Roles of dad-to-be during pregnancy
It is a special feeling for both the mother and the father to have a baby. Almost all expectant couples participate actively in helping each other throughout the phase of pregnancy. The woman carries the baby so the expectant father may feel detached, as he does not know what his role is during this period. The role of the to-be- dad during the pregnancy and in preparing for the baby’s arrival is important. There are many ways in which a man can prepare himself for his fatherhood.
The Role of the Dad-to-be
Initial Stages of Pregnancy:
- It is essential to spend some quality time with your partner and from time to time ask her how she is feeling; this is a great way of showing support and building strong bonds.
- Being an expectant father, the closer you are to your partner, the more you’ll be able to experience the beautiful moments during pregnancy.
- Learn about the different phases of pregnancy to understand what a woman and the baby go through and to help her go through such time.
- Avoid things such as certain food items or smells that makes your partner feel nauseated
- Understand that in the initial stages the expectant mothers feel tired and exhausted, so give her as much rest as you can.
- Mood swings for a pregnant woman are very common so don’t get irritated and adjust accordingly.
- Energy Level of the pregnant lady goes down for at least 14 weeks and then slowly energy returns, so you might want to take extra care of her and provide her special treatment.
Later Weeks of Pregnancy:
- Towards the end of gestation (around 27–40 weeks), the tiredness and irritability often returns and because of the massive baby bump the mother may feel frightened or tensed.
- Spend as much time as you can because she can feel lonely and bored at times especially if she’s a working woman.
- Your partner may sometimes feel anxious or depressed, encourage her to talk to anyone she feels comfortable with.
- Be patient with her; learn to support each other so that your relationship grows stronger when the baby arrives.
Practical support or help:
It is the time to start sharing the housework load. There are two activities, where you can be helpful:
- Cooking — in the early months the smell of food may put her off, and if you cook she will have it anyway.
- Carrying things — carrying can put a lot of strain on her back, so do the shopping yourself or together.
- Let your partner know she’s not alone. The basic health advice is valuable.
- Eating well is easier when you’re doing it together — start picking up healthy food habits you’ll want your child to follow the same, and make sure you know what type of foods to avoid in pregnancy.
- Cigarette smoke is dangerous during pregnancy, so if you’re a smoker, get advice on how to quit — if you continue to smoke, don’t smoke near your partner, don’t offer her cigarettes.
- Go with your partner to visit the doctor if she’s worried, or be sure to talk it through when she gets home to be there if she has a pregnancy ultrasound scan and sees your growing baby on the screen — if she needs to have extra tests, your support is especially important.
Screening Tests in Pregnancy
- You may be asked to get your blood tests done as well.
- This is to check whether your baby is at risk of having any inherited or genetic condition, such as sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia or cystic fibrosis. You’ll also be asked about your family history and origin because certain inherited conditions are more common depending on family history.
Antenatal Classes and Labour:
- Most people stay with their partner during labour, but it’s important that you’re both happy about this. Find out what happens in labour and what’s involved in being her birth partner.
- If you prefer not to be present, talk to your partner and listen to how she feels.
- Talk about what you both expect in labour, and talk about the birth plan. Fill it in together so that you can report what she wants and how you can help her achieve it.
- Support her if she feels nervous during labour. Be flexible — the health of your partner and the baby is the most important thing, so sometimes you have to change birth plans have to change.
- Be prepared for the birth.