Tips for dads: Ready for fatherhood?

Learn how soon-to-be dads can help throughout a pregnancy

Young couple, who is expecting a baby, assembling a baby crib in their living room.

Becoming a parent is a joyous event in both of your lives. Sometimes, dads can feel there is nothing for them to do until the baby arrives, but that’s not true. As a soon-to-be father, you can learn, discuss and do a number of things before your partner goes into labor.

Ryan Becker, M.D., practices family medicine and obstetrics at Sanford Sheldon Clinic in Sheldon, Iowa.

“Becoming a father can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding things a man can experience in his life,” he said. “Embrace the process with your partner by supporting her and helping whenever you can, but also take care of yourself by continuing to exercise and eat healthy. Before you know it, the long days and sleepless nights will soon be forgotten. Have fun!”

Communication

Talking to each other is an important part of any good relationship and listening is as important as talking. Different personality types and different sexes may communicate differently – and so may pregnant women! If things are bothering you and you are not talking about them, misunderstandings, anger and guilt can result. Let your partner know when you need to talk and tell each other what you need. Don’t expect your partner to read your mind. Be open. Share your concerns, questions and thoughts as you go through the pregnancy journey together.

Supporting your partner

  • Go with her to prenatal checkups. Prenatal care is medical care to check the health of your partner and the baby during the pregnancy. When you go to her checkups, you can meet her provider and ask any questions about pregnancy you may have. Make sure your partner goes to all her prenatal care checkups, even if she’s feeling fine.
  • Help her rest and lower her stress. Managing stress is important for mom and baby during pregnancy. Ask your partner what she needs help with such as keeping the house clean, shopping for groceries and making meals.
  • Continue to have date nights and find time to enjoy each other’s company.
  • Be aware of changes in your partner that are a normal part of pregnancy.
    • Your partner may be happy one minute and sad the next. These quick changes are called mood swings. They are common during pregnancy.
    • Your partner also may be tired a lot. She gets tired because it’s hard work to carry a growing baby inside her body.
    • Your partner’s desire for sex may change as her body changes. She may want to have sex more often or less often than she did before she got pregnant. As her belly gets bigger, try different positions. Find one that’s comfortable for both of you. It’s okay for you and your partner to have sex during pregnancy as long as her health care provider says it’s OK.
  • Ask how you can support her during pregnancy. Be prepared to listen.

Planning together

Be part of the decision making process. Below are a few examples of some discussions to have with your partner.

  • How are you going to budget life after baby?
  • What length of leave will you each take?
  • What are your partner’s labor and birthing options and what is her preference?
  • When your partner goes into labor, what do you need to bring for her and baby?
  • Should your baby be fed with breastmilk or formula?
  • What do you and your partner want for child care (i.e. stay at home, in-home day care, day care center)? Start looking for child care openings now.
  • Together, how are you going to prepare other siblings and pets for the new baby’s arrival?

Learn more

Posted In Children's, Health Information, Parenting, Pregnancy, Sheldon

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