Father’s have a very important role during pregnancy and beyond but sometimes it can be challenging to work out what practical steps you can take. Here are some tips for Dads-to-be:
1. Reassure your Mum-To-Be
Pregnancy is often a very happy time but this doesn’t mean it is without it’s share of worry for women who may find themselves over analysing everything they choose to do from what vitamins to take to what exercise to do. It is immensely helpful to her if you can reassure her that she is doing exactly good enough and that good enough, is good enough.
2. Be a good support system
Source and read books on Fatherhood and inform yourself of what happens for women physiologically in pregnancy. Book time off to attend all hospital appointments and ante-natal classes in advance. Find ways to positively distract her such as a weekly date night, even a take-out and a movie at home or breakfast in bed. Reassure her that you are there to support her the whole way through the pregnancy and beyond.
3. Plan for delivery
Sit down and discuss together what she expects of and from you during delivery and express your feelings about your role here too. Do you want to cut the cord? Do you want practical skills about how to help her with pain management during labour? Consider taking a partner massage class together with a maternity physiotherapist and/or a gentle birthing class.
4. Use the “help” word and use it often
Asking “How can I help?” is more powerful than asking “what’s wrong?” Taking on more than you fair share of household chores is a big help; adapting your eating plan to her needs for example if she would rather 6 smaller meals a day than 3 main ones (on days you are at home together); planning walks together and time out of the house; decorating the nursery together and the myriad of other small and big things along the way.
5. Invest in your own support system too
Having a new baby brings a huge change to family dynamics and the household (be that a 1st or 4th baby) and while a lot of your focus will be on supporting your partner, you too will need support. Reach out to other Dad’s in your peer group and arrange to meet up and catch up with them, learn from their experiences (while appreciating it is different for everyone) and talk through the challenges you are experiencing too.
Remember to have fun during the process of pregnancy.
6. Enjoy it
Remember to have fun during the process of pregnancy. Share your fantasises about the baby, what you imagine he/she will look like, what kind of a personality, what things you are excited to do together with the baby. Think and talk about names. Enjoy the process leading up to the baby arriving and hold in mind that you are exactly the parent your child needs you to be.