During pregnancy the focus is, quite naturally, on the mother-to-be. But it’s important to remember that a happy pregnancy needs two partners to be successful. The father-to-be can be a great support to his partner while they both wait to meet their new baby. Here are some tips for expectant fathers.
Pregnancy can be rather daunting for the first-time Dad. Lots of new information to take in, and he may have difficulty understanding the changes going on in his partner’s body AND mind. Attending clinics and appointments as a couple has several benefits. Firstly it is a great show of support. Secondly it will help him get up-to-speed with what is happening. It’a also good that two people attend the appointments as there’s also a lot of new information for the first-time mum. So two heads will be better than one.
One of the most enjoyable parts of planning for a new baby is getting everything ready. There will be purchases to be made, probably a room to prepare, and plans to be made for a whole new life-style as a family.
Pregnancy is a time when the mother-to-be needs to be extra careful about diet and exercise. Not only for the health of the baby, but also so that Mum will more easily regain her pre-pregnancy figure. If the expectant father embraces a healthy life-style it will be a support for his partner, and help him to be more fit for his new role.
It should go without saying that smoking is a complete no-no. For the most healthy baby, both partners will have quit smoking long before the baby was conceived. But if that didn’t happen it’s important for both partners to quit right away. The Dad-to-be may wonder why he should quit, but passive smoking by Mum or Baby will be harmful.
The expectant father has no changes to his body, so he might find it difficult to understand how exhausted his pregnant partner may be. Just trust me on this. There is so much going on in her body she will be shattered, particularly if she’s still working. Help with the chores and cleaning will be a great support.
You won’t be the first father-to-be who has been confused and surprised by their feelings, and the need for a massive life-style change. Talk to other Dads you know about their experiences. Find out what helped them to cope. Make sure you pick good role models, not feckless fathers!!
Most modern Dads attend the birth so as the big day draws near, you will almost certainly be invited to attend child-birth classes with your partner. These are vital for the bonding, and to give practical support during the birth. It’s also an occasion to meet other new parents-to-be. They may become life-long friends, or at the very least, the start of a baby-sitting circle.
Although at first sight pregnancy seems to be all about the mother and baby, the father-to-be has an important role in the transition from being a couple to being a family. Approaching this with tolerance, understanding and good humour will be the best possible start to your new role as a Dad.