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For Dads-to-Be: 10 Tips for Sharing the Experience
Congratulations! You’re going to be a Dad!
This is an exciting time for you and your partner – a journey you’ll want to share, right from the start. Your role as a father begins long before your baby is born. You can have a positive effect on your partner’s pregnancy by helping Mom feel more comfortable and by being an active participant.
Here are 10 tips:
- Be helpful. Early in Mom’s pregnancy (up to the first 14 weeks), most women feel tired, need more rest, urinate frequently and have sore breasts. Nausea and vomiting are also common. Although these symptoms are called “morning sickness,” they can happen at any time of the day or night. Think about how you can be helpful during this time – perhaps by cooking dinner or assisting with more household duties.
- Show interest. Go to Mom’s prenatal appointments whenever you can. If you have trouble getting away, be sure to make it for the milestones, such as the first ultrasound.
- Pay attention. You can’t be pregnant, but you can participate by being an active listener and observer. Let her know you’re enjoying seeing the baby grow. Play music and read to your baby. Keep your own Father’s Journal.
- Get healthy. Working together for a healthier lifestyle will help you, your partner and your baby. Adapt your lifestyles to include a balanced diet and plenty of rest. Since Mom must stop any use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, this is a good time for you to stop, too.
- Take childbirth classes. These classes offer another way for expectant Dads to be actively involved with pregnancy and birth. Childbirth classes can ease any fears or anxieties and teach techniques for coping with the discomfort that most women have during childbirth.
- Talk openly about the physical and emotional aspects of pregnancy. Physical and emotional changes occur throughout pregnancy and can affect most aspects of your partner’s life. These changes are normal, but can sometimes be confusing. Knowing what to expect – and talking openly – will help both of you to have a positive experience.
- Love her changing body. As her pregnancy progresses, she may feel unattractive. Reassure her. It is normal for a woman’s sexual feelings to change within the stages of pregnancy as her body image changes and discomforts come and go. Your sexual feelings may also change as the pregnancy progresses. Discussing your needs and emotions will help you both enjoy a happy and satisfying sexual relationship during pregnancy. In most normal pregnancies, sex is considered healthy and safe. The woman’s comfort should be the most important guide during sex.
- Go the extra mile. If Mom is exhausted, an hour nap when she comes home can make a world of difference. If you already have children at home, arrange childcare to give Mom a morning or afternoon by herself. Shop for groceries. Pay the bills. Indulge her at 11 p.m. with ice cream or whatever she craves.
- Memorize the route to the hospital. When Mom’s water breaks, you’ll most likely be making that drive to the hospital for delivery. Make a few dry runs – during rush hour traffic and late at night, so you’ll know the route. And once you’re there, be ready to coach and encourage her. Feed her ice chips, massage her legs or play her favorite music.
- Prepare for your new life as a father. Becoming a parent is a skill that takes time to learn. Be patient as you adjust to the new roles and duties of parenthood. Try to reserve special time with your partner. You were a couple before. Schedule a date night where you enjoy something you love as a couple.
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