Becoming a new parent can be an exciting time, but it can also cause a lot of worries. When you find out your partner is pregnant, sometimes it requires big lifestyle changes. While you may not be the one having the baby, there are plenty of ways that you can be supportive of your significant other during delivery and while raising a healthy baby.
- Eat healthy meals and exercise – Eating healthy is important for both Mom and Baby. The first trimester may be hard secondary to nausea and not feeling the best, but relying on healthy meals will help the baby’s development as well as allow the mom to be able to maintain a healthy weight gain during pregnancy. Partners, it would be helpful to ask mom what she may want to eat and help her cook throughout the pregnancy. Exercise is also important for maintaining a healthy weight, allowing mom to feel good and allowing for good baby development. Encouragement and asking to join on walks can definitely be of help!
- Let her get plenty of rest – As a 2nd or 3rd or more time mom, they do not have as much time to physically rest all while taking care of another child. Offer to take the kid/kids out of the house so mom doesn’t have guilt around not being able to help out and actually get rest. This is very important in all trimesters but mom may feel it more in the first one.
- Support a healthy lifestyle away from harmful substances – as you know mom cannot smoke, utilize drugs or drink alcohol during pregnancy. Even secondhand smoke from a partner can harm the baby’s development. It can help the mom by her partner also avoiding these substances during her pregnancy.
- You can have sex during the pregnancy – As long as her doctor has not said she cannot have sex, sex is ok during pregnancy.
- Take childbirth class – Depending on where you deliver they may offer childbirth classes, but with COVID some of those classes have not been as easily accessible. An in-person class may allow for further questions to be answered. There are a lot of books, podcasts, and audiobooks that will allow you to answer any questions you may have. Whether it’s your first or multiple pregnancies there are always learning curves on how to take care of a newborn parent or add to your family the dynamic will change.
- Pack a bag and be ready for labor – Both mom and dad should have a bag packed, a car seat installed and a pediatrician picked out prior to labor. Sometimes moms go into labor sooner than 39-40 weeks so it is good to have conversations about the pediatrician and other essentials ready!
- Monitor for postpartum depression – A lot of the time Partners or close family and friends notice changes in mom’s mental health. Closely monitor how mom is feeling- sadness can be normal the first 1-2 weeks postpartum but if it is persisting have a conversation with your partner on how she is doing and ways to help or if you think she should be evaluated by her OB-GYN
- Support breastfeeding if that is your partner’s wishes – Breastfeeding takes a lot of energy out of mom and getting up every couple of hours is very hard on both parents. If she is breastfeeding from the breast offer to change the diaper and have the baby ready for mom to feed. If she is pumping the partner can wake up to bottle feed while mom pumps so she doesn’t have to stay up longer to pump and feed. If you are doing formula give mom some breaks throughout the night and take over feeding so you both can get some rest.
- Enjoy your time together – Try to take date nights prior to baby’s arrival both to get mom out of the house and to have any conversations you wanted to prior to baby. Once the baby comes a lot of the time both parents are very tired and all attention is on the baby. Or if you want to stay home, maybe meal prep meals so some nights are easier than others when thinking about dinner!
At Women’s Health Specialists, our goal is to help women feel confident and assured in their healthcare decisions. If you have any questions or concerns during pregnancy, please call us at (920) 749-4000.
For our a look at our prenatal booklet; click here.