Moms receive plenty of advice (often more than they would like) when they announce that they are pregnant. However, if you are a dad, you may be at a loss for what to do. How should you treat your partner? What can you do to prepare for the baby? Is there any way you can form a bond with the baby before he is born? Dad’s role, though not often talked about, is vital to a happy, successful pregnancy.
The first step in being involved in the pregnancy is to be informed. Accompany your partner to her prenatal appointments. Don’t hesitate to ask the doctor questions if there is something worrying you or that you don’t understand. More than this, talk to your partner. How is she feeling? What can you do to help her? All of this information will help you to support your partner and feel like you are more of a part of the process.
Moms will be dying to design a nursery and buy a wardrobe for their new addition. While you may feel like this is something you have no say in, you actually do! Sit down with your partner and talk to her about what items you will need for the baby and projects that need to be done before your little one’s arrival. Make a lists of everything and post them somewhere where both of you will be able to add to them as you think of new things (and cross things off as they are bought or projects are finished).
One of your key roles as dad during a pregnancy is to support mom. Her hormones will be going crazy. She may be energetic and blissful one hour and lethargic and depressed the next. Take this all in stride. Make sure that she is getting enough nutrition and taking her prenatal vitamins. When she is up to it, go on walks together to help her stay fit. Every minute that you spend supporting mom has the added benefit of helping your baby as well, so keep at it!
Especially during the first and third trimesters your partner will likely be exhausted and sore. Help her out by taking on some extra chores. Take out the trash, rearrange the nursery, or even do dishes. Even little tasks may seem daunting to a pregnant woman, so do your best to make sure she isn’t overwhelmed.
While everything that you do for your partner is important, don’t forget the baby! Though you cannot yet see and hold him, you can still interact. When he is about 4 months along, your baby will be able to hear your voice. Spend time talking to him, reading books, or even singing. He will learn to recognize your voice, and may even move around when he hears you speak. Take a moment to feel your partner’s belly for the baby’s movement. All of this will help you begin bonding with your little one, even before he is born!
As a dad, you can be incredibly involved in your partner’s pregnancy. You played a key role in getting things started, so don’t stop there! The time that you spend supporting mom and bonding with the baby will not only prepare you for the baby’s arrival, but will make lifelong memories for you and your partner. Don’t be intimidated or allow yourself to feel left out. Be an involved daddy!