A Pregnancy Survival Guide for Men
The First Trimester: Hormones, Exhaustion, and Morning Sickness
Here's What You Can Do
- Help her find safe foods. Ask her healthcare provider for recommendations. In general, avoid foods that upset the stomach, such as those that are fried or spicy.Some women find that crackers, ginger ale, or lemonade help. Some women may find that an empty stomach causes extreme nausea. Suggest eating frequent, smaller meals. It is important to stay hydrated. Make sure she drinks plenty of water throughout the day
- Give your wife support. Do some research. There is a lot of information about morning sickness and how to conquer the symptoms. Ask a nutritionist or healthcare provider to help guide you through this time.
- Stay active. Stick to your weekly physical fitness routine and activities. Find a friend who enjoys the same sports or hobbies and get out of the house.
- Talk to a trusted friend, particularly one who is also a new dad. Or maybe even your own dad. You will be surprised that your apprehension and fear are extremely common.
The Second Trimester: Sex? What's That?
Here's What You Can Do
- Help with chores or housework to reduce stress in her environment.
- Encourage your spouse. Give her positive feedback, even when she looks horrible and is too sick to change out of her pajamas. Tell her how excited you are about being a dad and that you know she will be a terrific mom.
- Join a support group for fathers. There are many types of support groups for new fathers. You do not have to talk—just hearing other dads share similar problems is a great relief.
- Write down your expectations of being a father, of what type of parent you want to be, and discuss your thoughts with your wife. It helps to talk about parenting styles and discipline techniques before situations arise.
The Third Trimester: Preparing for Labor and Delivery
Last Minute Concerns
Fear of Birth
Here's What You Can Do
- Prepare a birth plan with your spouse. This is an outline of how you want the childbirth experience to progress. Think of a birth plan as more of a wish list that may or may not come true, since neither of you can control the events during childbirth.
- Help your wife pack her hospital bag. Include support items for both of you. Bring snacks, money, magazines, distraction material (music, a favorite hobby or a deck of cards). Many fathers wish they had remembered basic things such as cameras, chewing gum, breath mints, and a change of clothes. Do not forget to bring clothes for the baby.
- Be prepared. Pay close attention in the childbirth classes and be an active participant. Read as much as you can about labor and delivery.
- Realize your limitations. It is important to understand that no amount of preparation, reading, or support can prepare you for the enormous responsibility associated with childbirth and parenting. Know your limits and keep in mind that it may be difficult to see your wife experience the pain of labor and delivery. Be supportive and do the best you can.
International Childbirth Education Association http://www.icea.org
Healthy Canadians—Government of Canada http://www.healthycanadians.gc.ca
Women's Health Matters http://www.womenshealthmatters.ca
A father's guide to pregnancy. American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists website. Available at: http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq032.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20130912T1012263686. Updated April 2013. Accessed July 9, 2015.
Lacroix R, Eason E, Melzack R. Nausea and vomiting during pregnancy: A prospective study of its frequency, intensity, and patterns of change. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2000;182(4):931-937.
Nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 11, 2015. Accessed July 9, 2015.
Pregnancy, birth, and beyond for dads and partners. NHS website. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/dad-to-be-pregnant-partner.aspx. Updated April 2, 2015. Accessed July 9, 2015.
12/9/2013 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Hodnett ED, Gates S, Hofmeyr GJ, Sakala C.. Continuous support for women during childbirth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013;7:CD003766.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 06/2015 -
- Update Date: 07/09/2015 -
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
Copyright © EBSCO Publishing
All rights reserved.