Parents’ experiences around pregnancy and childbirth can be very different. Pregnancy is a powerful and life-changing experience. Encourage your partner to rest, particularly if they are having a difficult pregnancy.
CONVERSATION STARTER: Childbirth
- How are you feeling about labour and childbirth?
- What is our birth plan?
- What are our intentions for labour?
Do not assume that because childbirth is a natural process, the child-bearing parent will be able to cope without support. Childbirth can be anxiety-provoking. Partners can provide support during labour through massage or acupressure, and by providing reassurance and verbal encouragement. Discuss what level of support you would like in advance but be prepared to be flexible on the day.
Following childbirth, hormonal changes will affect mood and energy levels. Some degree of stress and fatigue is normal.
Keep in mind that unlike the child-bearing parent, partners do not go through all the physical changes of pregnancy and giving birth, so they may not begin to adjust to parenthood until the baby is born.
Find time to talk about your respective experiences of childbirth. You may have strong feelings about the birth and need to debrief. Be mindful that if the birth was traumatic, it may impact on your sexual relationship. It may also increase your risk of developing depression and anxiety.
If you experience a traumatic birth and do not feel you are coping afterward, consider seeking professional help.
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