Congratulations to all the soon-to-be fathers on your upcoming bundle of joy! Although the women carry the child for nine months, the role of fathers during pregnancy is equally important. The truth is that fathers play a significant role as well. Not only after the baby is born, but also during pregnancy.
Do not worry, it might be a little nerve wrecking, but a father shares an equal responsibility in preparing for the baby to arrive, and there are numerous ways to prepare for fatherhood. Here is what you need to do!
1. Be a good support
Pregnancy is difficult, and the most important thing a father can do during this tough period is to be SUPPORTIVE. You can help by accompanying your partner to prenatal checkups such as ultrasounds and appointments. It may be frightening and difficult for fathers to bond with something they cannot see or feel, but caring about the baby and seeing it in ultrasound implies a greater approach and connection. Accompanying your partner also indicates a great deal of support for women, as this is a stage in their lives when they need to feel accompanied. Women who have supportive partners have fewer pregnancy complications. Similarly, for these women, the process of giving birth, labour, and delivery is usually shorter and easier. As a result, be a good and supportive husband to your wife and child. When a father has a positive attitude towards the pregnancy and looks forward to it, it has a positive impact on both the parents and the baby.
2. Prepare for the baby’s arrival
It is just as important for dads to be emotionally prepared as it is for moms when having a baby. Dads have nine months to read about babies and what to expect, especially if being around young children is a new experience for them. Participate in all aspects of the pregnancy, such as buying the baby's clothes together, preparing the hospital bag, selecting the baby's first toys, shopping for baby items, helping to paint or decorate the baby's room, setting up the crib, discussing names, and so on. The more involved you are in the process, the more you will feel you are a part of it. When you are well prepared, it is the most satisfying parts for both the father and the mother.
4. Stay healthy together
During a pregnancy, it is also important to consider one's health. You can help your pregnant partner's and baby's health by cooking and eating healthy meals and exercising together, such as taking walks or doing yoga, throughout the pregnancy. Remember to make healthy lifestyle changes for yourself as well. If you smoke, work on quitting. If you are overweight, improve your diet and exercise routine. If you have mental health issues or an addiction, work on them and seek the support and assistance you require. You must give your all to your partner and your child. Focus on staying healthy as a family by eating healthy, exercising regularly.
5. Try a class for expectant parents.
Being a first-time father is a challenging task. You can attend expecting parent classes during your wife's pregnancy. Going to a prenatal class will help you prepare for parenting by learning how to diaper change, feed, play, keep your baby healthy and safe, and cover strategies for co-parenting with moms. Prenatal classes will also provide you with the tools and knowledge that you will not always be able to obtain from friends' stories or from reading a book. While classes cannot completely prepare you and your wife for the event, they can provide invaluable first-hand experience and education during your partner’s pregnancy journey.
Overall, every soon-to-be father should be involved in pregnancies. Determine what works best for you and your family. Celebrate your abilities and strive to achieve as many key milestones as possible. And do not be too hard on yourself for your limitations. Dad is not only the woman's supporter, but also the protagonist. He should and can be involved in both the pregnancy and the parenting process. Fatherhood, like motherhood, begins before birth.
- Role of the father-to-be in a healthy pregnancy (2021) HealthHub. Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/1002/pregnancy-role-of-the-father-to-be (Accessed: February 10, 2023).
- Anne Whitworth, M.D. (2021) What's a dad to do? advice for dad's role during pregnancy, delivery and beyond., St. Luke's Birthing Center. Available at: https://baby.slhduluth.com/whats-dad-advice-dads-role-pregnancy-delivery-beyond/ (Accessed: February 10, 2023).
- Garzón, I. (2022) Dad's role during the pregnancy, BellyBelly. Available at: https://www.bellybelly.com.au/pregnancy/dads-role-during-the-pregnancy/ (Accessed: February 10, 2023).