The very best advice about childbirth: One man asked, and parents delivered

Elva Etienne

An expecting dad asked the internet a "big question" about childbirth — and parents shared their most honest answers.

"A big question for anyone who has given birth: What is one thing that your partner did, said or brought to the hospital that really helped you through your birth experience?" Dave Whiteside, a research consultant in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, wrote in a Jan. 17 tweet. "Expecting dad hoping to support his wife in the best ways possible here ready to take notes."

Whiteside clarified that after asking his wife that same question, they turned to Twitter for more support.

"We have never been in this situation before and she has never given birth, so we’re taking shots in the dark at what would work best for her," he tweeted. "We don’t know what we don’t know. So why not stand on the shoulders of giants?”

Whiteside, whose baby is due March 27, tells TODAY.com that while he and his wife have read parenting books and blogs, they wanted real-life perspectives.

"I thought, rather than hearing from the dads who confidently assumed they nailed it, I wanted to hear from the moms who knew their partner nailed it," he says.

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Experienced moms — and dads — spoke up, suggesting that Whiteside keep necessities like food, water and a phone charger on hand. They shared other practical suggestions as well:

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Several emphasized that Whiteside should stick by his wife's side for support and advocate for her.

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Whiteside was advised to handle bathing, diapering and, if needed, feedings, to allow his wife to rest or bond with their baby. Someone also reminded him to get educated on car seat safety before the birth.

"That ride home is going to be the most anxious one of her life," someone tweeted. "Do what you can to feel confident in this one area."

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Whiteside got credit for thinking ahead — "The fact that you’re asking is a good sign," someone tweeted — and urged him to keep the focus on his wife, especially during recovery.

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Whiteside tells TODAY.com that his wife supported his Twitter query.

"We had two miscarriages in 2022 and I spoke very openly about our experiences on social media," he says. "Now I want to make sure I speak openly about our experiences with pregnancy too."

He adds, "My wife is more of an introvert, but together, we agree that it’s important people talk about these experiences to help others feel a little less alone."

The expecting dad learned a lot from his online survey.

"One big takeaway is how important it is for partners to advocate for moms," he says. "And there have been funny reminders of how different people are — some suggested that I write my wife a poem and while I love that this works for some couples, I’m pretty sure she would divorce me on the spot."

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This article was originally published on TODAY.com