Top Pregnancy Advice for Expecting Dads
Pregnancy is a whole new chapter. For mom and dad. Every new parent goes through their own unique pregnancy journey. And while dads-to-be aren’t growing the little newcomer inside their belly, expectant fathers experience pregnancy in a totally different way.
There’s so much info out there geared at first-time-moms. So, we thought we’d mix things up a bit and chat with you about pregnancy advice… for dads!
We’re going to share ten top-tips for expecting dads that will help you stay afloat during those crazy nine months before the birth.
Ready. Set. Go!
1. Know your trimesters and what to expect
First thing’s first. Let’s make sure we’ve got the basics sorted. You’ve probably heard the word ‘trimester’ jostled around quite a lot. But what does it actually mean and what should you expect during the first, second, and third trimester of pregnancy? Top-tip number one is just that. Know your trimesters and what to expect during each one. Pregnancy is divided into three trimesters.
1st trimester – week 1 -12
2nd trimester – week 12-24
3rd trimester – week 24-40
Learning about the trimesters will help you track your partner and child’s developmental milestones. Not only is this fun, but it will help you both understand what’s going on inside mom’s tum and explain some of those bizarre pregnancy symptoms.
So, to help you brush up on your trimester knowledge, here’s our go-to book recommendation.
First Time Dad is the Pregnancy Handbook for Dads-To-Be by Steven Bell and Ava Burke. This book is going to tell you exactly what to expect for the next nine months, from the pregnancy test to the birthing room. You’ll find out everything you need to know about mom and baby.
2. Think about when you and your partner want to share the news
This is an important conversation that you’ll need to have with your partner. Figuring out when to tell friends and family the news that you are pregnant can be a little daunting. Some couples choose to let their nearest and dearest in on the news immediately. Others prefer to wait until the first scan (this usually takes place 12 weeks into the pregnancy).
The doctor will check the health of your baby and conduct antenatal screening tests for genetic conditions. The main reason that people wait to tell others until after the first scan is because the initial 12- week period is the most precarious time in a pregnancy.
Some couples simply prefer to keep their news private until they get the all clear from the doctor. There is no right or wrong answer. But we advise sitting down with your partner soon after finding out you’re expecting to discuss how you would both like to proceed.
Once the decision is made, all that’s left is to decide how you’re going to break the big news.
3. Help out your partner as much as humanly possible
Moms the word during pregnancy. But dads need to pull their weight just as much. You may not have a bun in the oven, but you’re an integral part of the bakery. So, help your partner out as much as possible. Take initiative and whip out the vacuum once in a while.
Get your chef hat on and cook up a storm. A really great thing that dads can do is to try and encourage healthy lifestyle choices. Healthy meals, plenty of water, folic acid for mom and a fix for all of those food cravings for good measure.
4. Seek advice. Ask once, ask twice, and ask again
Many of us don’t like asking for help. In fact, we’re pretty stinking bad at it. But as soon as you become a dad-to-be you’re going to have tons of questions. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help and advice. Speak to friends and family members who have had children of their own.
They will be able to share their experiences with you (the good and the bad) and offer tips to help you overcome those pregnancy obstacles. And, while you’re at it, don’t stop there. Why not attend some antenatal classes with your partner. Antenatal classes aren’t just for the moms. You’ll be able to meet other new parents and learn all the nitty gritty details about pregnancy, labor, and birth.
Here’s another book recommendation for you.
We’re Pregnant by Adrian Kulp is jam-packed full of fantastic advice for new parents. The book provides tons of actionable examples including all those must-ask questions for the doctor, milestone trackers, helpful tips and much, much more.
5. Get interactive and start bonding with your baby
Bonding with your baby doesn’t have to wait until the little one is out of the womb. You can get some dad time in early for extra points. Simply talking, reading, or singing to your baby bump is a great way to interact and bond with your bubba. Did you know that babies in the womb can actually hear during the second trimester? And, by the third they might even start recognizing your voice!
6. Try to attend as many doctors’ visits as you can
Accompany your partner to as many doctors’ checkups as you can. Not only will you be offering some much-needed support, but you’ll be able to learn a lot as well. This is when you get to see your child’s growth, development, and even hear their heartbeat. These are special moments not to be missed for mom and dad alike.
7. Develop a birth plan with your partner
If you’re going to follow any of the tips in this article (aside from the fact that you should definitely be following all of them) follow this one. Developing a preliminary birth plan with your partner is going to put you both at ease when labor comes-a-kickin.
Sit down with your partner and discuss the following.
- What type of birth does your partner want?
There are many options these days. Hospital birth, home birth, water birth, hypno-birth?
- Does your partner want a natural birth or a C-section?
- Does your partner want pain relief?
- What role will you play as the birth partner?
- How will you both educate yourselves before the birth?
- What items will you bring to the hospital (if applicable)?
For example, we often tell new parents to bring plenty of food to the hospital. Real food – not just processed snacks. You could be in there a long time and who wants to be gallivanting out in the rain looking for something to eat when you’re hungry and the contractions are hitting hard?
8. NEVER say the following
New dads – listen up!
This may be one of the most important life lessons you’ll ever learn.
Whatever you do, you must NEVER say this to your pregnant partner.
“I’m sure it’s not that bad”
If for some crazy reason you do decide to drop this bombshell on your partner, we take zero responsibility for what may follow.
9. Get all the essentials ready in advance
Get all of those baby essentials ready well in advance. If your partner is already in labor you’ve left it too late. Be prepared and anticipate everything you might need for labor, delivery, and those first weeks after leaving the hospital. We recommend purchasing the following items well ahead of time.
- Baby clothes – get tons of baby grows (they’re going to poop a lot more than you think)
- Car seat – you’ll need this to bring baby home from the hospital
- Food – whether you’re planning on breastfeeding or formula feeding it’s always good to have a bottle there in case you need it.
- Blankets and muslins – you’ll need plenty of blankets for swaddling and muslins for mopping up those baby dribbles
- Crib –your newborn is going to need to sleep somewhere
- Stroller & carrier – two newborn essentials. Once you start taking baby out and about these will become your best friend.
- Diapers – needless to say you’re going to need diapers. And lots of them.
10. Be there (and be prepared) for labor and delivery
The days when dads turned up after the baby’s been born are well and truly over. However nervous or squeamish you are about the birth; your partner is probably ten times more so. After all, she’s the one pushing a large living object out of her birth canal. So, get yourself together and make sure you’re there for the labor and delivery. If you’ve already discussed a birthing plan with your partner, this is going to be your go-to resource. In fact, it’s worth printing it out so you know its there when you need it. But remember, nothing ever goes completely according to plan. Part of birth is going with the flow and letting nature take its course.
Ready. Set. Go!
It’s happening. It’s really happening. You’re going to be a dad. Follow these ten top tips and you’ll be the best pregnancy partner there ever was. The key to a smooth pregnancy for dad and mom is support, organization, education, and advice. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and try to enjoy these amazing nine months.
Remember you and your partner get a real-life baby at the end of it!