Pregnancy is one of the most crucial, stressful, and yet wonderful periods of a woman’s life. New moms-to-be probably get a lot of attention as they are the ones carrying the baby, but what about new dads-to-be?
Pregnancy offers a unique opportunity for men to shift from manhood to parenthood. This change, however, can be accompanied by a range of emotions, including wonder, disbelief, anxiety, fear, and insecurity, in addition to feelings of happiness, excitement, joy, and pride.
Along with the positive feelings of becoming a father, negative feelings may emerge when pregnancy-related problems occur and the father-to-be fears negative consequences for the mother and child. By being involved in all stages of pregnancy and the birth of their baby, fathers can help themselves in adjusting to pregnancy as a new stage in their lives.
Fathers have an important role to play, not only after the baby is born, but also during pregnancy. A father’s involvement during pregnancy supports the mother and prepares them to be active parents in their child’s life.
Why is it important to be supportive during your partner’s pregnancy?
When both partners support each other, their bond and sense of teamwork are strengthened.
The active role of fathers during pregnancy influences the partner’s well-being including health care, eating habits, and mental health. Babies may also be born healthier, with lower rates of preterm births and developmental issues. Your positive support helps lower maternal stress that may be harmful to the baby.
Four important roles that fathers can play during pregnancy:
You as a father are moving into a new role and relationship with your partner. Developing a supportive relationship is important for your baby’s well-being.
The nine months of pregnancy is the most vulnerable period in your child’s development. You should take responsibility to protect the health and well-being of your child and partner.
Reflect on the values you and your partner want to instill in your child and what kind of father you want to be.
Safe home builder
Make your home a safe place for your new baby, both physically and emotionally. This involves rearranging your current living space to create a place for your new baby and creating a secure and loving home.
In addition to being supportive and encouraging, fathers’ involvement also encounters, being accessible, present, and available.
Achieving maternal and baby health requires the father’s participation.
Things that you can do to support your partner during pregnancy:
Physical care of your partner during pregnancy
During pregnancy, you should physically support your partner. You can support her by providing an appropriate environment and time for her to rest and relax, taking care of her at home, and offering massages to reduce the tension of pregnancy. However, you should not go to extremes in the care because this could have negative outcomes. You can help her with cleaning and cooking. This is particularly essential when she is most tired or if certain cooking smells make her feel sick.
Maintaining the health of the mother and baby
You should cooperate with your partner to maintain a healthy lifestyle for a healthy pregnancy and outcome.
Increase your presence at home during pregnancy
New fathers-to-be often believe that working and earning income for their partner and baby is a top priority to them. However, most new moms-to-be state that their husbands’ presence at home during pregnancy can help them to overcome some of their fears and concerns about pregnancy and give them peace of mind.
Concern for your partner’s nutrition during pregnancy
Consumption of healthy foods by the mother has an impact on her health as well as the growth and development of the baby. Help your partner stay healthy during pregnancy by taking care of her diet.
Encourage her to eat different foods, drink juice or milk, etc. Consultation with a nutritionist, such as a registered dietitian is appropriate and recommended for women with special nutritional needs.
Exercise regularly during the exercise
Exercise is good for the mother and baby. Accompany your partner for evening walks and exercise sessions.
Make sure that your partner gets enough rest
Make sure your partner takes breaks and naps. Encourage her to practice relaxation exercises and join in with her. Hormones may affect a woman’s energy level and sleep needs during pregnancy.
Help your partner stay away from alcohol and other harmful drugs
Make sure your partner stays away from alcohol and other drugs that are harmful to her as well as the baby. You may decide to give up alcohol to support and encourage her. Also, encourage her to consult the doctor before taking any over-the-counter or prescription medications.
Smoking should be avoided by both you and your partner. During pregnancy, smoking raises the risk of fetal growth issues and preterm birth. Secondhand smoke is also dangerous. Pregnant women who breathe in secondhand smoke have a higher risk of delivering a baby with low birth weight. Asthma attacks, respiratory infections, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) are more common in infants and children who are exposed to secondhand smoke than in those who are not. Smoking should not be permitted in your house or vehicle for any of these reasons.
Accompany your partner to prenatal visits and during pregnancy check-ups
Go with your partner to her prenatal visits, ultrasounds, and classes that will teach you and your partner about childbirth. Discuss and make decisions about prenatal tests.
Help plan for your baby
Plan with your partner for the place of delivery and choose a well-equipped delivery center. Discuss the things you want for your baby and help her arrange for them before the arrival of your baby.
Practice good behavior and manners during pregnancy
Never use physical force, frightening behavior, belittling comments, or other abusive behaviors towards your partner during pregnancy. These behaviors are not good for any relationship and are especially harmful during pregnancy.
Aggression during pregnancy can cause serious damage.
Provide emotional support to your partner
Pregnancy is a stressful and challenging time for women. The most essential aspect of the father’s participation in perinatal care is emotional support for the mother and her need for love and affection. By providing emotional support you can improve this experience. For example, if your partner experiences vomiting, nausea, or dislikes towards something caused by pregnancy or there may be complications during pregnancy, at such times, you should not deny emotional support to your partner and not consider her to be at fault. By offering support, you can take this burden off from your partner’s shoulders and help her cope with the problems. Ask her what she needs. Encourage and reassure her that you are there for her. You should provide emotional support to your partner not only during pregnancy but also during delivery and after delivery.
Appreciate your partner’s efforts
You should appreciate your partner’s efforts during and after delivery. You can do this by buying gifts or by verbally expressing appreciation, hugging her, or just holding her hands.
How can you help during labor and delivery?
Although your partner is the one giving birth, there are many things you can do to help her during labor and delivery.
-Help distract her by playing games with her or watching a movie during early labor
-Unless she’s been advised to stay in bed, go on short walks with her.
-Keep track of her contractions
-Between contractions, massage her back and shoulders
-Provide words of comfort and encouragement
What can you do if your partner is feeling depressed during pregnancy?
You may notice that your partner is feeling sad, helpless, anxious, or guilty during pregnancy. She has lost interest in activities that she usually used to enjoy. All these are signs of depression but are often not diagnosed properly during pregnancy as they mimic the normal ups and downs due to hormonal imbalance. There is nothing wrong with feeling low during pregnancy, but it shouldn’t be ignored as it can be dangerous for the mother and the baby.
Talk to your partner about your concerns if she shows any of these signs. Listen to her and back her up. Help her in obtaining any professional assistance that she may require. If needed, consult her healthcare professional for help.
You may be nervous about this role you are preparing yourself for. Along with supporting your partner, try to support yourself too. Share your feeling with your partner. Just as she shares what she needs, you should share what you need. Let her know, for example, if you want to go to all the doctor’s appointments and be an active part of it. During doctor visits, ask questions. This will help you get more involved in the process. Reach out to other partners to share your thoughts, opinions, and advice. Childbirth classes may allow you to meet other potential partners. You can also read articles or books written by expectant partners. Make an effort to get some exercise, see friends, or indulge in a hobby together.