It’s Go Time! 16 Childbirth Tips for Un-Pregnant People

On the surface it might seem as if being present for the birth of your own child, or for the child of someone close to you, really only requires a pretty obvious course of action, huh?

I mean, what’s to know, right?

You show up at the hospital, you settle in, you tear open a bag of pork rinds and turn on the TV and wait for the kid to pop out, no?

Well, no. Not exactly. You see, even though the actual physical act of bringing a baby into the world is still largely the result of a ton of grueling hard work by the baby’s mama, there are still a whole heck of a lot of things that us dads and partners and parents and in-laws and whoever else might be invited to the ‘big dance’ should and shouldn’t be doing in order to help things go smoothly.

Having been through two childbirths myself, I sort of feel like a bit of a semi-pro about delivery room etiquette and bedside manners. Of course, many of the tips I’m about to generously offer up to you are the hard-earned result of mistakes I’ve made along the way, but so what? Live and learn, right?!

Anyway, I think you might want to hand this list off to any un-pregnant people heading toward a childbirth sometime in the near future.

Because, frankly speaking, you don’t want a pregnant lady to yell at you, now do you?

  • Go Time! 1 of 17
  • The Room 2 of 17

    Congrats, you're here for moral support and to witness one of the greatest sites you'll ever see: the birth of a child. Nice. Don't be a dork then and start in on how the delivery room isn't as fancy or sophisticated as the ones you've seen over at another hospital. Maybe you were born in the Four Seasons one cares, especially the sweet gal about to bring a baby into the world IN THIS ROOM! Truth is, people give birth in taxis and malls and on the desert sand, so this room is going to do just fine.


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • Sit Tight 3 of 17

    If you're the mother-in-law or a sister or something then it's probably okay if you decide to take a wander around the hospital halls while labor is in the early stages. But if you are the daddy or the significant other, don't go out on any long hikes. Things might seem slow and boring for a stretch, but all that can change fast. Plus, you're her partner in all of this and you don't see her bopping down to 7-11, now do ya?


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • Duh! No Smoking 4 of 17

    If you happen to be one of the 39 people left on Earth who still smokes cigarettes or whatever, that's your thing and I'm not here to judge you. Still, as a former smoker myself, I can attest to the fact that after I quit I started to notice just how much smokers really smell like ashtrays! So, no matter how nervous you are about the impending arrival on the way, forget about going outside for smoke breaks. You will reek, and the mother-to-be, as well as just about every doctor and nurse on the floor, will want to shun you like a ripe skunk. Tobacco and babies: an idea whose time has come and gone. Trust me.


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • Take Photos! 5 of 17

    Listen dads, no matter what,you should try and take as many photos as you can during your time in the delivery room. Or, I should say, as many as you can without being an utter nuisance. Yeah, I know, the baby mama may be a little less than excited to have her photo taken at times because she doesn't think she looks her best or whatever, but trust me when I tell you that someday down the road she will be overjoyed that someone (YOU!) took the time to document such a seriously special day. Other visitors should keep their cameras away until the baby is born though, unless mom says it's okay.


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • Introductions 6 of 17

    As soon as you can, introduce yourself to the doctors and nurses tending to the pregnant princess. It helps to break the ice and can go a long way toward making sure that everybody feels comfortable with each other from the get-go on such an important day.


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • Stay Focused 7 of 17

    Obviously, being in the hospital or in your bedroom or wherever you are, getting ready for the birth of a child, is an incredibly exciting time. But don't get too intoxicated by your own racing mind or wandering eye. The lady you're there to support needs you to stay steady and focused on the task at hand, which means paying close attention to what the docs and nurses are up to and to just how she is feeling for the duration. Sure, there may be some downtime to flip through a magazine or watch a little TV, but mostly, you can and should be the eyes and ears for a woman who may just need them.


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • Be Calm 8 of 17

    It sort of goes without saying, I guess, but I'm going to throw it out there anyway. You need to be as calm as you can be during the whole delivery process. Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't be excited, because you should be! But at the same time don't become frantic or weird or freaked out by the fact that you will probably be witnessing some things that you might not have ever seen before. Birth is birth and women going through it grunt and groan and growl and hurt and push and screech and squeal, not necessarily in that order, but that's all pretty par for the course. So hold her hand if she wants you to and just be the rock that you always knew that you were.


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • Get Tough 9 of 17

    Do not, under any circumstances, show any kind of fear in the delivery room. I'm totally serious here. The woman giving birth needs to feed off of the other people in the room. Her senses and intuitions are often tweeking out during the whole process, so if you are pacing around all freaked out and jittery about anything, she is going to pick up on that. Be brave because you want to be.  And because you have to be.


