When She Is Pregnant

You need to be the best partner you can – this is the first step to being a good dad. I know you want to be a good dad, right?

You know your missus better than I do, but she probably wants to feel like you care and that this means as much to you as it does to her. So make sure you show her that!

A lot of fellows just don’t know how to get involved, nor even whether they should. Don’t shy away, though – she needs your support and you need to be ready to give it to her.

Ante-natal appointments

Go to some of these, if you can – I’m sure she will appreciate it. The first scan is the first time you’ll see future baby, all weird and wiggly. It’s pretty cool and, frankly, you’d be daft to miss going. The same goes for the later scan, at about 18-20 weeks – here you can find out the baby’s sex, if you want to, and if the baby is compliant.

Mum will have lots of other appointments and checks with the midwife throughout her pregnancy – these include blood tests and other tests to monitor her (their!) health and wellbeing.

Ante-natal classes

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, you should go to a class if you can. If your partner goes to one, it would be great for you to go too – it’s becoming the norm for Dad to get involved and this is good. The more you know, the better you will be able to help Mum when the time comes.

The class should cover

  • General healthy lifestyle – diet, exercises etc which are very beneficial to mum and baby, not to mention the fact that the birth process can be easier for an active woman.
  • What happens during pregnancy – baby development, physical changes you can expect Mum to undergo, hormonal effects of pregnancy. This can be reassuring to know.
  • Labour – the supposed phases thereof, how long it might last, how to get through it, what you might want to bring with you to hospital (both for Mum and yourself)
  • Pain relief – for Mum, not you!
  • The actual birth process
  • Feeding baby & the first few days and weeks back at home

Morning sickness

  1. So your partner is probably suffering from morning sickness. It might be really bad morning sickness. Nothing is worse for someone suffering bad sickness than useless advice such as “have you tried ginger biscuits? I hear they’re really good for sickness”. She’s not stupid, she probably has tried it!

Some remedies do actually include ginger biscuits, here’s a quick list:

  • Pressure point bracelets
  • Vitamin B supplements
  • Anything with ginger
  • Anything with mint
  • Easy to eat, bland food

Your mileage may vary, but if your partner hasn’t tried any of these they might be worth a go. Bland food may be a good shout even if it doesn’t cure the sickness. At least she’ll get something down her, and you can polish off what she can’t eat. Mmm, crackers.

By the way, morning sickness is a stupid misnomer. It’s closer to “whenever” sickness, it can strike any time of day or night.

Be prepared to clean up for her, pull over the car, maybe carry some convenient bags…

Whatever you do, be patient with this. If she has a sudden aversion to chili con carne, but you love it – just don’t!

For most people it goes away within a few months. But it might last right until the day baby pops out!

Be pregnant

Yeah, be pregnant yourself! Well, okay, not literally – but put yourself in mum’s place. What would it be like?

This is a fairly simple one, basically try to close the gap between you and her. If you smoke, stop – certainly don’t do it around mum-to-be. She probably won’t be drinking, so maybe you shouldn’t drink too much around her. Coffee too. My partner isn’t a big coffee drinker so I carried on with my gallon a day habit, but even though she never usually fancies a cup of Joe she wanted what she couldn’t have.

Essentially, don’t rub it in!

Connect

You really should take some time to connect with your partner. Mark Harris, in his book Men, Love and Birth, suggests you do some dancing, some massage. This sounds like a good plan to me.

Listen to her concerns, any difficulties she is having with pregnancy, any worries about your baby that she may have.

Remind her she’s beautiful – I presume you think she’s gorgeous. So tell her! Her body is changing a lot and for most people this can be scary – so reassure her.

Finally, be patient. I’m guilty of being impatient and getting annoyed when I don’t understand the problem or whatever. Just try to listen and put aside any notion of being “right” or winning the argument.

Hopefully all of this will have been of some help. It’s not everything and every relationship is different, but these are things that I think would have been helpful for me to know years ago not just in advance of the baby. It’s just basic being a good man stuff I guess.

If you have any other ideas or anything to say about my thoughts above then please feel free to get in touch!

Joe