How to Support an Expectant Father During Pregnancy
An expectant mother usually attracts most of the focus during pregnancy, as she is the one carrying the baby. The expectant father also needs support because he is also experiencing transition, and associated hopes and fears.
With the new baby’s birth, the father will move into a new and important role within the family. Providing support for the expectant father enables him to anticipate the birth positively and support the mother-to-be throughout the pregnancy.
5 Steps to Support an Expectant Father During Pregnancy
1. Include the father in the pregnancy as much as possible to help him avoid feeling left out or ignored.
Invite Daddy along to prenatal visits, plan the nursery together, read books about pregnancy and childbirth together, discuss names and exercise in tandem. The more you include the father in the pregnancy, the less likely he’ll begin to feel left out or even resentful of attention placed on you.
2. Talk about any negative feelings or situations that develop in conjunction with the pregnancy.
For example, you may have mood swings from hormones, irritability due to physical symptoms or fatigue from trouble sleeping. Fathers-to-be may also experience fears, anxiety or frustration in connection with the pregnancy.
It’s also normal for dads-to-be to have conflicting emotions about impending fatherhood, advises the KidsHealth website. By communicating about negative feelings, you can resolve issues and move forward.
3. Explore common situations during pregnancy that can frustrate an expectant father.
For example, pregnant women often act impulsively and emotionally in response to hormones and other physical symptoms. When an expectant father realizes this and even expects it, he can prepare himself to handle unpleasant pregnant behavior more effectively.
For example, during pregnancy, you may have low energy due to sleep disturbances. If the father-to-be offers to do the grocery shopping or walk the dog, his support can help develop a “team” approach to the pregnancy, with both of you helping each other and working together.
4. Encourage the father to spend time with other dads or dads-to-be to receive peer support.
By hanging out with other dads, he can hear stories and learn tips from fathers with parenting experience. Spending time with other expectant fathers can provide opportunities for camaraderie between dads who are experiencing similar situations with expectant partners.
5. Plan for labor and childbirth together as a team.
By including the father-to-be in childbirth preparation, you help educate him about the process so he knows what to expect. An educated expectant father is beneficial because he will have knowledge and understanding of the birth process.
A prepared father-to-be will be ready to fill the role of birth coach to support you during childbirth. Take childbirth classes as a couple, and read books about childbirth together. If possible, tour the hospital where you intend to give birth together so you both learn what to expect.
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