As you might know, pregnancy for partners won’t be the same as it will be for expectant moms, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work together. You may not experience nausea, but you can help your partner by bringing her crackers and a soothing smoothie. You won’t have to deal with aching feet, but you can give her foot rubs to help ease the pain. Read on to find out more about how you can support your partner during pregnancy.
The first trimester can be tough. Your partner will likely often feel exhausted and sick. Here are some things you can do to help her feel better:
Morning sickness is a misleading term, as it’s common for expectant moms to feel queasy the whole day. An empty stomach can trigger nausea, so make sure she has healthy snacks on the nightstand that she can nibble on when she wakes up. If she’s having a hard time eating full meals, keep quick, easy-to-digest foods on hand, such as smoothies, crackers, whole grain toast, or hard cheese.
- Heightened sense of smell
At this stage, any offending odor can send your partner running to the bathroom. Consider ditching the cologne or perfume and putting away any sweaty clothes that she might sniff out. If you’re a smoker, you’ll want to give up the habit as second-hand smoke is bad for the health expectant moms and babies, plus she’ll likely have an aversion to the smoke odor.
- Food aversions
You might have noticed that your partner is experiencing more food aversions. If she’s having a hard time stomaching things like lettuce or broccoli, switch them out for other healthy food that she eats with ease such as bell peppers, mangoes, and melons. The key is to be flexible without compromising on the nutritional needs of the mom-to-be and baby.
- Doctor’s appointments
Your partner will be going to the doctor regularly for prenatal checkups right up until she gives birth. Whenever possible, accompany her on some (if not all) of these appointments. It’s important that you’re there for her, not only for emotional support, but also to get much-needed insight into the changes taking place in her body. Best of all, you’ll get to experience all those joyous milestones with her.
- Picking baby names
The second trimester is a great stage to start brainstorming baby names. Go through the alphabet and throw around as many possibilities as you can. It might also be worth considering using family names. If you can’t decide on a name, you can simply wait until the baby is born.
- Talk about fears and anxieties
You may notice that your moods (along with your partner’s) go up and down during this time - you’re probably feeling conflicting emotions, from anticipation (“I can’t wait to meet him/her!”) to self-doubt (“I don’t know the first thing about babies!”). Talk about all these feelings with your partner and try to work through them together.
- Shopping for baby items
Many parents-to-be choose to wait until after the 20-week scan to start buying baby items, as this is when you can find out the sex of the baby if you choose to do so. It might be helpful to compile a baby registry list with all of the essentials you will need so that you can keep track of what you’re buying. Some of the essentials you and your partner should shop for include:
- Baby outfits
- Diaper bag
- Baby care essentials - diapers, wipes, shampoo, baby oil/lotion, and baby bubble bath
- Nursing bras
- Help her get comfortable
You may find that your partner has a hard time sleeping during this stage. Surprise her with a full body pillow that will allow her to get comfortable and hopefully drift off to sleep.
As your partner’s bump continues to get bigger, the skin stretches and becomes dry, which can make her feel itchy and generally uncomfortable. Scratching won’t offer any relief, so jump in and rub some coconut oil, shea butter, or any other of her favorite oils/creams all over her belly to soothe the itchiness.
- Get informed on labor and delivery
As the second trimester progresses, you might start to wonder how you’ll handle labor and delivery. To make the whole process less scary, read up on it during this time and also take a tour of the hospital where you plan to have the baby. It might also help to talk to other people who have recently become parents to get more insight.
- Sign up for a childbirth class
If you haven’t already, make a point of signing up for childbirth class. You can do this by contacting the hospital where your partner will have the baby and enroll in one. It might also be a good idea to discuss a birth plan with your partner - what positions is she comfortable laboring in, does she want an epidural, is a home birth an option? Keep in mind that she’s in charge, but if she wants your opinion, weigh in diplomatically. Print out several copies of the birth plan and have her give one to her practitioner.
- Pack your hospital bag
It’s never too early to pack your hospital bag together. Your partner likely knows what she needs, but she might forget some items in her excitement and nervousness at this stage. Talk about what personal items she wants to take with her, and double-check to make sure that you have everything in the bag. You may also want to pack some items for yourself especially if you’ll be staying in the hospital or birthing center for more than a day.
- Consider taking some time off work
If you haven’t done so already, talk to your boss. Mention that you need some time off or at least some flexibility that allows you to run out without much warning in case your partner goes into labor while at work. You may also want to negotiate for some post-deliver time off that will allow you to help out with the newborn.
Pregnancy can seem like it’s all about the mom, but it is crucial for dads to be part of the experience as well. Of course, only the mom can experience the physical aspects of pregnancy, but there is more to pregnancy than just the physical part. As a dad-to-be, you need to be supportive in whatever way you can in that particular moment.