I think one of the most nerve wracking tasks for partners is the drive to hospital during labour! Women worry about their own comfort and managing their surges/contractions while driving - ‘do I sit in the front or kneel in the back’, ‘do I wear a seat belt?’ And they also worry about their partner, how will they be feeling etc etc.
I think sometimes partners main goals or ‘get to hospital as quick as I can’ and ‘don’t have the baby in the car!’
Talking about your concerns together is a great place to start. Get on the same page, you might find you both share the same concerns and can find solutions together.
Ok guys, my top tips for driving your partner to hospital
Have the car ready well before it’s time to go - the last thing your labouring partner needs is to be answering your questions and trying to find things. There is plenty of time in early labour to gather bags or pack a pack snacks.
Protect the interior - towels, puppy pads, vomit bucket - labour can be messy and stressing about your leather interior is not helpful. Nor is complaining when your partner says her waters have broken - be prepared!
Make her comfortable: Pack a pillow &/or a blanket - having a pillow to hug or bury her face in can help her feel ‘held and safe’ AND something familiar from home will her her settle in when you arrive in hospital.
Know the route - will the time of day will alter the time it takes to get there? Peak hour, school traffic or the middle of the night? Also, are there road works, detours, rough roads?
Stop if she says “Stop!” If you partner asks you to pull over, do it as soon as you can, when it’s safe. Some women find being confined to the car during established labour quite torturous and distressing. When she knows you’ll respect her wishes it can make the trip a lot easier for her.
Stay calm yourself. If you start freaking out she’ll start freaking out…. This is true for labour and birth too. Learn some breathing techniques and affirmations to stay focused and grounded. Trust me, these simple things make a big difference.
Stick to the speed limit - even when you just really want to get there, drive to the limit. Don’t put yourself, your partner, your baby and every other road user at risk. I remember hearing a story of a speeding car on the way to hospital having an accident and all were killed…..
Following on from the previous point - If you feel the baby is coming sooner than expected, stay at home and call an ambulance. It’s a great idea to have a ‘fast birth plan’ so you will have more of an idea what to do if faced with this.
Know where to park the car and what entrance to go through to get to birth suite.
Above all else, STAY CALM! She’ll look to you to gauge the situation. Even if you are freaking out on the inside - take a deep breath and stay cool as a cucumber on the outside.
So there you have it - 10 tips to help you get your partner to hospital in labour. This is just one of the many ways a doula can help support families feel more confident about labour, birth and the early postpartum weeks.
I love working with couples helping them prepare for their own unique birth experience. Be a part of our newly launched Kindred: Doula Collective. Please get in touch to see how I can help you too.
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