Does this sound familiar? You've read all the baby books, been to her prenatal health appointments and have been her partner at lamaze class. But, suddenly, you're woken up in the middle of the night by your wife and she tells you that she's going into labor.
Immediately, you break out into a cold sweat. You thought you were prepared, but weren't expecting to be this nervous. What do you do? The first thing to remember is not to panic. Next, follow the tips below from BabyCenter and your wife will think of you as the best labor coach around:
1) Help your wife identify whether she's experiencing true labor pains
If your sweetie has never given birth before, it can be a bit tricky distinguishing true from false labor pains. The former causes symptoms that include and are not limited to ongoing lower back pain and contractions that are shorter and get continually stronger.
2) Train yourself to time contractions
During early labor, your partner will probably have contractions that last anywhere from 30 to 45 seconds and are eight to 10 minutes apart. At this time, rushing to your birthing center isn't a good idea, because both of you will probably be told to go home until the labor progresses. However, if these pains are coming less than every five minutes and persisting for more than one minute, pack your bags and head to the hospital.
3) Know what will happen during labor
Sure, "What to Expect When You're Expecting" was a hilarious movie, but let's be honest, labor doesn't happen that way (nor does anyone ever deliver an infant in less than two hours). Keep your wife positive and understand that there's a high probability that both of you won't be in and out of the hospital by the time you count to 10. Having a baby takes a while and it's important to know and be prepared for that.