well, I would be wondering what this says about their birthing philosophy. I would be asking many pointed questions and if not happy with the answer, I would seek alternative care.

Good luck.

#24 Guest_Sunnycat_*

Posted 06 February 2013 - 12:47 PM

My dh was utterly useless because he was sick. This time I'm going to give birth on my own.

#25 ImpatientAnna

Posted 06 February 2013 - 01:13 PM

My DH is a huge worrier, he is a 'fixer', hates seeing me in pain, and is very nervous in general so I was really worried about how he would go. I was wondering if I should have my sister there, but I did just want it to be us. He was great!

At about 36 weeks we had a big talk. He told me he was nervous and he was worried that he wouldn't be able to 'make it better for me'. I told him he had to focus on being the strong one, that he had to keep telling me I could do it and that I would be ok. That he didn't have to 'problem solve'. When I went into active labour I told him that even if I was screaming to just please keep telling me stories to distract me. So he sat by the side of the bath just telling me 'stuff', whilst I sucked on that lovely gas.... It helped. He played solitaire on his iPhone the whole time though because he couldn't look at me having a contraction because it was making him panicky.



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