General Advice Warning. The information on Dad Mode is intended to be general in nature and is not personal financial or product advice.

So, I’m in the birthing suite, at the business end of my wife, ready to catch my son as he leaps forth into the world. I look either side of me and notice something interesting.

The two midwives that were assisting with the birth both had safety glasses on.

I thought to myself, “wait a minute” where are my safety glasses”

Do my eyes need to be protected from something?! I nervously thought to myself.

I didn’t have time to ask in the moment, of course, but I did keep it in mind as my boy's head was making the grand passage into the world like a watermelon through a doughnut hole.

Too much?…

Turns out that often during birth, amniotic fluid can escape at high pressure as the baby is in the final stages. This high-pressure fluid is, rather conveniently, projected out at eye level. Hence, the safety glasses.

If only I had known to stop in to the hardware store on the way to the hospital.
That would have gone down well.

The point of this, maybe a little too graphic, story is that there are so many things I didn’t know bout pregnancy and birth.
Things that would have made it a heck of a lot easier (read, less terrifying) on the big day and the months leading up to it.

There is so much you can do as a father to help your partner through this beautiful but challenging process. But where do you start?

Being the practical fellow that I am, I chose to focus on the hardest part of birth. The Pain.

You might not think there is anything for you to do to help with pain during childbirth, but you would be wrong. You can be more helpful than you realise.

Go you!

So, in the interest of helping all dads that come after me, I wanted to share a book that gave me the tools to be as helpful as possible during the big event.

If you find yourself lying awake at night thinking about what you are going to do while your wife Is moaning in pain on the way to the hospital, this book is for you.

Hint, the answer is not to turn up the music and driving like Lewis Hamilton.

On your marks, get set, go!

Book Review: Birth Skills by Juju Sundin.

Birth skills outlines a simple to understand process for you to guide your partner through the process of childbirth. It gives you a clear role during every stage of labour, at home, in the car, even in the hospital waiting room.

There’s nothing worse than not knowing what to do, and you will be grateful to not be twiddling your thumbs, I promise.

Who is Juju Sundin?

Juju Sundin is an obstetric Physiotherapist and health educator that specialises in pregnancy and birth. Over her 35-year career, she has developed a keen interest in human pain management and active birth principles. I bet you didn’t know those two fields existed!

Juju is great because she doesn’t judge your partner's choice of birthing style and fits her teachings around your plan. You never know what can happen, so being flexible is important.

Just as a side note, the choice between natural, caesarian, medically induced, home or any other kind of birth is one that should be made based on your personal situation and with the advice of a medical professional. Don’t let anyone make you or your partner feel bad about the decisions you have made. It’s essential for you as a birthing father to have your partner's back, so stick up for what you want and don’t let anyone make you feel bad.

What is Birth Skills about?

Birth Skills not only gives your partner the tools for a successful birth, but it also brings you in as a father and gives you a practical purpose.

Here are some points that the book covers

Being your partner's advocate

During labour, your partner may find it hard to communicate, so it’s up to you to be their advocate. My wife and I made a clear plan for what we wanted to do, with variations in the case of anything unexpected happening. Some of the things we discussed were:

1. The use of pain relief and at what point I needed to step in if the doctors were suggesting it.
2.  Communicating any variations in our pre-determined birth plan with the midwife/nurse.
3.  Reminding her to change position during labour.
4. Coming up with some non-verbal communication for you to use during the birth.

Managing anxiety and encouraging mother-baby bonding.

Lowering the lights in the birthing room is something that I would never have thought about if it weren’t for this book. Oxytocin, the hormone responsible for early-stage bonding with your baby, is ‘shy’ and responds better in darker rooms.

Position changes

Position changes that bring about a comfortable and safe birth are so important! Far too often in movies you see a woman giving birth, lying on her back with her feet up in the stirrups. This is, undoubtedly, one of the worst positions to be in.
When we had our kids, my wife was free to move around at any stage of the birth. This made sure she was comfortable and allowed the baby to get into position that it needed to be in to come out. Having a conversation with your partner about positions before birth is a game changer.

Pain Management

Another interesting point that the Birth Skills covers is about productive pain. This is the idea that the pain you experience is there for a reason. It’s your body working hard to achieve something. When you change your mindset from ‘pain is a problem’ to ‘my body is doing something amazing’, you are more able to focus and work through the discomfort.

Should I buy Birth Skills by Juju Sundin?

This book was a godsend for us, and I was so glad we discovered it. Once your partner reads it, make sure you do too, it’s a great way to show that you’re supportive and interested in the process.

One of the most beautiful things about becoming a father is watching your partner bring your little one into the world. The sheer power, courage and will displayed by a woman giving birth is incredible to witness. But it can be scary if you don’t know what to expect. When we fell pregnant I saw my partner dive headfirst into the experience of pregnancy, thanks to Juju Sundin, I jumped in with her.

You won’t regret it!

Pick it up HERE

You can find more info on Juju at her website