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Dads-to-be and pregnancy – how to involve your partner

How to help dads-to-be take an active role in your pregnancy

Posted: 11 April 2011
by Kyrsty Hazell

Expert tips on how dads-to-be can be more hands-on during their partner's pregnancy
Expert tips on how dads-to-be can be more hands-on during their partner's pregnancy

Pregnancy can be an overwhelming time not just for mums-to-be, but for dads-to-be too. For you as a mum-to-be, you are probably constantly aware of what’s happening and feel connected to your unborn baby already. From dads-to-be, there isn’t such an all-present physical link.

So to help your partner feel more involved in your pregnancy, we’ve spoken to the experts to find out what helpful (and simple!) things you can both do.

Go to antenatal appointments and classes together

“Accompanying you to as many antenatal check ups as he can is really important,” says midwife Mary Steen, from Pampers Village Parenting Expert Panel. “There is some flexibility around appointment times, so he can check that appointments fits in with work commitments.”

By your partner going to these vital appointments together, it will help you prepare for what’s coming together.

And just because you’re the one who is pregnant, doesn’t mean that your partner can’t bond with your baby before it’s born. “Try and attend the scans at the 12 to 14 week mark and the 18 to 20-week mark together. The ultrasounds will help you both visualise your unborn baby and start the bonding process,” says midwife Mary.

“Going to antenatal classes together is a great place where you can both be listened to, plus he’ll also meet other dads-to-be, who’ll have the same fear and excitement,” says midwife Janine, from Birth Basics.

Overlook the pregnancy mood swings and bond with touch

“Partners should go with the demands and mood swings of their pregnant partners and remember it’s the hormones talking – tell him not to take it personally!” says midwife Janine.

Midwife Mary Steen also advises dads-to-be to get physical when it comes to making their pregnant partners feel better during the hormone-fuelled days.

“Pregnancy can be a very emotional time for many women and some can feel insecure and frustrated, especially if they feel tired and uncomfortable. Touch is a very powerful sense and conveys the message of care, so remember to give her plenty of kisses and cuddles,” says Mary. “Place your hands over your partner’s tummy and be as hands on as possible,” she says.

Midwife Janine backs up this sentiment.  “Love her new body shape and make her feel wonderful, beautiful, sexy and amazing,” she says. 

Help around the house

“As pregnant women are advised to take it easy, especially during the later stages of pregnancy, the little everyday duties, which might prove more difficult to tackle, are great things for your partner to help with,” says midwife Janine.

Baby and birth consultant Margarita Atieh has this advice for dads-to-be: “Offer to take over or reduce the load in cleaning duties around the house. Seeing as many household products are deemed unsafe for mums-to-be anyway, this should be your duty.”

And don’t forget the pet duty either! “If you have pets – take on the cat or dog duty! Walk the animals, make sure they are fed.”

Margarita also suggests dads-to-be stock-up the house with the large and heavy food items to take the pressure off straight after birth.

Research and plan together - and talk!

“Help plan for your baby together. Save and plan a budget for your impending arrival. This way, he’ll feel more involved in something that doesn’t include the pregnancy part,” says Margarita.

It’s also important to get clued up whilst you’ve still got the time! For dads-to-be, Mary says, “Surf the net and find useful websites about pregnancy, labour, birth and baby care. This will help you understand the technicalities of pregnancy, plus get you prepared for what’s coming.”

Becoming parents for the first time can feel overwhelming, which is why it’s important to share your fears and excitement with each other.

“Talk to each other – your life is changing and it can be easy to get upset if you keep it to yourself,” says midwife Janine.

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