A father plays a crucial role in his partner’s pregnancy. You may have to change your daily routine to follow a healthy diet, exercise, and get sufficient rest.
Pregnancy can be physically and emotionally draining for mothers to manage alone. Supporting your partner through it can help her and your baby. An expectant dad’s guide to pregnancy can help you understand how you can be there for your partner.
As a father-to-be, you may feel scared, nervous, or overwhelmed thinking about pregnancy and childbirth. But a father plays a crucial role in his partner’s pregnancy.
Research studies have shown that pregnant women with supportive partners have better physical and emotional health and well-being. Their newborn baby is also more likely to be healthy and free from distress.
Monitoring your partner’s health
Most pregnancies are free from complications. Sometimes, the mother may develop health problems such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. This can increase the risk of complications for the mother and baby.
To detect and prevent such complications, ensure that your partner visits her doctor to monitor health regularly. Support her when she follows all the doctor’s instructions to stay healthy.
The first trimester lasts for the initial three months of your partner’s pregnancy. Here’s what to expect:
- At this stage, your partner needs complete rest.
- During early pregnancy, your partner is undergoing hormonal and bodily changes.
- She may have nausea and vomiting, commonly called morning sickness.
- She may have mood swings as this can be an emotional time for her.
You can have sex during this time if your partner feels like it. You may want to avoid having sex and contact the doctor if she experiences pain or bleeding. Be patient and support your partner by being intimate in other ways like kissing, cuddling, or giving her a massage.
Your partner may focus more on her physical and emotional changes. But you can use this time to learn more about pregnancy and take your partner to her prenatal visits. Listen to your partner, tend to her needs, and support her.
The second trimester — the next three months of pregnancy — is more relaxed. Your partner’s body will get used to the pregnancy. She will feel better and more energetic, and her morning sickness will go away.
During this stage, your partner’s baby bump will become visible. You will also be able to feel the baby’s movements and listen to the heartbeat during prenatal visits.
Regular prenatal visits during pregnancy help monitor your partner’s and baby’s health. Accompany your partner to these health checkups. The doctor may ask you and your partner about your health and your family history. Prenatal genetic tests can be done to check if your baby has any diseases passed down from your families.
Prenatal care visits include:
- Checking the baby’s heart rate
- Checking your partner’s blood pressure
- Blood and urine tests to check for infections or health issues like diabetes
- Measuring your partner’s weight
- Measuring the dimensions of your partner’s uterus to check your baby’s growth
- Ultrasound tests to check your baby’s development and position
- Screening tests for birth defects
As the pregnancy progresses, the frequency of prenatal visits will increase.
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The last three months of pregnancy are called the third trimester. Your partner may experience pain and discomfort as the baby grows bigger and her body prepares for childbirth. She will also need to urinate more frequently and may get less sleep during this stage.
You can help by giving her a massage, making sure she is comfortable, and being patient. You can enroll in childbirth classes to learn how you can support your partner during labor and childbirth. You can even prepare for the baby’s arrival by baby-proofing your home.
As your baby develops completely, they can hear you. Talking or singing to them will help you bond with your unborn baby.
Labor and childbirth
It is normal for you and your partner to feel anxious and excited before labor begins. As the third trimester ends, your partner’s labor can start at any time. To ensure that the labor and delivery go smoothly, you can do the following:
- Get familiar with the hospital and find out whether you can stay in the delivery room.
- Discuss the options for pain relief during labor with the doctor.
- Let the doctor know if you wish to cut the umbilical cord after your baby is delivered.
- Provide emotional and physical support to your partner.
- Pack a bag with all the things you and your partner may need at the hospital. Ensure that transportation to the hospital is arranged.
- Labor can last from 10 to 20 hours. During labor, remind your partner to breathe slowly and make her feel comfortable.
- Massage her back and shoulders between contractions.
- Help her with relaxation techniques taught during childbirth classes.
- You may need to make decisions on your partner's behalf. So, keep calm and take a deep breath if it gets overwhelming.
- Encourage her to push during delivery.
The first sign of pregnancy is most often:
Although pregnancy is a special time, it can be stressful. Remember that you play an equally important role in pregnancy and birth. If you and your partner work as a team, it can be a beautiful experience for you, your partner, and your baby.