Pregnancy is seen as a mom thing. Few women believe that Dad really gets it. And the fact is, men mostly don't. They can show interest and empathize and some read about it—but let's face it, a father's experience of having a baby is fairly removed until they're face to face with sleep deprivation. No dad can fully relate to the minute-by-minute, close-to-the-heart, kick-in-the-gut reality of carrying a baby to term.
But Papi can participate. So fellas, listen up and check out this great list of ways you can get involved in your wife's pregnancy:
You can't be pregnant, but you can be an active observer. Let your wife know you're enjoying seeing her belly grow. Feel the baby kick. Play music and read to your baby. Keep track of your baby's development during pregnancy—no doubt you'll be amazed.
Try to make it to at least some of your partner's many prenatal care appointments, and ask questions. Don't miss the chance to get a glimpse of your baby during an ultrasound. If your partner has an amniocentesis or other procedure to test for genetic defects, make sure you're there. And, of course, attend childbirth classes so you can participate with your partner in your child's birth.
Get healthier too
As your wife tries to modify her diet, give up alcohol and drink more fluids, you can support her by sharing these lifestyle changes. Eliminate bad-for-baby foods that might tempt her. Cut down on or cut out alcohol yourself. Don't smoke. Spend time walking or exercising together. And try to find ways to reduce the number of hours you spend at your workplace, so you two have more time at home together.
Love her changing body
Take a photo of your sweetie in profile at each month of pregnancy to record how her body changes. Understand, too, that as her pregnancy progresses, she may feel unattractive at times. Tell her she's beautiful.
Go the extra mile
Your wife may be intensely demanding. Go with it. She's doing all the heavy lifting. The least you can do is shop for groceries, send her flowers and indulge her nightly cravings.
Be a partner in labor
Record music she wants to hear during labor; prepare some distractions that you can bring to the hospital; and be ready to embrace her and coach her, soothe her and massage her, feed her ice chips and offer her liquids.
Make lots of decisions together
By the time your baby arrives, you and your partner should have bought a newborn wardrobe; prepared the nursery; bought and safely installed a car seat (hospitals won't let you drive baby home without one), settled on boy and girl options for your child's name; and determined whether to circumcise, breast- or bottle- feed and use cloth or disposable diapers. And you thought you had nothing to do!
Prepare for your new life as a family
Get life insurance and make out a will if you haven't already. Start a college savings fund. Arrange for paternity leave, so you'll be able to participate in your baby's care during the first days and weeks after birth. Install a smoke detector in your baby's nursery and in other key rooms in your home, and be sure to childproof the house!
For more BabyCenter content:
- Follow your pregnancy and your baby's development week by week with our free weekly newsletters. Sign up today!
- Find out how your sex life will change during pregnancy.
- A childbirth cheatsheet for Dads to be.
- Find out your due date with our calculator.
- Looking for a name? Our Baby Name Finder offers you thousands of options to choose from!