Becoming a Dad
The joys of pregnancy can also be shared – with your spouse and close friends, for example. For the spouse, the thought of being a dad for the first time can be daunting, but it should also be fun.
There's nothing like finding out you're going to be a dad to turn your world upside down. It's normal to have all sorts of conflicting feelings – you may feel excited and nervous at the same time. You may worry about what kind of dad you'll be or how you'll manage financially. Talk to other dads you know. Remember that millions of men have become dads before – and survived!
Try to go along to antenatal appointments and help your partner write a birth plan. If she's stopped smoking try to quit too, and plan a healthy diet together.
You will quickly find out that many of your questions can be answered in the wealth of material on the internet. You could also pick up one of those pregnancy books on her side of the bed now and again and have a leaf through. Try to go along to antenatal classes too – you'll find plenty of other nervous dads-to-be there to share notes with.
Try To Be Understanding
Your partner's mood swings, pregnancy symptoms and weird food cravings may make life difficult for you at times, but imagine how she feels! Be patient and make time to talk so that you know what is going on for her and vice versa.
Be a Domestic God
What with morning sickness, fatigue and, later in pregnancy, a huge bump to contend with, your partner would probably appreciate some extra help around the house. Taking on a bigger chunk of the chores will give her the chance to get some much-needed rest.
Your Sex Life
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, sex is perfectly safe during pregnancy. Your partner may not feel very sexy early on so you'll need to show patience and sensitivity. You might find her libido picks up once morning sickness and tiredness pass. As pregnancy progresses, many dads-to-be also don't feel comfortable having sex, particularly in the later stages – don't worry this is perfectly normal.
Being a Birth Partner
The best way to prepare for being a birth partner is to go to antenatal classes. There you'll learn lots of different ways to support your partner by, for example, offering her drinks, massaging her and helping her to change positions. She'll probably appreciate some comforting words as the contractions get stronger as well as reminders about relaxation and breathing techniques you have learned. Make sure you help to write the birth plan too, so that you can talk to doctors on her behalf if necessary.
After The Birth
Mum and child tend to get all the attention in the early days after birth, so try not to feel left out. Roll your sleeves up and get stuck into nappy changing and soothing your baby when they cry. Try to keep things ticking over on the domestic front so that your partner can get plenty of rest. You'll also need to act as a gatekeeper for visitors so that your partner doesn't get overtired. Accept all offers of food or practical help and enjoy this crazy, sleep-deprived time – it will be over sooner than you know.
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