Preparing For Your New Baby
While mom may be the one whose belly is growing, there are still lots of things for Dads to do during this exciting and sometimes confusing time.
- Be involved. Go with your partner to prenatal check-ups and ultrasounds appointments. Hearing your baby’s heartbeat or seeing your baby on an ultrasound can be exciting. It will give you the opportunity to ask medical professionals any questions you have about your developing baby and help you and your partner plan for labor and delivery.
- Learn. Watch videotapes, search the Internet, or read books about pregnancy, childbirth and being a parent. Attend childbirth classes together to learn about labor and delivery and how you can help your partner.
- Help plan for the baby. Talk to your partner about what you want for your baby and what kind of parents you want to be. Decide where the baby will sleep and fix up the baby’s room. Make a list of the things you will need for the baby and go shopping together.
- Help your partner stay healthy during the pregnancy:
- Help out more around the house. Take on the more difficult and strenuous household chores, particularly those that involve aerosol sprays and cleaning fluids. Inhaling these chemicals could be harmful to your pregnant partner and the baby. And if you have a cat, you should change the litter-box – and wash your hands thoroughly when done. Cat feces may carry an infection called toxoplasmosis which, if contracted by a pregnant woman, can cause severe damage to the fetus.
- Promote good nutrition. Encourage your partner to eat a balanced, nutritious diet and to take her prenatal vitamins. And watch what you eat, too! If you eat right, it will be easier for her to eat right too.
- Promote a healthy lifestyle. You and your partner should both avoid smoking, alcohol and drugs. Secondhand smoke can harm your partner and the baby and alcohol and drugs can cause birth defects.
- Exercise during pregnancy. Exercise is something that you can do together. Check with your partner’s doctor to find out the safest kinds of exercise.
- Get lots of rest and keep stress to a minimum. Studies show that women who experience a high stress level during pregnancy are more likely to have premature and/or low birth-weight babies.
- Be understanding. Pregnancy causes a lot of changes to a woman’s body and in how she feels. She may experience rapid mood swings that cause her to be happy one minute and sad the next. These are common during pregnancy and are caused by all the hormone changes in her body to support the pregnancy. And she may be tired a lot and need to rest more often. It is hard work to carry a new and growing life inside of her body. An understanding attitude from dad can make a big difference.
- Continue to have sex if you and your partner want to. Your partner’s desire for sex may change as her body changes. Many people find that sex feels different during pregnancy. And as the baby grows and her belly gets bigger, try different positions. Find one that’s comfortable for both of you. As long as your medical provider says it’s okay, it’s safe to have sex during pregnancy. It won’t hurt the baby.
- If your partner chooses to breastfeed, support her decision. Breast milk is the best food for your baby and has everything that your baby needs to grow and be healthy. Find out about breastfeeding together – talk to your doctor or nurse or attend breastfeeding classes together.
- Make a birth plan together. Learn about your options for labor and delivery, decide what you want to happen and then write it down in a birth plan. Share this information with your medical providers and the hospital so that labor and delivery will happen the way you want it to.
© 2010, Every Child Succeeds