When a woman becomes pregnant, all of the focus tends to be on her. It makes sense, she’s building the baby and has to bring it into the world, but what about the dad?
He was there. He helped to make the baby, so why isn’t there more emphasis out there about how he can get through nine months of pregnancy?
Well dads, this one is for you! The pregnancy guide for men. What you really need to know about pregnancy and how to make it through.
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What Men Need to Understand About Pregnancy
First and foremost, you need to know that being pregnant sucks.
Being pregnant is an amazing thing. It’s the time in a woman’s life when she can fully understand and appreciate everything that her body was made to do. She is bringing a person into the world.
The problem with pregnancy, is that it also sucks. It is uncomfortable, stressful, and there are a million different hormones running rampant that make a woman feel a bit crazy. She’ll probably act a little crazy too.
When a woman becomes pregnant, it’s like the entire world shifts. Things that once mattered no longer do, and things that she never seemed to care about are now a life and death situation.
Trying to navigate all of that as an innocent bystander can definitely feel overwhelming at times.
The key is figuring out what your partner is going through so that you can actually help her rather than just drive her, and ultimately you, crazy.
Understanding Your Pregnant Wife
Though I know that not every man is married to the woman having his child, I’m going to say wife for simplicity sake. Just go with it.
Pregnancy is all about hormones.
There are different hormones that start working in your wife’s body the moment that her egg becomes fertilized.
Each hormone has a very important and specific job when it comes to the baby’s growth and development. Her body also shifts its focus from caring for her to caring for the baby.
I believe that it’s important for every expectant father to understand that concept.
A woman’s body will do everything in its power to protect the growing fetus inside of it. It will even go so far as to pull vitamins and nutrients out of her own bones and organs to supply the fetus with the elements that it needs.
The added hormones, and the body’s determination to provide for the baby, can definitely change the way that your wife handles daily activities.
It will be up to you to not only be there to support her during this time, but to also help her to stay grounded.
Becoming a mom is a major adjustment for any woman, she is likely to feel a little overwhelmed at times. It will be your job to help her see reason and to handle the crazy situations that life is throwing your way.
How to be a Supportive Husband During Pregnancy
Being supportive doesn’t just mean asking her how her day went. It goes beyond that.
It means going to all of the doctor appointments, going to all of the prenatal classes, doing extra things around the house, and paying attention to what is happening to your wife.
She is going through so much during the nine months that she is building your baby. There is no way for me to even begin to describe to you everything that will pass through her mind during that time.
Learning to expect the unexpected and just roll with the changes will make both of you so much happier and more relaxed.
Playing a larger role in all of those changes will not only benefit your wife, but they will also benefit you.
I can’t tell you have appreciative I was of my husband for actually going with me to all of the classes and appointments.
It meant that I didn’t have to explain things to him after the fact and risk forgetting something (mom brain is a real thing), and it also meant that he could have all of his questions answered as well.
Having him attend the prenatal classes also made him better prepared for childbirth.
He knew more about what I was expecting from him and we were able to have great conversations about what I wanted to happen without me having to explain to him what things like an episiotomy and continuous monitoring are.
The First Trimester
During the first trimester, your supportive role will start by listening to her.
Follow her lead in regards to when to tell people about the pregnancy. You do NOT want to be the one that spreads the news if she isn’t ready to tell people.
It is generally best to wait until after the first trimester is over to announce the pregnancy since the risk for miscarriage is so much greater earlier on.
During this time is when you should start introducing healthier habits into your lifestyle.
Help her break habits such as smoking, drinking, or taking drugs by not doing those things around her. Be the one that she can lean on when she’s struggling and her hormones are making her crazy.
Don’t be surprised either if her eating habits start to vary widely.
One day she may eat nothing, and the next day she might eat everything in sight.
The way that a woman handles morning sickness and pregnancy cravings are different for everyone.
For instance, I only wanted spicy food for the first few weeks, and then I wanted nothing but extremely bland food for the rest of my pregnancy.
It is different for every woman and every pregnancy. Just roll with it.
During the first trimester is also a great time to start reading up on pregnancy books. While there are thousands of options out there on the market geared towards women, getting one written specifically for men is also a great option.
