A Father's Role During Pregnancy
Becoming a father for the first time can be an extremely overwhelming ordeal. Even if you have already gone through one or more pregnancies with a partner, you can still feel confused or even nervous about what role is expected of you as the father. Most importantly, you should be supportive of your partner throughout her pregnancy and take an active role in preparing for the new baby. However, some pregnant women may feel smothered by those who baby her, so it's important to give her space and even take space out for you. Communication is the number one aspect that can make pregnancy go well for both of you during this time.
Supporting Your Partner
Chances are, your partner will want to talk about the pregnancy and the baby a lot during these nine months. Your role is to listen to her and even engage in the conversation. She will be asking you questions, such as your opinion on baby names, nursery decorations and what kinds of baby accessories you should buy. Rather than avoid the topic, discuss the matter with her so that you can have your equal say and responsibility in the matter. The other topic she will probably discuss is how she is feeling during the pregnancy.
She might be experiencing morning sickness, migraines, back pain, swollen legs and feet and overall aches and pains. Listen to the types of pains she is having and be attentive to her needs, if this is something she enjoys. Take time out to rub her feet and legs or give her a scalp massage. You can also make her special meals that do not make her feel queasy. Sometimes it might just be crackers and soup, but it will mean a lot to her that you care about how she feels.
Be sure to attend her prenatal appointments with her. Share in the joy of seeing your baby on the ultrasound monitor and hearing the heartbeat of your unborn son or daughter. Hold her hand during the procedures and take an active role in asking questions with the OB/GYN, midwife, ultrasound technician and other prenatal specialists. This is your baby too, and your partner will feel happy to know you are just as excited and involved as she is. Become acquainted with prenatal information, such as how far along she is and learning about what she needs to do to prepare herself for labor and delivery. Be sure to communicate openly with her about how she'd like her labor to go and accommodate her during this process.
Preparing For The Birth Of Your Baby
During the actual labor, fathers can often feel scared and stressed. Chances are, the woman is already stressed and needs someone calm to help her through this process. You might want to consider a doula to assist with the labor and childbirth process, as long as this is something she also wants. The doula can help ease your burden of being her only means of comfort and support during a challenging time. This way, you can be there for her in a very supportive and active way, but can feel less stressful about it, which is beneficial for both of you. Before the actual special day, be sure to help her prepare her hospital bag and get the nursery ready. This way, the both of you can bring the baby home and spend time caring for the baby, rather than worrying about baby supplies. Volunteer to help her create the registry list so that some of the responsibility is taken off her shoulders and the actual feeling of being a father might start to feel more real.