August 31, 2022
Pregnancy for the Dad - What You Need to Know
Written By: Lexi C
You're having a baby!
Well, technically, your partner is the one having a baby. But just because you aren't growing that new little person in your body doesn't mean you don't play a significant role in the pregnancy. Parenting is a team effort, so now isn't the time to sit on the sidelines. Get in the game! Not sure where to start? Check out our Pregnancy Playbook, a guide to help you support your partner like the MVP she is.
Teamwork is not only the backbone of every successful sports team; it is an essential part of parenting. There is no denying that carrying your baby elevates your partner to automatic MVP status. But behind every MVP is a solid team and support staff that helped them get to where they are.
As your partner battles her way through the pregnancy gauntlet, she will be dealing with a host of pregnancy body changes, morning sickness, and fatigue (to name a few)! Here we've laid out five vital roles you can step into throughout this season to support your tiny new team.
This is the most important of the roles. An effective coach creates an emotionally and physically safe environment for their team. On this team, it's your job to be there for your partner, emotionally and physically. Go with her to as many checkups as possible. Be with her for ultrasound scans. Attend prenatal classes with her and support her in anything else she decides to do to prepare for your baby's arrival.
Keys components of all-star coaching:
Communicate - Encourage frequent huddles. Listen to your partner and be open and honest about your feelings. This is all new for both of you, and you may have some of the same concerns about becoming new parents. Frequent open communication strengthens your bond and helps you support each other now and in the days (and years) ahead.
Assess - Check in on your partner and see how she is doing. Ask questions to understand your partner's pregnancy needs and wishes for the birth plan. Having a good grasp on the "why" of her wants can help you better evaluate situations and be her advocate during pregnancy and birth.
Encourage - Being pregnant is hard. Amidst pregnancy body changes and hormones that are all over the place, there are many times your partner will NOT feel her best - mentally or emotionally. Tell her she and the work her body is doing is beautiful. Remind her how proud you are of her and how much you love her.
Plan - Plan for what the days ahead look like, mentally and financially.
Getting needed support in place for when you return home from the hospital (meals, night nurse, babysitters) will pay dividends in reducing stress for both of you. Also...remember that these are the last few months that it will be just the two of you! So, go on dates, take a babymoon, make some memories and enjoy these last few baby-free days!
Adapt - No matter how much you plan, things will inevitably change. Learning to roll with those changes is one of the most essential parts of being a parent. Be intentional when considering alternate plans so if (and when) Plan A goes awry, you can make a cool, calm pivot without even having to glance at the playbook.
Additional Supporting Roles
Reducing stress and helping your partner relax and get good sleep is vital for a happy, healthy pregnancy. Give your partner a foot massage or schedule a prenatal massage for her. Run her a bath, light candles, help her get comfortable...and embrace the pillows. Yes, all 23 of them.
Three words. ALL. THE. SNACKS.
In all seriousness, your partner has likely made several lifestyle changes since finding out she is pregnant. Now is an excellent time to support those changes by instilling a few of your own. Do the grocery shopping, prepare healthy meals, or enlist a meal plan delivery service so eating well is easy for both of you. Bonus points for swapping out your after-dinner cocktail for an after-dinner stroll with your mamma-to-be.
And then...go get the snacks. :)
There may be moments when your partner is a whirlwind of activity (I'm looking at you, 2nd Trimester). But there also will be days (and most likely many) when she barely has the energy to get dressed. Help support your partner during bouts of fatigue by helping around the house...without her having to ask. Assemble the nursery furniture, wash the dishes, and do some laundry. Knowing things are being taken care of while she gets some much-needed rest will boost your bond and remind her what a fantastic Dad you're going to be.
Do your research. Beyond searching the internet and reading books ( please do read the books, especially if your partner asks you to!), research what paternity benefits your company may offer. Talk to your friends who have kids about what to expect with pregnancy, birth, and parenthood. The more invested you are in your research, the more connected you will feel to the process, your partner, and your soon-to-be
Rookie of The Year.
Most importantly, remember this, pregnancy is only one season.
Go out there and make the best of it.