In the final few weeks of pregnancy women can either bask in the continuing glow and enjoyment of nourishing a new life or wish for any possible remedy to get their alien invader out of their bodies. Usually their feelings fluctuate between the two.
Dads have limited options but to sit and wait, being as supportive as possible, and listening for reports of any twinge, Braxton Hicks, or other signs that something is going to happen. It’s a long waiting game and doesn’t seem to be any clearer between the first, second or further pregnancies.
Discussions inevitably turn to how we can encourage the little one to make an appearance.
The internet and grannies seem to have all manner of suggestions about how to bring on labour when the time is right. I have no idea if any of them work. I’ve certainly tried some of these but I can’t point to any one thing that brought on the birth of our first daughter. And I don’t know if anything is working for the current baby we’re waiting for.
While it might seem counter to all feelings of pain and aching in the body, walking around may actually help to prepare the body for labour. If the baby if sitting in an awkward position, then walking may help to turn it the right way and get its head down in preparation for short journey down the birth canal.
Dad tip: Go for long walks with your partner but plan a route that has the possibility of frequent toilet stops. It’s not good to let your pregnant partner squat at the side of the road!
A hot and spicy food, typically a Vindaloo or Madras curry if feeling brave, may help to bring on labour. I’ve heard many different reasons why. Basically it seems that by throwing your intestines a curve ball with the extra spice, it may irritate them enough to spasm and cause the uterus to cramp. I used to wonder how cultures with lots of spicy food didn’t have babies early. I suppose if women’s bodies are used to hot food, it’s less likely to have an effect.
Dad tip: Don’t give spicy food to your partner if she never usually has it. And don’t give too much. The body usually evacuates its bowels as it prepares for labour, but this process is made less pleasant (especially in the birth room) if a lady has a upset tummy, i.e. the s**ts.
If you look at the medical induction of labour, most of the techniques mimic the act of sex. A pessary is given to mimic the effect of sperm, which contains prostaglandins which prepares and softens the cervix. Medical staff may also do a “sweep” of the cervix to try to loosen the “plug”. Again, this mimics the act of sex. And finally women may be given an oxytocin drip encourages hormones usually associated with making love.
Dad tip: This isn’t a sex blog and I’m not going to offer any tips here. If your partner’s pregnant I’m sure you know what to do. You can either do it yourself or let the hospital do it. It’s probably worth a try.
Other suggestions include acupuncture, acupressure, raspberry leaf tea, and hypnobirthing.
Ultimately it’s all about focusing on being calm.
All mammals instinctively want to give birth in a quiet and calm place. So the ultimate dad tip is to try and make the final few days as soothing and simple as possible as your partners prepares to do this amazing thing.