We’re Pregnant—Tips for the Expectant Dad

We’re Pregnant–Tips for the Expectant Dad

The words “We’re pregnant” sound
familiar these days. More than ever, men are actively involved throughout pregnancy.
The
term expectant father really fits. Men support, worry,
and plan right along with their pregnant partners. Some of the more common experiences
for
expectant dads are included here.

What he needs

Being an expectant father is
exciting. But it also can be challenging. It calls for men to take on new roles, but
keep everything in balance at work and at home. Even before birth, the baby can seem
a
bit like an intruder in a couple’s relationship. And it’s not uncommon for a
give-and-take relationship to become unbalanced. This can happen when the physical
and
emotional demands of pregnancy take their toll. Some men feel resentful or frustrated,
and then feel guilty about having those negative feelings. These are normal emotions.
It
may help to share them with others who have “been there.” You’ll be surprised to learn
that your feelings are pretty common. You’ll find yourself gradually adapting to the
“dad” role.

Another surprise for some men is
actually having some of the same physical discomforts that their partner has. These
“sympathetic” pregnancy feelings are officially known as couvade syndrome. They can
include morning
sickness and weight gain. And just like with their partner, the symptoms go away when
the baby is born!

One of the common concerns for men is sex during pregnancy. Fortunately, having sex
during pregnancy isn’t harmful. The only time it isn’t advised is when there are complications
such as preterm labor. The baby is tucked safely inside the uterus. He or she is protected
by a cushion of fluid within the amniotic sac. Because sex can sometimes be uncomfortable
for a pregnant woman, patience and some creative intimacy can help.

What she needs

Your pregnant partner’s needs are
often confusing. It can be a roller-coaster ride with her rising hormones and changing
body. Many men feel helpless when their partner is miserable with morning sickness
or
upset about feeling “fat.” And men are often frustrated when their offers of help
and
encouragement get a rebuff or tears. Men often want to fix a problem. But women usually
just need someone to hear them vent, be understanding when they complain, or be a
shoulder to cry on. Giving her a back rub or offering to cook dinner can go a long
way,
too. But pregnant women do need encouragement and support from a partner who understands
what’s happening. So going to healthcare provider visits with her can help you stay
prepared for what’s coming next. Reading a few chapters from one of the many pregnancy
books sure to be lying around the house is a good idea, too. And you may be surprised
at
what you can learn in childbirth classes.

Your partner needs to feel safe and secure. You play a big role in making sure she
has healthy food to eat and a safe environment. As the baby’s due date nears, it’s
important to help her get the house ready. Help her settle any outstanding work issues
and have a plan in place for getting to the hospital.

Get ready

You have an exciting ride ahead—pregnancy is a special time. By being an involved
and up-to-date partner, you’ll be able to enjoy the months leading up to the big day!