An Expectant Dad's Guide to Pregnancy
You got her pregnant, but are you ready for the nine month roller coaster? Consider this your expectant father’s survival guide.
The Grand Finale continued...
Because there are so many different ways for labor and delivery to play out,
it's difficult to describe a typical experience for a father-to-be in much
detail. Saying that any part of it will go one way or another involves a bunch
of assumptions that may not be true for everyone.
Nevertheless, it's fair to assume that you'll deliver in a hospital, which
is where 99% of all births in the United States occur. That means there will be
doctors and nurses around, with medical support available as needed. If you
plan on going to a certain hospital, you may benefit from visiting the
maternity unit (what this is called differs from hospital to hospital) well in
advance of the due date to get a real sense of what the place is like.
Anticipate spending at least 48 hours there for the delivery.
There's no way you can predict it, but on average, for a woman having her
first baby, labor lasts 12-24 hours from her first contractions to delivery.
Your partner may be in the early phase of labor for many hours before the
hospital will admit her. If at all possible, spend this time together and help
to keep her feeling at ease. When it's time, proceed calmly to the
As labor progresses, it gets increasingly painful. Even with pain control
measures, it hurts a lot. To you, it might seem like not much is happening as
the hours pass. Stay focused on her. "Getting ice chips, cold cloths, foot
rubs, back rubs -- suck it up, guys, it's only for a while," Woods
says. "She is experiencing pain like we can't imagine."
In the worst throes of labor, she might tell you to get the bleep out of
there. "Don't walk out," says Boulanger. "Be there from beginning
The birth of your child is a big event that will change your life. But no
matter how deeply you care, and regardless of how supportive you are, labor and
delivery is not your show. Your name is in small type at the bottom of the show
bill. Even mom is in a supporting role because, really, the baby is the