There are so many guides and pregnancy books out there for pregnant women – what to expect during pregnancy and labour, how they can look after themselves, what to expect in the first trimester, second trimester, and third trimester. But having a baby is generally a two-person job (I know this isn’t always the case), so what about the dads and dads to be out there? Do you know how to be a supportive husband during pregnancy?
So, I’ve decided to put together a little Survival Guide for Dads to be with advice on how you can support your pregnant wife (or partner/girlfriend) through pregnancy, labour, and the newborn stage. I’m going to break it up into three separate posts:
- How to be a supportive husband during pregnancy
- Tips For Dads During Labour
- First Few Weeks With A Newborn – A Guide For Dads
I’ve had some help on this from my husband Darren, so hopefully, between the both of us, we’ll be able to cover everything that you need to know.
So Here Is My Guide On How To Be A Supportive Husband During Pregnancy
So, let me start by saying being pregnant is hard work! I mean, getting pregnant can be hard work itself, but being pregnant is a whole other story! We are literally growing another human, and that is not easy! That’s due to a couple of things – hormones and pregnancy symptoms. There are hundreds of different symptoms that a woman can experience during pregnancy, and they are not pleasant:
- Extreme tiredness
- Aches and pains
- Sickness and nausea
- Swollen hands and feet
And this is just a short list. For a complete list of symptoms by pregnancy week, go to Start4Life pregnancy. ALL the possible symptoms are included – spoiler alert, it’s A LOT. And guess what? We do this for nine months! Honestly, the physical changes our bodies go through is insane!
So why am I mentioning this? In all honesty, it’s for sympathy. Like I said above, growing another human is hard work. So, what can I do to help, I hear you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked! Here are some ideas on how to support your partner during pregnancy.
I’m sure you’ve experienced it where one minute your partner will be fine. The next minute, she’s biting your head off because you said yes in a funny way. Then, the next thing, she’s bawling her eyes out because Big Ben has just been silenced for four years, and now it will only ring on special occasions. London just won’t be the same….just me? Moving on.
This is because we’ve got hormones and emotions pulling us in every direction, and there is nothing we can do about it. Never and I mean NEVER, say to a pregnant woman that she is being hormonal. You know we are, we know we are, but no one needs to say it.
Offer Foot/Back/Leg Rubs
Everything aches, and everything swells. I cannot tell you how amazing it feels to have your little fat, swollen feet rubbed, or your aching back rubbed. Don’t like feet? Tough luck; your partner is growing your child, her body is going through an enormous change. She deserves a foot rub.
For a while, our lives will revolve around food. Either not eating it because of morning sickness, or we can’t eat enough! Whenever you pop to the shop, make sure you pick up the latest craving. It might not just be the typical ice cream, chocolate or crisps. I really loved iced water when I was pregnant and always needed ice in the house! I cannot tell you how devastating it is when you go to get your latest craving out of the cupboard, fridge or freezer, and it’s all gone! Pick yourself up a little treat, too but be prepared to share it!!
Be Healthy Too
Before getting pregnant, I loved a glass (or bottle!) of wine. Obviously, once I got pregnant, I gave that up. I also made sure that I ate better and got some exercise. Be the ultimate supportive partner and show her just how amazing you are by joining her on the walks, healthy eating and getting into good habits by giving the booze and cigarettes too.
Have A Bit Of Sympathy
Could you imagine going to work after being sick, having a headache and being so tired you don’t have the energy to brush your teeth? That’s the reality for some women when they are pregnant, but they’re just expected to carry on with their day like nothing is wrong. Offer emotional support as well as physical support during pregnancy; your wife will be so grateful.
Make Sure That You Pack Your Hospital Bag
When I was pregnant with Little J, I made sure that both our Hospital bags were packed and ready to go. Guess who didn’t? Even though I had asked Darren to pack his bag numerous times, for some reason, he didn’t. We ended being in the hospital for about four days. Seriously, please pack your bag ready before the baby arrives!
Help Around The House*
I am fortunate as me and Darren share the housework, so this wasn’t so much of an issue for us. If your partner is usually the one to do all this, consider helping out, as the little things really do make such a difference. Run the hoover round, bring some washing downstairs, do the washing up. Do you honestly want your pregnant partner lugging the hoover upstairs?
*Little side note here, if you’re not already helping around the house, stop being so bloody lazy. Yes, you may go to work, but you both live in the house. It’s incredibly old-fashioned to expect the woman to do everything around the house, so pull your finger out.
Ask Her What She Wants
All women want different things. For example, I don’t overly like to be touched, e.g. I don’t like having my hair stroked or my hand being caressed. Ask her what it is she wants. Maybe she enjoys all that touchy-feely stuff. It’s always best to check, though!
Take An Interest
You’re both in this together, so try not just to let your partner get on with everything pregnancy-related on her own. Pick out the pushchair together, choose some baby names you like, help organise the nursery, make sure she has a baby shower.
An easy way to show that you are interested in the pregnancy is by downloading an app that tells you what to expect week by week. An App that Darren and I loved was Baby+. It’s free up to week 14, then after that, you’ll have to pay, but it’s only a couple of pounds. It tells you everything you need to know about pregnancy that week.
Go To The Antenatal Classes
This one is crucial. If you only do one thing on this list, make sure it’s this. The NHS offers Antenatal classes at around 30-32 weeks, and they really are beneficial and informative. They’ll tell you all about how to look after your baby, what to expect in labour, you’ll talk about making your birthing plan, and so much more.
These are great if you’re worried about birth and what to expect. They’ll take you through everything and should help to put your mind at ease.
Don’t Take It Personally
Please don’t take anything we say when we’re pregnant personally. We’re hormonal, tired, and in pain; we don’t mean to snap and definitely don’t mean what we say when we’re hungry.
Also, if we turn you down for sex, please don’t be upset. Have another read of the symptoms above. Would you want to have sex when you feel like that?
Let me make this clear, though, just because we are pregnant, it doesn’t mean that we can be utterly horrible to you and make unreasonable demands. If you think that we’re out of order, please don’t shout, but just let us know!
Look After Yourself
Don’t forget to look after yourself during this time as well. It’s a new and scary time for your partner, but also for you! Don’t put your needs to the side.
If you suffer from mental health issues, make sure that you continue to do whatever steps you would typically take to keep well. If you need some hints and tips, read 14 Ways To Look After Your Mental Health.
Speak to friends and family with kids if you’re nervous. Ask them for their advice.
Hopefully, you’ve found this little Survival Guide on how to be a supportive husband during pregnancy helpful, and you’ve picked up a few hints and tips.
Obviously, everyone is different, and everyone’s experience is different, but hopefully, it has given you a little insight into what you can expect during pregnancy. Now you just need to wait for the due date!
Next on the Survival Guide for Dads to be – Tips for dads during labour!
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Featured Image by Andrea Bertozzini on Unsplash