Having a baby is one of the biggest events in a man’s life, and it’s natural to feel overwhelmed when your partner tells you she is pregnant.
But if you spend some time getting well prepared, everything can be made much easier.
For example, you can learn about some of the basic biology of pregnancy and birth, how to provide your partner with support and what to think about when the baby has arrived.
Below is what I’ll cover in this article to help you face the first-time fatherhood.
- What is the most important information that an expectant father must know?
- What should you expect as you enter the second trimester?
- How to support your partner in the final weeks?
- How to build a supportive relationship to help yourself transition into a father?
- Final Thoughts
What is the most important information that an expectant father must know?
If you want to make it through the next nine months, it’s time to get informed.
Once your partner has conceived, you should be aware of the risk of miscarriage.
So you should wait until the third month to announce the news with your partner.
Apart from that, you should try your best to attend doctor’s visits and ultrasound appointments with your partner. These are the times when you’ll hear the first heartbeats and see the child via ultrasound.
As your partner confronts all sorts of physical challenges brought about by pregnancy, you need to learn the different ways to support her.
For example, to help her cope with the morning sickness that might linger into the afternoon, you should keep some lemons and ginger on hand to make tea, which can calm an upset stomach.
Besides, exercise is also important, so you should work out with your partner regularly; otherwise she won’t be motivated to do exercise.
Apart from the regular exercise, you also have to take over the chores, especially if your partner goes on to work during pregnancy. So be ready to wash the dishes without being asked.
In short, you should do whatever you can to show your support for your partner who is experiencing stress due to her transforming body.
What should you expect as you enter the second trimester?
As you enter the second trimester, what should you expect?
Firstly, as your partner’s hormone levels fluctuate, you need to get ready for some mood swings, snoring and forgetfulness.
Also, you’ll be able to find out the gender of your child, so decide with your partner if you want to know the answer.
The second trimester also ushers in false labor pains which are caused by movement without regular patterns. You need to work with your partner to distinguish those pains from the real ones.
This is also the best time to get prepared for the last trimester. Hence you need to prepare as much of the baby stuff as you can, so that you won’t panic in the final stage.
Your partner will be keen on starting nesting and preparing the home, so gear up for your part.
If you think of some particular things that need to be assembled, purchased or set up, jot it down and get it done as soon as possible.
For example, a car seat isn’t something you want to install after your baby’s arrival; otherwise you might install it incorrectly in a rush, which puts your newborn at risk.
So take your time to read the manual and practise setting it up beforehand.
Lastly, this is the best time to start picking a name. If you choose a silly name, your child might become a joke in elementary school; whereas a common name makes your child share the same one with other classmates. Spend some time to find a name that you and your partner and other relatives reach consensus.
How to support your partner in the final weeks?
Once you arrive at week 38, you’ll be on constant babywatch. Statistics show that 98 percent of women give birth between week 38 and 42, whereas only 4 percent give birth on their predicted due date.
During these weeks, you need to spend more time staying with your partner. It’s better to have a hospital bag ready lest you need to dash to the delivery room.
You can bring something to read, a camera, your contact information and your birthing plan. As long as you’re there for each other, you’ll deal with the anxiety of impending parenthood.
This phase also means health risks for your partner. Preterm labor or labor before the end of week 37 necessitates immediate treatment followed by bed rest. Your partner might feel trapped and anxious. So give her more support and attention.
Also, talk to your doctor and evaluate the pros and cons of taking painkillers during labor to help your partner make the right decision for herself and the unborn baby.
Last but not least, don’t feel helpless as you stand by your partner, remember how much she values your support.
How to build a supportive relationship to help yourself transition into a father?
Now that the birth is over and you are going home with your kid. But still, you need to prepare yourself for more decision-making.
First, breastfeeding. Will your partner choose the natural way, which is healthier, or use formula, which is more practical? Discuss it beforehand to ensure you are on the same page with your partner.
Secondly, take some time to care for yourself. While the spotlight will be on your partner and the baby for the coming months, you’ve got a lot of burden to carry as a father.
According to studies, not only women suffer from postpartum depression, 15 percent of new daddies do as well.
You can seek help from the grandparents of your kid, but remember to set boundaries. Because you might not concur with the traditional ways of raising a child such as physical punishment. So that you have to let them know your expectations beforehand.
Also, you need to keep a visiting policy in place to make sure that you and your baby have enough time for rest.
When it comes to sex, remember that doctors typically don’t recommend having sex until at least six weeks after the birth.
Last but not least, you need to deal with the problem of sleep deprivation. Studies show that during the first two years of a child’s life, parents miss the equivalent of six months of sleep. So you need to plan with your partner ahead to handle it.
Pregnancy isn’t just about mum, dads-to-be plays a very important role as well. So you need to plan ahead with your partner to cope with the challenges in the next nine months. That way, you’ll be more than ready to be a great daddy.
Also, you can consider finding a doula i.e. a woman who can support your partner from relieving stress with massages to giving pep talks. You might discuss with her to see if she wants one.