Five things every father should do during pregnancy

During pregnancy a woman's body goes through a lot of changes. It can be uncomfortable, nauseating or even really painful for a lot of women. As a man, you may feel like there’s nothing you can do to help. 

Hand holding baby shoes
Free Images by Estupidaopiniosa (license)

Here are five things that my wife appreciated during her pregnancy:

1. Give a lot of compliments

Your partners body is going to go through a lot of changes during pregnancy. She’s going to put on weight and probably feel self conscious about it. Try to make every effort to tell her how beautiful she looks and to celebrate her.

I’m not great at giving compliments, I have a very “fix it” mentality, so I’ll comment when something needs to be changed, but if things are good I rarely will make comment of it. I’ve been trying to get better at this over the past few years, but it definitely requires effort!

The funny thing is that your partner will look amazing to you as she grows your child. It sounds cliche, but (at least for my partner) there was a glow to her when she was pregnant.

2. Give lots of massages

My wife loves any sort of attention I give her, whether it’s just stroking her hand as I pass, or a full body massage, so she made sure I knew about this tip!

There’s a few different types of massages that you can do to ease discomfort and give a bit of relaxation to your partner. You do need to be careful with what type of oil you can use, as some essential oils are used to bring on contractions, which you don’t want unless you’re near the due date.

The other thing to be careful with is related to blood clotting. It’s advised to keep the pressure low and make long strokes towards the heart. However, I’m not a medical professional, so please check with your midwife.

Here are some massages that my wife found particularly good during pregnancy and labour:

Light touch massage — this is where you use the back of your fingers to give gentle stroking motions. A good move is to go from the base of the spine, on either side of the spine stroke upwards towards the top and then sweep around and come down at the edge of the back as if you were drawing a big “M” starting from the middle.

Scalp massage — using your fingertips, start with them close together and then gently spread them out over the scalp.

Foot massage — make sure your partner is sitting comfortably and have them guide you on what pressure to use. You can use some pregnancy safe oil.

Apply pressure on the lower spine — A lot of pressure is put on the woman’s pelvis during pregnancy. Applying some pressure just above the tail bone helps to relieve some tension. Go gently and be guided by your partner.

Also worth highlighting that your partner may not want physical touch during pregnancy, even if they’re normally very touchy. Respect their wishes and focus more on the other items in this list.

3. Rub tummy butter on the bump

Tummy butter is basically moisturiser that’s meant to reduce the likelihood of getting stretch marks. I made the decision that I’d be the one to apply it every night. It’s a great moment for you to show some care to your partner and for you to be close to the baby as it’s growing and eventually starts kicking.

4. Practice communicating

This is quite a big topic in itself so I’ve written another article which goes into more detail. One extra bit to add specifically related to the lead up to birth is to practice non verbal communication.

When your partner is in labour there’s a good chance that they’ll struggle to make fully coherent sentences. You’re going to feel somewhat useless during the birth so you’ll want to be able to help anyway you can. Asking “what can I do to help?” will probably get something thrown at you however. Use this time to practice reading your partner and anticipating her needs.

5. Join a group

Find a group that you can join of couples near by who are pregnant and due around the same time as you. They can be a really great support network especially for the mother to be. My wife has made some really great friends through one of these groups and spends a lot of time on playdates with the babies. Don’t underestimate the importance of having someone else going through the same thing you are!

In summary, five things that you can do to help your partner during pregnancy:

  1. Give a lot of compliments
  2. Give lots of massages
  3. Rub tummy butter on the bump
  4. Practice communicating
  5. Join a group


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