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • Watch the Eating 10 of 17

    It's probably not going to be a huge deal, but be mindful of the fact that lots of women in labor don't want to be breathing in big wafts of hoagie onions or steaming Moo Goo Guy Pan when they're in the middle of trying to give birth to a child. A little snack here and there to sustain you is fine, your energy needs to be up to get your part of the job done. Yet remember that she probably isn't allowed to eat much more than ice chips, therefore the sights and smells of you sneak-attacking a pepperoni calzone might just send her into a justified conniption.


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • Horror Stories 11 of 17

    Listen up all you mothers and mother-in-laws who are lucky enough to be invited to stick around for the birth of your grandchild!  Please please please refrain from sharing stories of terrible things that have happened to you (or some other unfortunate case) 1200 years ago when you were delivering children on a Viking ship tumbling around the wild North Sea. You mean well, of course, but just keep biting your lip until it bleeds, and then just bite it some more, okay? This is her day, not yours....and no tragic tale of massive hemorrhaging is going to brighten or enlighten the room, no matter how much you love to tell it.


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • Encourage & Compliment 12 of 17

    Anyone who is witnessing someone they love deliver one of the most important babies of all time will most certainly be in awe of the woman making it all happen. With that in mind, let her know that you're there for her and that you think she is doing a tremendous job so far. You don't have to be an annoying cheerleader or whatever, just offer enough genuine praise and encouragement to help her see that it's all good.


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • Don’t Play Doctor 13 of 17

    Try and refrain from offering up random nuggets from your storehouse of medical knowledge, which, in all honesty, is probably limited to what you know about Band-Aids and petroleum jelly. By all means, feel free to ask the doctors and nurses as many questions as you can muster up, but don't be the person who starts staring at the unborn baby's heart monitor every ten minutes and says, "Something's odd here!" You won't be helping anyone, believe me.


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • Put the Phone Down 14 of 17

    Don't be the 'phone person'. You're in a room where a most magnificent baby is hurling itself toward you and your life and you keep checking to see if anyone 'Liked' your latest Facebook status? C'mom! You're better than this! Some social networking is a given even during the most intense and wonderful times, I'll give you that. Still, do not stick your head inside your stupid smartphone when you could and should be talking to the lady with the baby in her belly. Show some restraint. Preserve your last shreds of dignity.



  • It’s Her Call 15 of 17

    TV or no TV. Music or no music. Bright lights, dim lights, shades up, shades down. No matter what it is, the baby mama should be the one making the choices about her environment during the whole delivery process. You just need to be there and act as a stagehand when she wants something moved or adjusted. Don't try and turn on the ball game if she just doesn't want it on. And don't insist that you need to listen to a little Black Sabbath as your child is being born if that's not what mom wants. This is hard work she is doing, so the calls are all hers to make.


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • You Saw NOTHING! 16 of 17

    Look, there are times during all that pushing and delivering that a woman in labor might ask you, with horror in her poor pretty eyes, if she has had 'an accident' of the bathroom variety down below. Now concentrate here on what I am about to tell you, okay?  Whenever this happens your answer should always be a resounding "NO!" Got that?  There is absolutely nothing there and therefore you have seen NOTHING! That is the story you will tell her and that is the story that you will stick to for the rest of your life, no matter what, because you love her and love trumps all that other stuff every single time. Amen.


    Image: S. Bielanko

  • Watch It All 17 of 17

    If you are right there where you belong, in the exact right place at the exact right time, then make absolutely certain that you watch your baby being born, my friend. Even if your wife or baby mama yells at you to get away from there....just do your best to act like you can't see anything, even as you take it all in. This is not something that you can afford to miss, no matter how concerned she may feel about you seeing something unpleasant or whatever. Furthermore, do not even dare skip out on bearing direct witness to your very own child's arrival because you feel squeamish or whatever either. Man up! This moment for this little baby will never ever come around again!  So watch as closely as you can. You will never ever regret for the rest of your days. I promise.


    Image: S. Bielanko

You can also find Serge on his personal blog, Thunder Pie . And on Twitter.

More Pregnancy on Babble:

A Dad’s 12 Greatest Delivery Room Moments

It’s About Time: Birth Control Pill For Men On The Horizon

Do Pregnant Women Deserve Special Treatment?

Recent Survey Declaring an ‘Ideal Age’ for Having a First Child Is Nonsense


Article Posted 3 years Ago

Videos You May Like