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 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 rollercoaster 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 doctor 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
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.
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!