My husband read The Expectant Father by Armin Brott. He absolutely hates to read, but he actually really enjoyed this book. I even read a good bit of it and found it very informative.
It is also written completely from the man’s perspective and is geared towards helping you fully understand everything that is happening during your wife’s pregnancy and how it will affect her, you, and your relationship.
It’s a great read.
The Second Trimester
By the time the second trimester rolls around, you will probably have announced the pregnancy to at the very minimum your family and friends.
Now is a great time to start preparing for your new baby by planning your baby registry and even taking prenatal and newborn classes.
Many hospitals will have classes available to take, but if you can’t make it to an in-person class, then I STRONGLY recommend that you take an online prenatal class.
I highly suggest the Prenatal Class for Couples by Pulling Curls. It’s taught by a labor and delivery nurse and covers everything you need to know about the birthing process in an easy to follow online course.
You can also go through the course as quickly or as slowly as you need. It makes it really easy for you and your wife to be able to learn about childbirth together.
In addition to a prenatal class, the second trimester is also a great time to take a breastfeeding course. If that is the route that your wife chooses to go, that is.
The online Breastfeeding Course by Milkology is a great alternative to an in-person course. It is also ridiculously cheap for the amount of information packed in it as well.
If your wife is considering breastfeeding, then taking a course is an absolute must.
The Third Trimester
By the third trimester, most of the big stuff should be taken care of, or at least planned out.
By the time the third trimester rolls around, your baby will be growing at a very quick rate and gaining about a half a pound to a pound a week.
All of that added strain is going to make your wife very tired and very uncomfortable. Figuring out how to feel better during pregnancy is an artform.
You can help with this by allowing her to rest as much as possible and by helping her to relieve some aches and pains that she may have.
One of the best ways for me to ease some of my lower back pain, was to sit with my knees on the floor and my upper body leaning on a yoga ball.
I would do this and allow my belly to just hang and pull some of the added pressure away from my spine.
In this position, I would also have my husband gently rub on my lower back to relax the muscles.
I cannot even begin to describe to you how great that felt.
If your wife begins having back pain, then something like that or even resting in a warm bath can really help to relieve some of the added pressure.
The Big Day
When the big day comes and your baby is ready to be born. Your main job is to NOT PANIC!
Labor is very aptly named. It is hard work and there will be times when she may not be able to focus on anything else except for the job that she is trying to perform.
It will be your job to remain calm and to help her get through it.
You will also need to be her advocate.
If she doesn’t want an epidural, then don’t allow the nurses to push it on her.
If she doesn’t want any family members in the delivery room, then become a bouncer for the day.
If she doesn’t want certain medications or measures performed, then don’t allow them to be pushed upon her unless absolutely necessary.
She needs to know that she can rely on you and that you will follow her wishes during the biggest moment of her life.
She will only be focusing on bringing your baby into the world, figuring out how to deal with pushy parents will be your job.
Important Things to Remember about Pregnancy
You’re important too.
I know that we’ve talked a lot about how you can help her, but it’s important to remember that this is your baby too.
Do not for one second think that you have it as hard as she does at any point in the process of raising a baby, but do remember that you are important and you still play a vital role in your baby’s upbringing.
Too often I see men taking the backseat to their wives when it comes to babies. And yes, while she does have a very strong opinion about how she wants things to do be done, that doesn’t mean that you can’t give your two cents too.
If you want something that your wife doesn’t, or vice versa, speak up. The baby is just as much yours as it is hers.
Be a part of the process, not just a spectator. Be there. She will appreciate it, eventually.
Summing Up the Pregnancy Guide for Men
If you got nothing else out of this post then the fact that you need to play a larger role in your wife’s pregnancy, then I will call this post a success.
Be there, be present. Go to the appointments and the classes and take an active part in what is going on.
Times have changed. No longer is it acceptable for fathers to just sit back and allow their wives to take care of the children. Show her that you understand that.
She will love and appreciate you all the more for making the effort. Though, the fact that you’re searching for ways to help on the internet is already a good sign.
How are you preparing for your new baby? Leave me a comment below or come join the conversation in our Facebook group.
Until next time!