Pregnancy is often seen as a woman’s domain.
After all, it’s women who do most of the work when it comes to growing and birthing babies.
Some men feel sidelined during the pregnancy, as the mama-to-be becomes the centre of attention.
For many men, it takes quite some time before the pregnancy feels ‘real’ to them.
They’re not throwing up every morning (and afternoon, and evening) and there are no acrobatics taking place inside their bellies, so it’s no wonder it takes them a little longer to adjust to the idea of impending fatherhood.
10 Easy Ways To Involve Your Partner In The Pregnancy
The good news is there are things you can do to get your partner involved in the pregnancy and help him feel part of what’s happening.
You don’t have to attach him to a contraction simulator for him to play an active role in the pregnancy – which is lucky, because he’s not likely to agree to that, anyway.
Here are 10 easy ways to involve your partner in the pregnancy:
#1: Invite Him To Your Appointments
Most dads-to-be attend the prenatal scans these days.
Historically, pregnancy appointments would be just for the mother; besides, the father probably wouldn’t have been able to get time off work to attend.
Luckily, things have changed. most men can now take time off to attend midwife appointments, scans, and doctors visits. If your partner can’t get away from work, ask your healthcare provider if it’s possible to arrange more convenient appointment times so your partner can be there with you.
Meeting your midwife or healthcare provider will give your partner the opportunity to ask questions and address any concerns. It will also give your midwife a chance to get to know your partner before the birth.
#2: Update Him With News Of The Baby’s Development
If you’re pregnant in 2017, there’s a good chance you have at least one pregnancy app on your phone, and you receive weekly emails letting you know how your baby is developing. You probably also have at least a couple of books.
Share these details with your partner so he can track the pregnancy with you. You could leave weekly messages on the bathroom mirror, detailing the size of your baby, so he stumbles across it when he goes for his morning shower.
If your app tracks baby’s size by comparing it with various fruits, you could buy the right fruit each week, to show him how fast your baby is growing.
Warning: this will become a lot less fun for you as you reach the end of the pregnancy. You’ll be staring at a watermelon and wondering how the heck you’re going to push that out.
#3: Exercise Together
There are plenty of benefits to exercising during pregnancy.
Not only does it help you stay fit in preparation for the birth, but it will also help you maintain a healthy weight gain, and make sure you are in the best possible health during the pregnancy.
Having an exercise partner can help you to stay motivated, and has the added bonus of giving you some time together.
You could go swimming together, or get a pregnancy yoga DVD to use at home. Even a simple brisk walk in the evenings will improve your fitness
#4: Get Him Involved In The Decisions
For many couples, it’s the woman who bears the brunt of decision making. You might find you’re more preoccupied with the pregnancy than he is. You probably spend more time researching travel systems and creating a Pinterest board of nursery ideas.
However, getting him involved in the decision-making process is a good way of helping him feel valued. Discuss your ideas with him, and be sure to ask his opinion on all the big decisions.
Go shopping together to pick out your baby’s first outfit. Encourage him to pick out a few of his favourite pieces – even if you hate the idea of your baby dressed in football colours from head to toe.
#5: Get Him To Decorate The Nursery
Decorating the nursery is almost a rite of passage for dads-to-be. Block out a weekend so you can decorate the nursery together. Let him help pick out paint colours and wallpaper, and then spend a couple of days getting stuck in together.
Ask him to put up shelves and fit together any flat pack furniture. Having a nursery ready and waiting – even though your baby won’t be sleeping in it for a good few months after the birth – will make the pregnancy feel real. It’ll also be a big job you can tick off your to-do list.
#6: Throw Him A Baby Shower
Many modern couples are shunning the traditional women-only baby showers in favour of a couple shower. After all, you’re both going to become parents, so it makes sense for both of you to be celebrated at the shower.
If you’re not keen on that idea, you could throw him a dad shower of his own. It doesn’t have to be about graphic baby shower cakes and baby-themed games; it might be a simple night out with his closest friends.
If you can stretch to it, treat him to a weekend away with his friends. He’ll enjoy it, and it’s a way of letting off steam before he becomes a parent.
It’s easy to forget you’re not the only one whose life is about to change forever. Your partner is probably feeling just as anxious as you are about the changes ahead.
#7: Encourage Him To Bond With Your Bump
You are carrying your baby with you wherever you go, so it’s only natural bonding during pregnancy will be easier for you than for your partner. Try to encourage him to bond with the baby before the birth.
When the baby starts kicking, make sure you give him plenty of opportunities to feel those kicks and nudges by placing his hands on your bump. Encourage him to talk to your bump as well; you’ll probably find the baby responds with extra kicks when he hears a familiar voice.
#8: Invest In Your Relationship
Some men report feeling left out during the pregnancy. Suddenly everything centres on the baby, and many men find it hard to adjust to playing second fiddle.
Don’t forget, your relationship is more important than ever, now there’s a baby on the way. You’ll both be busy preparing for the new arrival, and you’re bound to have loose ends to tie up at work before you go on maternity leave. Don’t let this distract you from spending time as a couple.
Be sure to go on plenty of dates – maybe to the cinema, and to eat out – because those things will be more difficult when you have a newborn baby to care for. If you can afford a trip away before the birth, it will give you some much-needed time just to enjoy being a couple.
#9: Write Your Birth Plan Together
You’ll be the one giving birth, but your partner has an important role to play too. He needs to know what your wishes are, and exactly what is expected of him during the birth.
Discuss your options as you write the birth plan together. This will prepare him for the birth, and will help him act as an advocate for your wishes while you’re in labour. He’ll need a hospital bag as well, so discuss the kind of things he might need to take and encourage him to organise it himself.
#10: Attend Prenatal Classes Together
Prenatal classes are invaluable for parents-to-be. You’ll find out all about birth, birth choices, and what to expect with a newborn baby, and you’ll also meet other couples who are in the same situation as you are.
Make sure your partner attends all of the classes with you – yes, even the breastfeeding one, because men have an important role in breastfeeding support. Encourage him to stay in touch with the other dads-to-be from the class.