So your significant other is pregnant and you’re both excited, but you also know that the next 40 weeks aren’t going to be easy for either of you. This article has some tips on how you, the expectant father, can help to reduce stress for both you and the mommy-to-be.
Help With Chores: Granted, you both probably work full time at stressful jobs and neither of you want to come home to have to clean a dirty house. Help out as much as you can. If she does laundry, put the clothes away. If she makes dinner, do the dishes. Try to eliminate her having to do chores that involve any heavy lifting or too much bending over. Also, if you have cats, litter is your responsibility at least until she quits nursing. Cat feces carries a type of bacteria that, while mostly harmless to adults, can be very dangerous to the baby. Of course, if you have kids old enough to do chores, have them help out too.
Give Her a Massage: Her feet are swelling and she aches from the steady posture shift of her body. Offer her a full body massage and give her a gentle rub down. “Gentle” is the key here because her skin is much more sensitive right now. Use a lotion during massage to reduce the friction and be careful around swollen areas and her belly. She will be very grateful for the time and effort that you put into help her relax and helping make her more comfortable.
Be Patient: This is probably the hardest piece of advice to follow, but you have to try. Because of the pregnancy, your significant other is going to be flooded with hormones and suffer uncontrollable mood swings. In only a split second, she’ll be going from one emotion to the other without any triggers. Try to be understanding and help her to cope through it.
Keep the Bathroom Clean: Any pregnant woman can tell you that morning sickness is a pretty crappy experience and your significant other is no different. For a good chunk of her first trimester (or the entire pregnancy if she’s unlucky), she’ll be kneeling in front of the porcelain altar. Do her a favor and help her keep the bathroom clean. Keep debris off of the floor so that she doesn’t trip in her rush to get to the toilet. Also, if the toilet bowl cleaner makes her sick, then clean the toilet for her (or try to find a cleaner that isn’t as harsh).
Have Sex: Obviously, you should only do this if she is willing, but it can be a good stress reliever for both of you. You can find plenty of information on positions that can be used throughout the pregnancy to make the activity just as comfortable and enjoyable for both of you without the risk of reducing labor in her third trimester. Sex releases feel-good endorphins that help to relieve stress and relax the body after the initial adrenaline rush, so both of you can relax and the constant motion might even relax the baby as well.
Be Prepared, Be Informed: It’s best that you prepare yourself for the newest addition to the family as soon as you find out about them. There are plenty of websites and baby books that have sections “Just for Dad” as well as week by week summaries of how the baby is growing and changing. These sites and books also have lists of must-haves for the hospital visit, the nursery, baby bathing and travel with baby. Learn as much as you can and try to get as much prepared as possible by the time your significant other starts her third trimester ( i.e. is about six months along).
Granted, the tips offered in this article kind of make it sound like you’re going to become servant of the expectant mother. However, the more you help out, the less stressful the pregnancy is likely to be for both of you. We suggest that you also read “Stress and Pregnancy (for Women)” to learn more ways to help her relax. Remember, learn as much as you can, help out as much as you can, and congrats on your newest addition to the family.