Pregnancy is a decidedly uneven process. Both of you may be expecting parents, but only one is actually carrying the baby as it develops (and going through the symptoms that come with pregnancy). Supporting your pregnant partner can provide some much-needed relief, in just about every aspect of your life together.
Your partner will spend more time in doctors’ offices, even during an uncomplicated pregnancy. It can be exciting to hear the baby’s heartbeat and see those little arms and legs wiggling on the ultrasound. It’s even better when you can be there to share the moment. You can also support your partner through less fun moments like blood draws and pelvic exams. Other medically-oriented ways to support your partner include:
- Research hospitals and schedule hospital tours
- Take the lead on enrolling in a prenatal class, and attend classes with your partner
- Educate yourself on the stages of labor and medical procedures that may arise during your baby’s birth
- Call your insurance provider to make sure you understand what’s covered, what’s not, and how to add your newborn to the plan
- Researching pediatricians
As you know, pregnancy involves significant physical changes. Each trimester may bring something new. As nausea fades, heartburn sets in. Fatigue can stick around the whole 9 months. You can’t tag in for a month of pregnancy, but you can certainly make your partner feel more comfortable.
- Offer a foot or calf rub. The extra weight and blood flow can make your partner’s feet and ankles to swell. A massage can feel amazing.
- Embrace the body pillow. Or, rather, let your partner embrace one. Better sleep for your partner means better sleep for everyone in the house.
- Take over the more labor-intensive (or smellier) household tasks. Vacuum, clean the cat box, and take the jobs that require harsh-smelling cleaners.
- Four words: Let her take naps.
Stepping up to support your partner emotionally can feel even better than a two-hour massage. Your partner may not know how to ask for reassurance or validation. Staying emotionally connected is good for both of you to keep the relationship strong:
- Ask how your partner is feeling. Do your best to listen to fears, worries, and concerns without judging them or jumping in too soon to try to fix them.
- Ask your partner to make a birth plan with you. Would certain types of music be soothing, or would your partner like to bring something special for comfort?
- Be open to different approaches to intimacy. Your partner may experience a lower (or higher) libido, and your go-to positions may not work quite the same way. (Need suggestions to change things up? We’ve got you covered.)
- Give your partner compliments. Go along on maternity clothing shopping trips, and do what you can to make your partner feel attractive.
One area that some partners don’t think to support is taking over more of the logistics of how to keep home life running smoothly. You may know offering to make dinner is a great gesture. It’s even better if you’re helping grocery shop, meal plan, and toss spoiled leftovers. Try these ways to take on some of the mental load:
- Keep a calendar of doctors’ appointments, baby showers, and other events
- Keep a running shopping list so you know when you’re out of something important (whether that’s toilet paper or your partner’s craving of the week)
- Take the lead on reviewing your savings and budget to determine how much family leave you can afford
- Make a list of what should go on the registry
- Go shopping with your partner to pick out items you need for the baby. You’ll probably need to be the one to take on tasks like painting the nursery and assembling the crib.