A healthy baby starts with a healthy, supported mom. Research suggests that adequate family and partner support during pregnancy helps expecting mothers manage their stress, which is key for a healthy pregnancy. So, taking care of your partner is also taking care of your little one. Check out these seven tips to help you support your partner throughout pregnancy.
1. Share in the excitement.
Day by day, you draw closer to welcoming your little bundle of joy to the world. Even if you’re not a “jump for joy” kind of person, make sure your partner knows how excited you are to start (or grow) your family together. You’ve got nine months to celebrate, dream about what your baby will be like, and to envision yourselves as parents – a million opportunities to share in the excitement.
2. Attend prenatal appointments if you can.
Most pregnant women attend at least 15 prenatal care visits throughout the course of their pregnancy. Although your partner is the only required attendee, more and more dads-to-be (and moms-to-be) are holding their partner’s hand in the exam room to offer support.
Attending prenatal appointments is a great way to learn more about pregnancy, the changes your partner is experiencing, and the challenges they’re facing. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to be at every prenatal visit, ask her to hit the highlights and catch you up on anything you missed.
Although most OBGYNs have their patients’ best interests in mind, your partner and baby need someone close to them on their side. Discuss her healthcare expectations, preferred birth plan, and any concerns she may have about her pregnancy, so you’re ready to advocate for them if needed.
As your partner’s due date approaches, you may even consider taking childbirth classes together so you’re better prepared to support her in the delivery room.
3. Deepen your connection.
Big changes are on the way. This is your time to focus on solidifying your relationship so you’re better prepared to take on parenthood together.
If you’re just starting your family, these are your last few months as “just the two of you.” Plan extra date nights (goodness knows when your first post-baby date night will be), set off on a babymoon or quick weekend getaway, and enjoy the silence of an empty house. And perhaps most importantly: maintain open communication. Talk about the parts of parenthood you’re excited about, the parts that make you nervous, and everything in between.
This may not be your first rodeo – you may already have children at home. The new addition to your family will affect them, too. Deepen your relationship with your kids by showering them with extra love and affection, reminding them how important they are to you, and treating them to some quality one-on-one time before the baby arrives.
4. Encourage her to rest.
Put simply: pregnancy is exhausting. Many women feel particularly exhausted during the first trimester and may have trouble getting quality sleep as their belly continues to grow throughout pregnancy. Discomfort, fluctuating pregnancy hormones, and a never-ending to-do list don’t help, either. Encourage your partner to rest up during pregnancy. You’ll both have plenty of sleepless nights once you enter parenthood.
5. Take on more of the physical chores.
Pregnancy takes a physical toll on a woman’s body. Between backaches, swollen ankles, and adapting her every move to accommodate a watermelon-sized belly, your partner may not feel up to scrubbing the bathroom floors, dragging the trash outside, or leaning over the kitchen sink to wash dishes. You may not be able to carry the baby, but you can take on more of the physical chores and heavy lifting and spare her some discomfort.
6. Practice solidarity in making healthy lifestyle choices.
Your partner makes sacrifices every day with your baby in mind. Sometimes, your partner may really wish she could have her favorite sushi roll, a glass of wine, or unlimited coffee. But instead, she continues to focus on the end goal: a healthy baby. Sure, your lifestyle choices don’t directly affect the baby. But, choosing to make healthy lifestyle choices alongside your partner may make it easier for them. So, help prepare healthy, balanced, meals, avoid alcohol and smoking, and participate in regular exercise. Practicing all these things together during pregnancy and beyond can help you set a foundation of health-centered values for your growing family.
7. Ask if there’s anything she needs.
You’re not a mind reader – and that’s okay. If you’re not sure how to support your partner during pregnancy, just ask. Remind her that you’re there to help carry anything that’s too heavy – physically or emotionally – and that you’ll always be her number one supporter.
Pregnancy is only nine months, and while your support is crucial during pregnancy, your partner is going to continue to need your support long after the baby arrives. Check out this article next: “How Partners Can Support New Moms.”