Role of Husband in labor room!


The journey of 10 cm through birth canal is the toughest journey that a human would undertake in its entire life.

It involves hard labor for all, may it be birthing mother, expectant father, waiting family or attending doctor/ midwife. The entire process of birthing is full of pain and uncertainty. The mother is in physical pain due to uterine contractions and cervical dilation, father in emotional pain after witnessing agony of his wife and birth attendant in mental pain due to fear of performance and outcome.And that is why, the entire process of birthing is popularly known as Labor Pains.

In fact, God has bestowed females the uterus to procure and give rise to progeny as they are physically, mentally and emotionally more stronger than males.


As, the incentive of self-fulfillment, fame and money can drive a mountaineer climb the Himalayas, likewise, the eternal happiness of giving birth to a life, tender touch of newborn, melodious cry and satisfaction of nurturing the baby can help the parturient undertake this toughest journey with patience, perseverance and calmness.

In the delivery room, it’s up to Mom to do all the pushing, but Dad plays a big role in the birthing process too. Time and over it has been proved beyond doubt that the presence of her husband may further help her to win over this unpleasant situation with a smile and confidence.

The presence of husband during birthing –

back massage

  • Gives confidence to the parturient,
  • Relieves her pain,
  • Reduces duration of labor.
  • Aid in decision making in case of any intervention required.
  • Help build bond between newborn and father.
  • Creates and increases husband’s respect for his wife, after seeing the amount of pain and agony that she bears to bring their progeny into this world.

Hence, now world over, the presence of husband is encouraged in the labor room. They may even be allowed to cut the umbilical cord and receive their baby.

Few tips to help husbands undertake their journey in labor room with success –

1- Preparation starts during pregnancy before labor pains!

A- Discuss birth plans with your wife and her Doctor.

  • Pros and cons of normal vaginal birth and caesarean delivery. Probability of either of two in your wife’s case.
  • Availability, expertise, standard operative protocols (SOPs), benefits and disadvantages related to ventouse or forceps delivery, in case the need arises.
  • Epidural labor analgesia versus medical management for pain.
  • Need and availability of Pediatrician, NICU, blood bank etc.
  • Discuss regarding your presence in the labor room.

B- Pack your Emergency bag in anticipation to avoid last moment rush.

hospital bag
• Emergency fund, insurance policy, contacts details etc.
• Keep Snacks, Oral rehydration solution, water bottle etc to avoid starving long when you are waiting in labor room. (Do not offer anything to eat/ drink to your wife without the permission of the birth attendant. In case of emergency caesarean delivery, at least 4 to 6 hours fast is recommended.)
• Books, magazines, laptops etc. – Childbirth may take a long time. So, these can help you spend your time and keep yourself calm.
• Additional bed sheet or blanket for yourself and wife.
• Discuss the availability of baby cloths, toiletries and diapers in hospital with your caretaker or keep them ready in your emergency bag.
• Camera- The smile of newborn is a blessing. Don’t forget to capture this beautiful moment in your camera. However, do not disrupt her privacy or interfere in the management of labor.

C- Stem cell banking:
In case you have opted to preserve the stem cells or cord of your baby, do not forget to carry the kit to labor room and inform the collection personnel about the admission of your wife in labor room.

2- During birth – She needs her life partner most in this crucial time!

Husband LR8

She is about to deliver your progeny. Be her partner not just on papers, but truly in her life at this crucial time. She needs you most.
Support your wife in all ways- physically, mentally, emotionally and psychologically, as she goes through a nerve-racking process of birthing. Don’t panic and neither allow her to?
However, if you are a type ‘A’ personality who panics at little stimuli, do not enter the labor room; else, you may worsen the situation more. There should not be any guilt if you cannot stay in labor room. Your moral support and your presence outside may also be a great help!

a- Be a Bridge-
When the labor pains begin; due to agony, your wife may become non-receptive to the advice and instructions from the birth attendants. You can play a crucial role by bridging this communication gap.
If required, discuss with the doctor about labor analgesia to relieve her pain. But, do not press the panic button that may unnecessarily lead to caesarean delivery. However, if the labor isn’t going smoothly, your wife might need an intervention that she hadn’t signed up for, such as pain medication or even a cesarean section. So, be prepared for changes in plan.

