Pregnancy and childbirth are memorable experiences for both the partners. While it is the mother who carries the baby till the time it is delivered, the father’s role is not restricted until and after birth. From the moment your spouse confirms one of the most exciting news of your conjugal life, your role apparently begins. The mother undergoes various hormonal changes in her body throughout the pregnancy period and may, at times, find herself bewildered and anxious. The most trusted person on whom she can count on is you – the dad-to-be. The entire stage of pregnancy is unpredictable depicting volatile mood swings and emotional outbursts. Your role is extremely important not only in the life of your spouse but also the child to be born.
With some fundamental knowledge about pregnancy and simple guidelines given under, you can make the pregnancy and childbirth period relaxing and memorable for yourself and your spouse.
1. Mutual understanding and co-operation
This is the fundamental aspect of your relationship. Now that you are entitled for a more responsible role (that of a father), your spouse would expect more from you. Think pregnancy as a mutual experience. Physically, the child is inside the mother’s womb but you can get emotionally attached to your child much before he/she is born. Help her in her daily chores. She would love to see the change in you and the responsible attitude displayed thereupon. Small gestures, like helping her while preparing the dinner table or making a light breakfast on a holiday can be very comforting for her. You need not take it as a compulsion. Individuals have their own ideas of pleasing and comforting his/her spouses.
2. Prenatal visits to the doctor
The prenatal visits to the doctor are an integral part of pregnancy. Your spouse may not be comfortable visiting the doctor all alone (it is her first child as well!). As often as feasible, accompany her in her visits. Pregnancy can also be at times baffling and can disturb your spouse. She may be reluctant to discuss an issue (which may be worthwhile placing before the doctor). By accompanying her, you can keep a check not to miss on an important agenda. And you may be having your own queries as well!
3. Participate in your baby’s welcome
Your spouse may be busy preparing to welcome the baby. Give your suggestions. Participate in her excitement by showing gestures like going out for shopping the baby’s clothes/belongings together. You can sit together to arrive at a nice name for your child. Assist her in designing the baby cradle or the baby room. By showing your interest, you can make your spouse feel proud of you (as a husband and a father-to-be), She will feel prized to forgo all the pain and discomfort undergone during her pregnancy.
4. Spend maximum possible time
A feeling of insecurity may sometime accompany your spouse. Try to ensure she is never alone (unless it cannot be avoided) throughout her pregnancy. Whatever time you can manage, even though small, be with her. By spending more time with her you can make her relaxed and happy. A mother-to-be always needs to relax and be in good mode. It is said a happy mother gives birth to a happy child. Cuddle and pamper her as much as possible. You need not spend on expensive gifts to impress her. May be you can read your favorite book with your spouse close to you on the sofa instead of opting for the study room.
5. Sex during pregnancy
This is a bit controversial. Mostly, women are found to decline sexual engagement during pregnancy and immediately after. Part of the reason could be the pain and discomfort that normally increase with every passing day of a pregnant woman. If your spouse disagrees to engage physically, respect her emotions. She would reciprocate for your understanding behavior but with patience. Technically, the first trimester is the unsafe period and sex is supposedly avoided. The last/third trimester is also crucial and the same applies. Do not hesitate to consult your doctor in any case. Individual cases are specific and can differ.
6. Prepare for delivery
You need to be financially and emotionally prepared on this front. Select the place of childbirth in consultation with your partner. Ask for her preferences/choice and discuss yours as well. Enlist the pros and cons and arrive at a common place best suited to both of you. If your spouse is considerate about your choice, give a second thought because all these months you are working with the motive of having a safe and comfortable childbirth.
7. Get acquainted to the birth process
Before your spouse delivers the child, get to know the birth process i.e. how, when and why. You do not require an expertise here but knowing the basics helps a lot, especially when you get stuck to a dilemma like opting for a normal delivery or a cesarean. Only when you have the right information can you take the correct decision. There are various exercises which a mother does to keep herself active during the birth process. You can help her in the exercises so that she is relieved. If your child is born out of a cesarean, the mother will need special attention post-delivery to recover fully. Some hospitals allow the husbands to accompany their wives inside labor room so that they are more comfortable delivering the baby. There are a lot of information portals available today to give you the required guideline.
8. After birth
Having delivered the baby, a whole new chapter begins. Your role is an extended one although now you can be easy and relaxed for your efforts done in the past months. Get help in the form of a nurse or the grandmother (the irreplaceable solution) for your spouse. She may not be able to handle the new born all alone. The mother needs internal healing after birth, normal or cesarean. Give her the liberty to relax for sometime after delivery. She may not want to indulge in sexual activity immediately.
Being a co-operative husband and a devoted father is a challenge. You may run out of patience at times. But remember, determination is the keyword.