Until very recently, men were expected to stay out of the delivery room and let the professionals handle the deliveries of their babies. Today, however, fathers can—and are even encouraged to—participate in the birthing process.
There are several kinds of birthing techniques that allow mothers to deliver their babies without medical interventions. Here are 5 of the most popular birthing methods, and where fathers fit in.
The Lamaze Technique
Developed by French doctor Ferdinand Lamaze in the 1940s, the Lamaze method remains one of the most commonly taught types of childbirth classes. According to Lamaze International, Lamaze aims to “increase women’s confidence in their ability to give birth” and to help women “learn to respond to pain in ways that both facilitate labor and increase comfort.”
For the birth partner: Lamaze is all about having a birth team led by a doula. The second spot on the team would be the birth partner—that’s you. As the person closest to the mother, you would be the best person to understand her needs and to see signs of trouble.
The Bradley Method
Created by Dr. Robert A. Bradley in 1947, the Bradley Method of natural childbirth emphasizes the natural process of birth. Mothers are encouraged to trust their body, focusing on diet and exercise throughout pregnancy.
For the birth partner: With this method, dads are a crucial part of the birth process. Couples manage labor through deep breathing and help from a loving, supportive partner.
To read more about birthing methods and where dads fit, click to the next page.
Giving birth in a tub of warm water is considered to be less stressful for both the baby and the mother. Led by a doula, the method is supposed to reduce pain and anxiety.
For the birth partner: Because mothers are supposed to be less stressed with a water birth, it’s easier for fathers to take on a more active role. Dads can even choose to enter the birth pool.
Hypnosis has been used to diminish fear and pain during labor since the 1920s, and though research has conflicting findings on the validity of HypnoBirthing, it does seem to work for some mothers. The Mongon Method is a popular technique that uses sound, aromatherapy, visualization, and environmental cues.
For the birth partner: While mothers are focused on keeping calm, fathers can be the ones controlling the music and visualizations, though their presence isn’t necessarily vital with this method.
The Alexander Technique
Named after actor Frederick Matthias Alexander, the Alexander Technique uses proper posture to avoid muscular and mental tension. Used by performers and people who deal with chronic pain, the technique is also popularly used during childbirth by teaching women to use natural body movements to ease her pain.
For the birth partner: The Alexander Technique doesn’t address birth partners, but it does say that the mother can use you as physical support if she needs to get into a specific position.
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