Dad touching mom's belly as she lays on the Boppy Total Body Pillow.

A Dad's (or Partner's) Guide to Pregnancy

Your significant other’s pregnancy announcement gives her extra attention as the mom-to-be, but your role as dad or partner doesn’t need to be overlooked. Don’t feel left out, counteract that feeling by getting involved early on in the pregnancy. Not only can you be helpful and provide support when she needs it the most, remember this is a commitment you’re making together to raise a child. It might feel as if she’s doing all of the work carrying the baby, but here are some ways dads-to-be,or partners, can share in the nine-month journey.

Get Involved

You might not be the avid reader your significant other is on all things baby, but there are ways to stay informed. One easy option to learn more about her body changes and baby’s development is through a pregnancy or baby app that tracks what’s happening.

Perhaps the greatest learning opportunity comes from her prenatal appointments. Even if you cannot make every single doctor visit, go to the ones you can. Not only will you both learn valuable information about the pregnancy at the same time, you’ll get your questions answered face-to-face by a medical expert. You might even come up with some important questions for the doctor she might not have thought of.

By attending the appointments, another benefit is viewing the ultrasound. This live image of your baby can be an impactful and emotional moment because it helps you see your child firsthand and paint the bigger picture of what’s to come.

You also want to attend any childbirth classes to have a better knowledge of labor, delivery and newborn care. You need to know not only how to support her when she’s in labor but learn about the proper ways to care for an infant. This includes how to properly hold a newborn, change diapers, how to give the baby a bottle, etc.

Household Chores and the Nursery

In addition to getting involved with the educational aspects of her pregnancy, she’ll need more of your assistance at home. The hormone changes, morning sickness and fatigue will require her to rest, making those domestic chores she could do so easily before more of a challenge. It’s time to pitch in as certain tasks become more difficult for her.

Protip: Be aware of certain housekeeping items that will be off limits for the mom-to-be such as cleaning with harsh chemicals, cleaning up after pets and lifting heavy objects.

Setting up and decorating the nursery might be the project that brings her pride and joy but you can get involved in your own way. If the room needs painting, offer to do it instead. Pregnant women are cautioned to stay away from paint fumes in the first place.

Perhaps selecting sheets and decor isn’t your thing, but you can assist with picking out and putting together furniture. If you’re handy making small household modifications, baby proofing is another task you can help her with, from installing child locks to properly covering electrical outlets. Don’t be afraid to give your input. Staying involved extends to participating in the planning of baby’s arrival.

Listen and Communicate

Pregnancy can be an exciting and overwhelming experience. Being there for her emotionally is just as important as handling physical chores. You might not be able to understand everything she is going through but have empathy and offer to help her research to find more information or provide her rides to appointments. Take the initiative to plan something fun for the both of you.

Finally, don’t forget the communication goes both ways. Let her know how you’re feeling. Perhaps you’re experiencing anxiety about becoming a parent? Do you have a certain fear you need to get off your chest? You both need to listen and talk things out to remind yourselves you’re a team, and you’re in this together.