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The expectant father’s guide to pregnancy…
A pregnant woman is not the only one who’s expecting – there are two of you working on this particular home improvement project, and you’re in it together. So while you may not know what to do in every (hormonal) situation, just being there to listen helps her out a lot. ~WhatToExpect
Section 1. What To Expect Dad Edition
You can expect to…
1) Help Prepare The Nest
When people talk about the changes that happen in pregnancy, they tend to say a lot about changes in the mother’s body and her moods. Less tends to be said about changes in your home, which may interest you just as much as your pregnant partner’s swelling bosom.
Assuming that you have been living together for at least a little while, you’ve settled into a domestic routine. “Expect that things she used to do are no longer easy for her to do; and even if she’s willing, she won’t be able to do as much,” Paul Woods, MD, a family doctor (and father of four) in Hibbing, Minn., tells WebMD. “You’ll willingly need to step up to the plate and do more things around the house than ever before.” ~Martin Downs, WebMD
2) Listen To Her Ever-Changing Mind
She will want to use a birthing center. She will want a midwife. She will want a doctor. She will not want an epidural. She will scream for an epidural. Cesareans will sound great; they will sound awful. Agree with her always. ~FitPregnancy
3) Pack Yourself A Hospital Bag Too
Sure, mom needs her hospital bag — but you need one, too. Fill it with gear like a razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, iPod or iPad, camera, extra batteries, magazines or books to read and cards to play with Mom during labor (if she’s game, of course). And don’t wait till the last minute — have your bag stocked several weeks before the baby is due in case you need to rush out the door. (Not likely, but it happens.) And while you’re at it, get a few surprises to put in her bag: Some fancy towelettes she can use to wash her face when she wakes up in the recovery room, new slippers or a robe to wear in the hospital. Oh, and chocolate. ~WhatToExpect
4) Choose a Wingman And Get More Organized
Dad is often in charge of texting, tweeting and otherwise bragging about the big news when baby makes his debut, so get organized now. Talk to your partner and make a must-contact list with your family and friends’ email addresses and cell phone numbers. If an email blast or Facebook post isn’t your style, recruit a pal to help you spread the news over the phone (that’s a call everyone loves to make!). And on that note, make sure to involve her in these decisions, too. Some moms would love an Instagram of themselves and new baby just after birth; some would rather the world never, ever see them without makeup. Make the plan together and share the joy of sharing the joy. ~WhatToExpect
5) Engage Her Pregnancy As If You Were Pregnant
- Do read a book about becoming a new father and childbirth.
- Do clean the house on occasion.
- Do make sure she’s taking time out for herself.
- Do help her write the birth plan, because you care.
- Do take a prenatal yoga class with her (and look cool and hip at the same time, as you rock a “REAL DADS DO YOGA” tee by Maman Jolie) She will love that you’re feeling the flow and Going with your Glow, right along with her.
- Do stock up on diapers the next time you hit the store for a case of beer (Dads, this purchasing pattern has been followed for many years, and stores even strategically stock diapers at the end of the beer aisle now to make it that much easier for you).
- Do remember that this is your child too and your opinion is important!
Basically, stay active, present and on the same page with her. She wants you to be engaged even if you both disagree now and again. ~mamanjolie
6) Be A Co-Parent, Not a “backup parent.”
You’re a full, equal partner in turning a small, fragile sack of fluid and bones into a loving, decent, healthy citizen of the Universe. Never let the fact that other people aren’t sure what to do with a man between conception and Little League fool you into thinking that you’re anything less than critical to every step of the process. Be informed, aggressively involved and as in love as you’re capable of letting yourself be. ~TheBump
You can expect the need for extra patience when it comes to your partner and yourself. If you are first time dad, this is all new, so breathe it all and know that you can also expect… to love your partner, and this new little person that is coming into the world, more than you ever thought possible!
Leave your bits of wisdom and encouragement for Dads-To-Be in the comments!
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