Our top tips for how Dads-to-be can get involved with their partner's pregnancy too.
There was a time when toasting baby's arrival with a stiff drink and a cigar was as near as fathers got to being involved in their partner's pregnancy. Thankfully times have changed and dads-to-be are encouraged to be as involved as possible with their baby's arrival into the world. Having said this, the prospect of becoming a father can still be incredibly daunting, especially as dads-to-be are often left to get on with things while expectant mothers are showered with attention and support.
Having a baby is just as life-changing an experience for a new dad as it is for a new mum and while you can't have the baby for your partner, being as involved as possible with her pregnancy can really help you to adjust to this new chapter of your life. We share our top tips for a dad-to-be....
If you're a dad (or mum) -to-be with questions, visit the AskBaby Forums and find advice, support and friendship from other expectant and more experienced parents
- Get educated - Reading up on pregnancy will give you a much better idea of what to expect in terms of how your partner is feeling and how your baby is developing. Knowing how many weeks old your baby is and what this means can really give you a sense of involvement even though you're not experiencing the pregnancy yourself.
- See the doctor - Providing your partner is willing it's great idea to go to as many doctor and hospital appointments with her as possible. Hearing your baby's heartbeat for the first time or seeing him or her on an ultrasound is an experience not to be missed.
- Take classes -Taking antenatal classes with your partner will help you learn how to support her during pregnancy, at the birth and once your baby arrives. After you've learnt how, practicing breathing exercises and birth positions together is something that will really help both of you to prepare for the big day.
- Make plans - Talking names, nurseries and childcare with your partner will not only earn you brownie points but will also mean you get a say in whether you're going to be dad to a Jessica or a Jesobella, a working, or stay at home parent and pacing a baby pink or luminous yellow room at 4 in the morning.
- Be supportive - Especially in the early months you may be the only person your partner can talk to about how wretched/tired/gaseous she's feeling. Difficult as it may be try your best to be supportive even if she's turned into a hormonal monster - remember you only have to hear about it, she's the one experiencing it. Sympathy and a back rub will go a long way!
- Get ready for the birth - While no birth can be planned down to the last detail, discussing your partners wishes and putting them on paper is a very good idea. Figure out how involved she wants you to be, what kind of pain relief she wants, where she wants to give birth and any other special requirements she may have. When she goes into labour you're going to have to be assertive for her and being prepared with a birth plan makes this a whole lot easier.
- Bond with your baby - Your baby will develop the ability to hear in utero from about 5 months and will learn to recognise your own and your partner's voices. If you feel comfortable doing so it can be great to talk to your partner's bump as this provides a great opportunity to bond with your baby before birth. If this isn't for you, sitting with your hands on your partner's tummy while you watch TV or chill out means that you're more likely to feel your baby's much anticipated kicks.
- Clean up your act - Chances are that your partner gave up smoking, drinking and as much junk food as possible when she found out she was expecting. Why not take this opportunity to get healthy too? Cutting down on drinking, smoking and takeaways will save some much needed cash and put your body in a better position to deal with the lack of sleep you're going to be getting once your baby arrives.
- Get shopping - While cutesy baby outfits may not be your thing, the latest baby gadgets might. Choosing car seats, baby monitors and buggies will get you involved in preparing for your baby's arrival and can actually be surprisingly entertaining.
- Visit the hospital - Its a really good idea to visit the hosptial and maternity ward where your partner is due to give birth before the big day. This not only lets you plan the route, figure out where to park and know how much change you'll need to hand but will also give you the opportunity to view the facilities available and get a good idea of what your partner will need to make herself feel comfortable. As your partner approaches full term its a good idea to keep enough petrol in the car to make it to the hospital and the car seat on board at the ready.