What to say when you find out she’s pregnant: “That’s amazing! Yeah, baby!” What not to say: “How did that happen?” —Chris Pegula, founder and creator of Diaper Dude and father of three, Los Angeles
RUB! Rub her feet, rub her back, rub her shoulders. —Bert Martinez, motivational speaker and father of five, Houston
Go to any appointment where there’s an ultrasound—you’ll never regret the experience, and your wife will feel more cared for by your involvement. —Dillon Burroughs, writer-editor and father of three, Chattanooga, Tenn.
Yeah, you’re expecting a child together, but she’s the one who’s carrying it. She gets the good parts of feeling it kick, getting the natural bond, etc. But she also gets the expanding belly, backaches and foot aches, hormones going crazy and, of course, the birth. So give her lots of attention, make her know she’s loved and appreciated. Talk to the baby in her belly, go to doctor appointments, ask questions and learn. Your relationship with both your partner and your child will grow. —Brent Larson, computer programmer and father of two, Shawnee, Kan.
Be proactive in thinking of ways to support her. Doing the dishes after she asks you is nice, but thinking of it on your own is even better. Also, cookies never hurt. —Noah Lang, attorney and father of one, Seattle
If she says that something in the house smells bad, believe her, even if you don’t smell anything at all. At some point in her pregnancy, even mild odors—soft soap, turkey burgers, ice cubes—may smell awful to her. Whatever you do, don’t let the garbage or leftovers in the fridge linger. —Michael Yessis, travel editor and father of one, Rockville, Md.
Flexibility is a biggie. She might refuse a back rub one minute, then change her mind a few minutes later. She might want to go out to dinner, then doze off as you’re phoning for a reservation. You have to roll with it. —N.L.
Take a couple of hours at a time off from work to attend doctor visits or deal with other pregnancy-related stuff. Get your boss and co-workers used to the idea that you’ll be a dad, and when the baby comes, you’ll already have shown that you can handle a little scheduling flexibility and still get your work done. —Bill Nathan, project manager and father of two, San Francisco
Well before the baby is due, take a full wallet and an empty car to Costco and lay in a supply of toothpaste, toilet paper, extra towels, cat litter, extra memory cards for your digital camera, healthy frozen foods—anything that will save you a trip to the store after the baby comes. —Ted Brown, teacher and father of three, Dallas
Never throw out the directions to any piece of baby gear. First, you might have another baby some day, and by then your brain will have moved on and automatically purged all understanding of how that collapsible baby seat ever worked. —Esteban Rodriguez, executive chef and father of one, New York
At the Hospital
Take a couple of tennis balls and stick them in a (clean) gym sock. Then slowly roll them up and down her back during labor. Don’t stop. —T.B.
Videotaping a birth calls for some discretion. You’re not Ridley Scott, and she’s not ready for her close-up, if you know what I mean. If you can, ask someone else to handle the filming duties from a polite distance. —E.R.