7 Things Dads Can Do to Support Their Pregnant Partners
Throughout all of time, the world has revered and regarded the value of a good father. Research has proven time and time again the positive impact a father’s involvement has on the upbringing of a child. However, the cultural expectation for dads has shifted dramatically over the last generation. While a dad’s involvement began at birth in times past, a current trend is the growing expectation that a dad will warm into fatherhood by active involvement with his partner during her pregnancy. Not only does this enrich a father’s experience during the pregnancy process, but it also gives a mother peace of mind, knowing Dad is just as excited for Little One’s arrival.
- Communicate. Getting pregnant is a joint effort, but being pregnant is a role women exclusively carry. This can leave soon-to-be dads floundering and wondering where their place is. Let your partner know that you want to be as actively involved as possible and ask how you can work together while major changes take place. Pregnancy leaves many moms-to-be tired, emotional and unable to maintain the same daily pace. Try to be a source of encouragement and take the initiative to fill in the gaps on housework and errands.
- Be involved. Long gone are the days when a dad’s role in pregnancy was limited to driving his wife to the doctor when she was in labor and sitting in the waiting room until Baby was born. There’s no better way to be involved in the pregnancy than to learn alongside your wife the changes that are going on within her body. Make it a priority to attend prenatal visits and childbirth classes with your wife. If your schedule prevents you from attending every one, make it a priority to be present for the initial exam and the 20-week sonogram, where you will have the first opportunity to see your baby and, if you choose, find out its gender.
- It’s a date! A baby on the way is exciting news, but it can become easy to overlook your relationship with one another when all the attention goes toward doctor’s appointments, registries and baby showers. This does not become any easier when your little one arrives and your time is no longer your own. One of the best ways to kindle the fire with your “hot mama” is to continue to seek her out, before and after Baby is born. To ease the transition when your newborn arrives, pursue your partner and be intentional about dating before Baby is born. If she is on bed rest or has medical complications, you can still make her feel special with movie nights at home, love notes and presents “just because.”
- Make healthy choices. Pregnant women are given all kinds of advice to ensure healthier outcomes. Eat more protein. Drink lots of water. Maintain light exercise. This can be a chore when done alone, but a companion can make all the difference. Team up together to make healthy lifestyle choices as a couple, something that is good for your coming baby and for you as well.
- Assist in nesting. Soon-to-be-moms might be notorious for nesting before Baby is born, but Dad’s help is crucial for checking those to-do’s off the list. Pregnant women should not lift heavy equipment or be around the toxic paint fumes, meaning now’s the time to grab your supplies to paint the nursery.... and while you’re at it, start reading the instruction manual to figure out just how to assemble that crib.
- Find a mentor dad. One of the best ways to prepare for your baby’s arrival is to seek counsel from dads you admire. Consider it guy time with a great purpose.
- Know your place. The spotlight might be on Mama during pregnancy, but know you fill an invaluable support role. A recent study performed by the University of South Florida confirmed that dads involved during pregnancy significantly reduce the risk of infant mortality. This is mainly due to the role fathers play in reducing emotional stress of expectant moms. Your presence is of value not only to your partner, but also to your baby.
Lauren Greenlee is ever thankful for her husband, who is an invaluable support to her throughout pregnancy and beyond. She writes from her home in Olathe.