Moms get the majority of the attention during pregnancy (and for good reason), but there are plenty of important ways for dads or non-birthing partners to get involved.
Step It Up at Home
You’re both tired at the end of the day, but she needs more help and rest. Fatigue is common throughout pregnancy even before you factor in morning sickness, heartburn, or an aching back. Be the one to cook or order dinner, run an extra load of laundry, or grab a broom.
Give Up Her Food Aversions
Whether you abstain from alcohol in solidarity with your pregnant partner is up to the two of you. The really critical dietary change to make is giving up anything that sends her running to the bathroom. Pregnancy supercharges her sense of smell. It’s entirely possible that she can detect a whiff of peanut butter on your breath from across the room, six hours after you had that PB&J. There is no sneaking anything past her nose, and the slightest hint of an aversion can make her stomach turn. Whatever the offending flavor is, do your very best to give it up until she’s feeling better.
Go to Prenatal Appointments
You don’t want to miss your first chance to hear the baby’s heartbeat or see your little one on the ultrasound. She’ll also appreciate a hand to hold during yet another blood draw. Attending as many of her doctor’s appointments as you can will give you opportunities to ask questions and learn more about what to expect in the coming weeks.
Appreciate Her Changing Body
Pregnancy involves a lot of physical changes, and they’re not limited to a growing baby bump. It’s easy to feel self-conscious during this time. Your opinion matters, so be liberal with compliments. Do your best to make her feel like a supermodel. It makes a huge difference on a day when she’s feeling especially uncomfortable.
Take that positive attitude into the bedroom, too. As her body changes, you both may feel shy or nervous at times about how to make sex work. Ask about any concerns at her doctor’s appointment (they’ve heard everything), and keep her physical and emotional comfort in mind.
Ask Her About Labor Preferences
Birth is kind of a big deal, especially for the person who has to either push a human out of their body or undergo major surgery to deliver. It’s normal if you’re nervous about how you can possibly support someone during such a major ordeal. The best way to learn how to help your partner best is to ask.
Make a list of things to say to coach your partner through a contraction, and show it to her beforehand. Would she rather hear “You’re a warrior” or “You’re my angel”? It’s always possible that she’ll change her mind in the moment, but she’ll appreciate you for listening.
You can do the same with other labor aids, like music. Do blissed-out, soothing melodies appeal, or does she want hard rock to pump her through a contraction? Does she want to primp a little before taking her first photo as a new mom? Does she want to call her parents herself, or would she rather you spread the word once the baby arrives? What code word means, “Please get everyone out of here”?
Just because you’re not carrying the baby doesn’t mean you’re confined to the sidelines. Taking an active role during your partner’s pregnancy is a great way to kick off your life as a parent.