Whether your first baby is planned or not, you are pregnant as soon as your partner gets pregnant. That’s just a reality. Women get pregnant and men become totally surrounded by her pregnancy. This means the future (‘The Birth’) is not too far away. You’ll have a baby within the year. You are becoming a father right now.

Pregnancy, birth and being a father are all going to happen to you within a year’s time. Life becomes incredibly dynamic.  As a first time expectant father, your life suddenly becomes full of the unknown and everyone’s opinion. Not only that, there is usually very little support for fathers in general because pregnancy and birth fall into quite a feminine arena.

Where can you as first-time expectant dad start to get your head above the water? We’re going to raise our hand. Join Birthing Better families. The families who developed all these wonderful skills were just ordinary fathers and mothers. This means you can learn very precise skills that will grow your capability and confidence.

Conception to 24 weeks

For many months ‘the birth’ seems like a far off future event, but sometime around 24 weeks that all changes. As your pregnant partner’s belly gets bigger and bigger the Big Day comes closer and closer. In the past 6 months you’ve been faced with all the changes in the pregnant woman’s body, mind, emotions as well as her health and well being. So much has been changing. Like most women and men the first 6 months of pregnancy are both exciting and crazy with changes.

You’ll be faced with so many things to think about during these first 24 weeks, and you might not feel particularly consulted. Encompassing all of these complex issues is your relationship to the mother of your child and your living situation. You might feel that you have very little control over any of this. However, ‘the birth’ is one area where you can not only have control but also excel.

Do it

After 24 weeks of pregnancy is the time to help your pregnant partner begin to prepare her body to give birth. All of the video segments in Birthing Better Childbirth Preparation Online Birth Class cover the exercises that create space inside the woman’s 3-dimensional container (her body) so that this 3-dimensional object (your baby) can navigate through her body during The Birth.

All the skills are simple to learn because you share the exact same body. When your partner does the Hip Lift on you, you will feel how much your pelvis can open. When she feels this in you then she has more confidence in what she can feel in her own body. When you feel her ability to create space in your pelvis then you know being able to do so is real. All the video segments can be experienced by both the pregnant woman and her partner, friend or relative. They are fun to do together.

All Birthing Better skills are practical, pragmatic, simple to learn, make common sense, will work in ALL births, will give you something to do throughout The Birth, will leave you feeling empowered and much more capable as a human being/man/partner/father and were developed by ordinary fathers-to-be like yourself.

Birth and birth-coaching skills

Birthing Better skills focus on preparing the pregnant body to give birth AND there are birth and birth-coaching skills for both of you to use while your baby’s birth is unfolding. Birth unfolds moment-to-moment and is probably the most dynamic experience in either a woman or man’s life.

Birth can happen to the woman or she can work through it. Fathers can ‘be there’ yet feel overwhelmed and useless or truly and effectively help the woman stay in control and on top of all the sensations she’ll feel inside her body and those things that happen to and around her.

Preparing for childbirth as well as learning birth and birth-coaching skills is actually the ultimate ‘choice’ you and/or your pregnant partner will make when facing your baby’s birth. If you choose NOT to learn skills then you may live with birth memories that leave you feeling shame, blame, guilt, disappointment, trauma and feeling alienated from your baby, your partner and even within yourself.

Don’t let that happen.

Father-coached childbirth

Each pregnant woman goes through the birth experience with her baby. Each obstetrician and midwife also brings skills to each birth. However, fathers are now expected to be there and do what? You aren’t expected to do your obstetrician or midwife’s job. You are expected to do your job …help your birthing partner cope and manage!

Knowing how to be a birth-coach is essential for every first-time dad-to-be. Being a skilled birth-coach is the one stabilizing action and task that every first-time expectant father can focus on no matter the circumstances. Just keep using your skills together with the birthing woman. Focus on what you ‘do’ and not so much on what ‘happens’.

We are the same

Childbirth is a very physical experience that occurs in a pregnant woman’s body. As a man, you have the same number of bones and muscles as women. You blink, cough and can tense up your muscles the same way women can. This means that you can learn this set of coaching skills that are based on what we all share in common – our body and how we use it. Birth is just a heightened experience of what our physical body does.

You do need to practice these skills regularly for short periods of time every day or so.

Once you learn breathing, relaxation and communication skills than you, as a first-time dad-to-be, will excel as a birth coach. Now some people will say that your job is to ‘support’ your partner. But let’s think about this word compared to ‘coach’. When you support someone you are there for them often holding their hand, giving a back rub and just hang around. However, a support person never really gives guidance as a coach would.

In your role as an expectant father, you must have an equal role as a parent. You are not just a support to her parenting. This means you need coaching skills during the birth to really help her cope with the natural occurring pain of contractions or during the surgery of cesarean delivery.

All Birthing Better skills were developed by hundreds of dads and moms, housed in Common Knowledge Trust and available as online birth classes.