Go to childbirth classes. Labor coaches should go to childbirth classes with the mom-to-be before her due date. They will help you learn how to comfort and support her when the big day arrives.
Get to know the hospital. Go on tour of the hospital prior to the birth. A tour may be part of the childbirth classes. Talk with the staff on the labor and delivery unit to get an idea of what will happen on the big day.
Know what the mom expects. You and the mom should talk ahead of time about what should happen the day of delivery. Some points you can discuss include:
- Does she want to use breathing techniques?
- Does she want you to be hands-on?
- How can you help soothe her pain?
- How involved does she want the midwife to be?
- When does she want to get pain medicine?
Natural childbirth is very hard work. A mom may decide on natural childbirth at first, but find that the pain is too much to bear when she is in labor. Talk with her ahead of time about how she wants you to respond at this point.
Write down a plan. A written plan for the labor and delivery will help make things clear ahead of time. Of course, when the contractions are in high gear, many of those decisions may change. That's ok. Give her your full support around how she wants to get through her labor and delivery.