b- Be a Cheer leader –

husband LR9

  • Hold hands, pat on back, give light massage, share the memories and discuss future plans etc to divert her mind from the situation.
  • Light music, gossip, labor video or story telling may distract her and help a lot.
  • Encourage her to write a letter or record a message for the newborn. This would not only let her express her feelings and relieve her stress, but also after years when the child would go through these messages, he would develop more regards for his parents for being so sensitive for his birth.
  • Make eye contact with her. Reassure her that she’s doing a great job and each contraction is one contraction closer to the birth of your baby.
  • Let her know that you love her and you understand her agony completely.
  • Though some women don’t like to be touched during labor, others appreciate a neck or back rub.
  • Your role as a calm and confident husband can boost her morale.
    However, do not panic looking at the weird instruments and their use, repeated internal examination or breaking water bag. Do not interfere in the management of labor.

c- Be a Support –

husband LR

  • You can help your wife move around for toilet or help her do light exercises that are advised.
  • Help her find comfortable position – upright, walking about or kneeling forwards during contractions, resting between them etc.
  • Fan her if she is hot, Put a cool face washer on her forehead or neck if she is hot or nauseous, Get extra blankets and massage her legs if she has chills.
  • Hold her legs up and out; when she is asked to bear down to push the baby out of the vagina.
  • Ask her to bear down when there are strong contractions and take deep breath when the uterus relaxes.
  • You can look down and see your baby’s head coming out. Your words of assurance that there definitely is some progress with her pushing can further encourage her.

d- Be patient –

“Women in labor can be more sharp-tongued than usual, so try not to take it personally.”

e- Be a Father –

You would probably get the opportunity to cut the umbilical cord and thus officially bring your baby into this world as a separate human being. Enjoy this proud moment as a Father, for which you and your wife has desperately waited so long.

Husband LR5

3- After Birth!

Heartiest congratulation to you for becoming father! But remember –

  • Do not interfere.
    Immediately after birth, the receiving Pediatrician would stimulate the baby to cry as it helps in lung expansion and breathing. They may use a vigorous massage, suction catheter, Oxygen bag and mask or may be Tracheal tube some times, if required. First few minutes are very crucial for the establishment of baby’s oxygenation. Please do not interfere in the resuscitation of the baby.
  • Do not show apprehension as it may distract their attention. If you feel distressed, leave the labor room for some time. As now, the Obstetrician/ midwife would deliver the placenta out of womb and stitch the episiotomy, if given and the Pediatrician would resuscitate the baby. Both the actions can horrify you.
  • Do not alarm at your baby’s appearance. Initially they may be covered with a jelly like material, have some swelling on their head & face or wrinkles all over their body. It may all settle in next few days.
  • Appreciate your wife for all her efforts and show your love by writing a note or gifting her pack of chocolates. Avoid flowers or other sprinkled gifts as it may lead to allergy to baby.
  • Be a helper – Help her in breast feeding and burping the baby, changing diapers, make them sleep etc.
  • Provide comfortable and isolated atmosphere. Initial few days after birth are very important for the establishment of lactation and bond between mother and baby. So don’t have all your friends and family rush in right after the birth as it may interfere with same.
  • Help her take rest. The process of birthing is very tiring and energy consuming. Appreciate and motivate your wife for all her efforts throughout the pregnancy and in labor room.
  • Do not pass loose comments or make fun. Your wife might have behaved weirdly during the labor pains. She might also have developed inferiority complex for her performance. She is emotionally labile. So any loose comment or replay of her actions may shatter and hurt her.
  • Be a support even if she had chosen to undergo Elective caesarean delivery to avert the risk to her baby or avoid agony of pain, otherwise she may suffer from sense of inferiority or guilt that she did not have courage to undergo vaginal delivery.
  • Ensure that the information on birth certificate is correct.


The information is shared to create awareness towards Pregnancy and Childcare to reduce maternal and child deaths. Atmost care has been taken by the author to include the verified information from authentic sources. However, kindly discuss the same with your health care provider before implementation.