When a woman is pregnant, most of the outside world’s attention is on the mother-to-be. On one hand, this makes sense: it is the mother who bears the first-hand, physical experience of pregnancy and birth, and the intrinsic connection to a child who was once part of her body.
But what about the father or partner? Fathers too, go through an experience during pregnancy and birth. First-time dads in particular must come to terms with a transition in family roles and responsibility, and deal with their own feelings of fear, excitement and anxiety. Yet, when a couple is expecting, all of the fuss and concern centers on mom: “How are you feeling? Are you sleeping well? What’s your birth plan?” Dad is more likely to hear nothing — unless it relates to mom.
Women, listen up: Dads need preparation, understanding and communication during pregnancy too! Women tend to gather and process information about pregnancy through their care providers, other women, books and Internet articles.
Men however, don’t always attend prenatal appointments, and are less likely to pour over the literature or spark up a conversation about pregnancy with their peers. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested or don’t need support. And here’s the secret: the more prepared and informed dad is, the better equipped he will be to support and encourage you during pregnancy and birth.
The following are simple, but key, steps you can take to involve, support and prepare your partner, helping to improve the experience for both of you.
1. Attend Prenatal Appointments Together
It may not be practical to see your care provider together every time, but make it a point to attend a handful of appointments as a couple. This allows dad to understand more about your prenatal care, experience exciting things like hearing baby’s heartbeat, and pose his own questions to your care provider.