The next contributor to my Just One Thing series is the brilliant Mark Harris, of Birthing4Blokes

If you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing Mark speak, make sure you do! I first met him at the Positive Birth Movement conference and his enthusiasm is infectious. Mark is a Midwife and nurse of over 20 years experience, who now supports dads in how best to help their partners during labour (and beyond), offers coaching to birth professionals and teaches techniques to help women and their partners recover from difficult and traumatic births.

I asked Mark to tell me Just One Thing he would tell dads-to-be.

“The woman you love is pregnant, what do you do now?

Here are five benefits of men being prepared to be with their lovers as they give birth:

  1. Insight into how human beings have evolved to give birth well, this increases your confidence, gives direction to the support you can offer her, and enhances your ability to be resilient if the birth does not go as expected.
  2. Being prepared increases your ability to proactively create the deep connection need, that will massively facilitate her production of the birthing process dynamite – oxytocin.
  3. Having an experience of building this type of connection with your lover before she gives birth will produce a deepening in your relationship with her, leading to a strong foundation being built for the emerging family .
  4. Preparing via regular massaging, TEN s machine use, and understanding the (so called) ‘latent phase’ of the birthing process will increase the amount of time you spend out of the hospital and may reduce the length of her birth experience.
  5. Understanding the importance of having the ‘goal’ of connecting with her while she births, will actually produce testosterone in you, reducing your stress response. If you have your goal as connecting to her, this speaks to your ‘fixing’ habits. Being focused on that outcome will reduce any panicked response to environmental changes during birth.

So the one thing I would tell to dads-to-be?

Being truly present for her as she is giving birth, is the only thing really needed… the same as in the relationship generally!”

Mark Harris,

Midwife and Nurse

You can see Mark speaking at conferences and workshops around the country, listen to his brilliant Sprogcast podcast and read his award-winning book ‘Men, Love & Birth’