Be reachable 

As the birth approaches, a woman can be very stressed at not being able to get hold of her partner at every moment of the day. Always have your phone charged, and if you're in a meeting or out of town, give your wife a contact number so  colleagues and friends know how to get hold of you right away.

Be prepared

From having gas in the car to having snacks ready to go, a husband can take the weight off an anxious mom's shoulders by helping her get items ticked off her to-list. Have a "dad-bag" at hand with everything you may need -- from energy bars and drinks to cameras and spiritual reading.

Be understanding

Ordinarily your wife may never shout out or yell, but be ready to see behaviors you've never seen as her pain threshold betrays her. Whatever she says, don't take it personally: she may say it's all your fault, she may even say you can never touch her again. Rest assured, it's a very temporary state.

Be ready to lend a hand ... literally

A very supportive gesture is being there to hold your wife's hand. The only issue is that she may pretty much pull it off you as those contractions get more and more painful. She may even accidentally dig her nails in. Other than wearing gloves, there's not much to be done. Know that any pain you might feel is not deliberate and it is only your spouse's way of coping with labor. Offer up your pain for her and the baby's well-being.

Be aware of your wife's wishes

While in the throes of labor, your wife may not be in the best position to relay her wishes about how she may want to be treated. Although she may have had a perfect birth plan in mind, sometimes this needs to be tossed out in case of emergency or if any issues crop up. Speak with your wife before the birth and know her ideal labor, and what to do if things don't go according to plan.

Be strong

After having your hand yanked off and possibly being tired yourself after a day at work and a night in hospital, you still need to be your wife's pillar of strength. (Hence those energy bars!) You may also not appreciate all those medical procedures going on -- yes, that epidural needle is pretty big -- but hold strong if you can and just think of your little bundle. Your strength will give your wife strength.

Be her inspiration

Words of encouragement never go amiss. Remind your wife what a great job she's doing, help her with her breathing, and reassure her that everything will be okay. You can help her in prayer, you can offer her a massage -- although be warned, some women hate being touched in labor.

Be attentive

There's nothing worse than being in pain and watching your loved ones play games on their smartphones. This is truly a moment to connect with your wife, so ditch the phone and be at her side. If you do need a break, leave the room to stretch your legs, but make sure it's well-timed.

Be her gate-keeper

If excited relatives turn up, it's your job to make sure your wife doesn't get overwhelmed. Be diplomatic and ready to turn visitors away. If things get awkward you can always get a medical practitioner to step in and help.

Be ready for your heart to burst with love

When your wife finally delivers your little bundle, your heart will be filled with an undying love for your baby, and an even deeper admiration for your wife as the mother of your child. It's a great idea to have a thoughtful gift at hand, ready to offer your spouse as you start off down the wonderful road of parenthood.