An Expectant Dad's Guide to Pregnancy
You got her pregnant, but are you ready for the nine month roller coaster? Consider this your expectant father’s survival guide.
Preparing the Nest continued...
You may not be able to match the mom-to-be's level of enthusiasm, but your
participation counts. "Just smile and repaint for the third time,"
Things will be different in the bedroom, too. The bed you share may seem
less cozy as she becomes more uncomfortable and sleeps fitfully, making
frequent trips to the bathroom in the night. You can help by accommodating her
graciously -- for example, by making room for her gigantic body pillow. You may
even lose your bedmate for a while, because some pregnant women prefer to sleep
in a reclining chair. Sex during pregnancy is a whole other matter on which
plenty has been written.
Remember also that all smoking inside your home has to stop right away.
Secondhand smoke is very bad for the baby.
Prenatal Visits and the Expectant Father
A generation or two ago, it was unusual for an expectant father to be
present during labor, let alone hang out with his pregnant wife in the exam
room when she saw her doctor. Now dads are encouraged to go to prenatal care
Assuming that all goes well, there will be about 15 routine prenatal visits
scheduled with varying frequency: once a month until 28 weeks, three or four
times up to week 36, and once a week for the last month.
If you can make time to join your partner at all or most appointments, she
will likely appreciate it, and you'll benefit from knowing what's going on. Two
visits in particular are especially worthwhile: the first appointment, and the
prenatal ultrasound exam. "As a physician, I want the dad there
for the first appointment to talk about what will happen, and to determine
parents' preferences," Woods says.
During the exam, the doctor should give both of you some general advice on
having a healthy pregnancy and address any specific medical issues. You can
help by paying close attention and asking thoughtful questions. The exam
typically involves simple things like collecting urine and blood samples from
the mother, taking her blood pressure, measuring around her middle, and