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DAD CARES: HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR PREGNANT PARTNER

Being pregnant is already a huge task ahead of any expectant woman. 9 months of dealing with everything that comes with being pregnant. The worst thing can be not having a support system. This is what keeps a mum-to-be going and makes the months fly away. Otherwise, it is going to look like a lifetime of being pregnant.

If there is any time your wife will really need your support, it is now. She is flooded with hormones and you do not want to make her feel any neglected or alone. This will only make things worse for you too.

Mom and Dad  highlights some of the  things that you can do to help your expectant wife feel more comfortable in pregnancy and ensure you have got one happy pregnant couple.

Show Interest

Many dads find themselves detaching from the pregnancy process because they have not taken the time to learn about it.  Go with your child’s mum to prenatal classes and doctor’s appointments.  Read books or watch videos about the process of pregnancy.  Learn about the labor and delivery process and talk with other fathers about their experiences.  Help her prepare your birth plan.  Getting more involved in becoming educated about the pregnancy process will help be a support to mom through her experience. It doesn’t have to be a high tech serious book, but showing her you have interests on your own about the pregnancy can ease her fears. Not to mention reading can give you an edge up and provide you with some talking points for future conversations.

Massages

She will appreciate a foot or body massages once every day. This will not only help her relieve a lot of tension, but also give you some quiet time to talk.

Take Over

This can mean a variety of things from helping to pay the bills, without complaining, to arranging childcare for an afternoon off.

Cleaning

Your wife is probably too tired to bend and clean walls. Or maybe she just does not feel like. Be ready to help with daily household chores if you have not employed someone to help. Let her not feel like she already has another lazy ‘baby’ in the house.

Take over some of the household chores.  As your partners bodies adapt to the rigors of pregnancy, some of the household chores get impossible for her.  The fumes of cleaning solutions can be nauseating if not toxic, so cleaning toilets and tubs may need to fall to dad.  Vacuuming and mopping can be really hard when mum’s body is already tired or the baby bump gets in the way.  Offering to take this household burden off our pregnant partner (especially before she has to ask) can help alleviate a lot of stress and anxiety.

Help choosing names

Yes, you are discussing baby names for the umpteenth time, but it’s important to her and ultimately you.

 

Emotional Support

Support her emotionally.  Hormones you did not know existed will begin to manifest themselves in strange ways during pregnancy.  Your partner may cry a lot, or have moments of total exhilaration.  Things that used to be simple and routine now are laden with emotions, both positive and negative.  Recognize that these are all natural and to be expected, and that, for the most part, they will not last beyond labor and delivery.  Patience, understanding, active listening and just holding her when she wants to be held are big things that will sustain her emotional needs during her pregnancy.

Appointments

So much of what is happening to your partner is new, and she is loaded with anxieties about pregnancy, labor, delivery and dealing with a newborn baby.  When you make time to go to the doctor with her, to go to prenatal classes and to prepare a birth plan, you communicate your love, your commitment and your willingness to be a support to her.

Take her out

Despite gaining a few pounds, she still wants to dress up, look sexy and go out. Sometimes it seems like your fetus has taken over your life months before it gets here. Remember to spend time as a couple. She will need a moment of relief during the week, and a regular date night where you go see a movie, go out with friends or just take a weekend out of town to try and get away from the stresses of the pregnancy.  Give her something positive to look forward to each week.

 

Take childbirth classes

Don’t worry about turning green or looking silly. These classes will help you tremendously once she’s in labor. A good class should prepare you for anything along the way. It also gives you a chance to ask questions.

Feel the baby move

I t means a lot when you feel what she feels. She wants you as much as possible, to be part of what she is going through. Try resting your hand on her belly during TV time or while you are laying in bed. Chances are the longer you leave it there the more likely you are to be rewarded with the thumps and flutters she so longs for you to feel.

Prepare for Baby

There is no way to fully grasp what it takes to be ready for a baby. Babies spit up and poop on clothing, crib sheets and more, and they need many changes of each daily.  There are cribs, cradles, changing tables, car seats, high chairs and more – all of which are essentials to being parents of a new baby.  So work with her to get ready, and help her find the things she needs.  Do not panic all the time about how much things cost or make her feel guilty about having basic needs on hand.  We all know it is expensive, but it is part and parcel of being a new parent.

Assure Her

Assure her that you understand her body image concerns. Her body will be changing in lots of ways during the pregnancy, and under it all she realizes it too.  But she is experiencing the reality of it all, and when she looks in the mirror, she might occasionally feel like a failure.  Don’t discount her concerns, but help her keep them in perspective.  Remind her regularly that she is beautiful and doing so well.  But let her vent about it when she needs to and don’t put her down for how she is feeling. Regular sincere praise can make a big difference.  Comment about the glow in her eyes and how beautiful her smile is when you talk to her.

Listen

More than almost anything, your pregnant partners just needs to be listened to.  Listening to her validates her worth and communicates love and acceptance.  Practice active listening, where you reflect back to her the feelings and the messages she communicates.  Consider setting aside at least 30 minutes every evening where you eliminate distractions and just focus on listening to her.

Pregnancy is challenging at best, but it brings with it a sense of awe and wonder if we work hard at making it a process where you can feel those things.  Being supportive physically and emotionally, learning all you can about the process, covering the needed bases and focusing on preparation will help keep your relationship strong and help you have a sweeter experience together as you anticipate expanding your family circle.