As soon as a woman realizes she is pregnant, she begins to physically, mentally and emotionally prepare for the new addition. For men, the perception is that they are simply going with the flow and they need little to no guidance or instruction in preparing for their new child. This could not be further from the truth.
Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy
In fact, men may need more instruction because they do not have the initial physical and emotional connection with the embryo. Sure, men can read some books or go to a couple of classes, but a simple “Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy” is a great way to ensure expectant fathers will be ready from the announcement to the car ride home after the birth.
Communication is Key
A great first step is communication, with both the expectant mother and the baby. During the embryo’s developmental stages, it is getting used to the mother’s voice, heartbeat, and other physical characteristics since they are inside of her. For expectant fathers, it is important they recognize your voice as well to solidify the bond after birth. Talking, reading books and singing to the baby are great ways to soothe them in utero. Talking with your significant other is also great because any shared concerns can be worked on as a team.
Help Prepare the Nursery
Preparing the baby’s living arrangements is also important. With a new baby coming, they need space to be changed, have tummy time, etc. If you plan to have a nursery or room specifically for your baby, pregnancy is the best time to prepare that space. Any gender-specific details can be done later on, while assembling a crib, getting the car seat and other essentials should be organized early on, especially since pregnancy goes by faster than it may seem.
Be Involved with Appointments
This may go without saying, but go to as many appointments as possible. Pregnancy is a special time in the mother’s life, but can also be very physically and emotionally demanding. By showing up, it reassures her that you take an interest in the well-being of the baby and are also supportive of her. Also, going to the appointments and learning the necessary steps she needs to follow to keep your little one healthy will help keep her on track. For instance, if you find out she has pregnancy-related anemia, you can make sure she eats her molasses or other treatments daily to raise her iron levels.
Know about Labor
It is also important to understand that at any point after the baby positions itself in its delivery position, labor can begin. The baby typically gets into this position between 32 and 36 weeks. While solidifying a stronger bond should have been the goal throughout the pregnancy, this is when quality time should be spent together since this will be the last period you and your partner will be alone. This is also the time to discuss a birthing plan. While it may not end up going according to plan, it is important to have guidelines, including who will be present during the birth, which hospital or birthing center you prefer, and other labor details that may be difficult to articulate in the heat of the moment.
In addition to all of these tips, it is important to just enjoy the pregnancy. Enjoy the waddle when your partner walks. Get her the specific foods she craves. Take this time to create memories together that you can share with your new baby. Also remember, while your partner is the one who will be delivering the baby and may get majority of the recognition, your role in your future child’s life is equally as important.
Following this “Dad’s Guide to Pregnancy” will not guarantee an easy birth. When the big moment comes, brace yourself and breathe. If you are squeamish, brace yourself. Watching a live birth can be intense, so do your best to be supportive and sit down if necessary. Treasure these moments and be sure to get skin-to-skin contact with your little one once they are born.