Even though you’re overjoyed to be a dad, why are you feeling emotionally spent?
It is not only important for the mother to have dad’s involved with the pregnancy, but it’s also incredibly rewarding for the dad and baby.
Fathers who become much more involved during their partner's pregnancy can contribute to a much happier and healthier pregnancy for everyone involved. Fathers can offer emotional support -- but can also gain many benefits themselves.
Almost all pregnant women experience rapid changes in their bodies and their emotional state of mind. Having a partner who is available to provide emotional support and understanding, makes a huge difference in the life of a pregnant woman.
10 Ways Dad’s Can Offer Emotional Support
1. Go with your partner to her preconception and prenatal visits. The health care provider will also need to know your medical history. Get to know the people who will be taking care of your partner and baby during the pregnancy.
2. Watch, listen and read. Watch videotapes, listen to audiotapes, check out the Internet, or read books about pregnancy, childbirth and being a parent.
3. Help plan for the baby. Talk to your partner about what you both want for the baby. Decide where the baby will sleep, and make that part of your home colorful and welcoming for the baby.
4. Go to childbirth education classes with your partner. You will learn how to help your partner during labor and delivery.
5. Help your partner stay healthy during pregnancy. Help her eat lots of different healthy foods. Good choices include whole grain breads, cereal, rice and pasta; skim or low-fat milk, cheese and yogurt; low-fat meat and chicken; and lots of fruits and vegetables. Dad, be sure to also watch what you eat! If you eat right, you'll make it easier for her.
6. Encourage her to exercise. Exercise is a great thing you can do together. Walking is easy and cheap, and it can be done almost anywhere. Check with your partner's health care provider to find out the safest kinds of exercise you can do together.
7. Help your partner get rest and lower her stress. Letting your partner rest when she needs to is good for her and the baby. You can help by cleaning up, shopping for groceries and making meals. Taking a nap or cuddling together is always relaxing, as well as rubbing her feet and talking together about your hopes and plans for the baby’s arrival.
8. Engaging in sex is okay if you and your partner want to indulge. Your partner may want to have more sex or less sex than before she was pregnant. Her desire for sex may change as her body changes. Many people find that sex feels different during pregnancy. Remember, as long as your health care provider says it's okay, it's safe to have sex during pregnancy -- it won't hurt the baby.
9. Support your partner's decision to breastfeed. Breast milk is the best food for your baby. It has everything that your baby needs to grow and be healthy. Find out about breastfeeding together by talking to your doctor, midwife or nurse.
10. Keep things running smoothly. By helping to ensure small things don't fall by the wayside, you will make the household a much happier place.