When you are sporting a growing baby bump, you receive lots of attention from family, friends and even strangers. Everyone wants to know how far along you are, how you are feeling, and if you know what you are having. All the doting on the mom-to-be can leave dad wondering what his role is during the pregnancy and sometimes even feeling a little left out. If you want your partner to feel more involved in your pregnancy and are looking for ways to include him, check out these tips on ways to share the joys of your special journey. After all, you wouldn’t be where you are today without him.
1) Share your news together: Whether you get to make your announcement in person or choose to do a post on social media, be sure to include your partner in the excitement. Wait until you are both available to tell family and friends and tag him in any online announcements.
2) Invite him to your midwife/OB appointments: This seems like an obvious one, but let your partner in on the excitement of hearing the heartbeat and learning about baby’s development at your check-ups. He may not be able to make it to all of your appointments, but include him when you can.
3) Take parenting and childbirth classes together: When you are pregnant, there are many educational programs available to you and your spouse to prepare you for your baby’s arrival. Sign up for a birthing class, Infant CPR and First Aid and even a breastfeeding class together. The more informed Dad is, the more he will feel like part of your team.
4) Brainstorm baby names together: One of the most fun parts of having a baby is getting to choose a name! Let your partner be involved in suggesting names and start a running list of your mutual favorites.
5) Register for baby gifts together: If you are both first time parents, you may be feeling in the dark about what you will need for your baby. Registering together and seeking some guidance from friends and family can help you both feel confident that you will have everything you need for your little one.
6) Plan your nursery together: Two brains are better than one when coming up with a creative and functional plan for your baby’s nursery. Get dad involved with painting, building furniture and any other tasks he may enjoy.
7) Write your birth plan together: Having a birth plan can help you both feel assured that your wishes will be respected during the process of labor and delivery. Your partner should be your biggest advocate during the birth and will feel much better prepared for the job if he’s involved in the planning.
8) Exercise together: Ever heard of sympathy weight gain? Developing a moderate exercise regimen that you can do together will help you both stay fit and healthy throughout the nine months. It also may be a while before you can exercise together again after baby arrives!
9) Consider having a couples’ shower: Long gone are the days where baby showers are exclusively gatherings for women. Many expectant parents are choosing to have couples’ showers where they can invite all of their friends and celebrate baby-to-be together.
10) Read parenting and birthing books together: Reading is a great way to get prepared for the life changing experience of having a baby. If he’s not interested in paging through What to Expect When You’re Expecting and other classics, try getting him a book that is specially geared towards dads like, Be Prepared: A Practical Handbook for New Dads.
11) Keep a journal for your baby: Whether it’s a blog, or a handwritten notebook, keep a record of your pregnancy together that you can later share with your little one. Include letters to your baby-to-be and pictures of mom and dad pre-baby. Your child is sure to get a kick out of this one day.
12) Cook freezer meals together: You’ve probably heard from friends who have kids that one important way to prepare for baby is to stock your freezer with meals that can be warmed up easily. Preparing healthy meals to keep you both going during the sleep deprivation can be a fun and useful activity to do together while you await the arrival of your baby.
13) Have your partner pack their own bag: You probably know exactly what you need to bring to the birthing center or hospital on the day of your delivery but have you considered what your partner might need? Have him pack his own bag with a change of clothes, snacks and anything he can bring to support you or keep you entertained during labor.
14) Communicate: Even though your body is the one carrying and birthing the baby, your husband likely has his own set of fears and excitement about the impending arrival. Be open about your own feelings and encourage him to do the same. Getting any anxiety about becoming parents out in the open can help everyone feel more supported.
15) Nurture your relationship: It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of pregnancy and having a baby. Don’t forget that your relationship preceded your pregnancy and still needs regular TLC. Take advantage of this child-free time to go on dates, be spontaneous, take a trip and focus on one another. Your relationship may take a backseat for a little while once your little one arrives and you’ll be thankful for this time you had together.In addition to getting your partner involved in the excitement of your pregnancy and preparing for baby, it’s also important to let him know how he can best support you. Communicate your needs to your partner and let him know how he can help. If he’s been uninvolved thus far, it may be because he doesn’t know how to help. Pregnancy is a journey to be experienced together and a time to strengthen your bond as teammates. At Health Foundations, we encourage not only your spouse but your whole family to be as involved as you would like them to be in your experience. For questions about this or any and all other pregnancy and birth related topics, contact Health Foundations for a free consultation with a midwife and a tour of our beautiful Birth Center. We are here to help!