My Wife is Pregnant
Pregnancy and Dads
When my wife fell pregnant I was over the moon. I was so excited I immediately started researching what I could expect to happen over the next 9 months. I was quite surprised at how little information there was available for the expectant father. The internet is awash with sites aimed at mums-to-be, but very few directed at dads.
A trip to the bookstore only compounded this. Of the 43 separate books discussing pregnancy, a mere 3 were aimed at dads-to-be. I was appalled. We men are constantly berated for not showing enough interest in the personal lives of our children and partners, and yet when we try to be proactive, we find very little to help us.
Look hard enough, and there is plenty of information. Most of the basics are covered in the myriad of (female-oriented) baby books mentioned above. I thought I would round out the picture and fill you in on some of the things that I wasn't told, didn't read, and had to find out on my own
Pregnant Women Must Avoid Certain Foods
It is not just alcohol and tobacco a pregnant woman must avoid, there is a myriad of foods that should be given a wide-berth, particularly early on.
Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy
Limit (once a week)
Be careful with
Vegetables - thoroughly wash
Soft-serve ice cream/frozen yoghurt
Fruit - thoroughly wash
Eggs - must be thoroughly cooked
Meat - thoroughly cooked only
Raw eggs and Raw meat
Soft Cheese (Brie, Camembert, feta, Roquefort)
Strangers Will Start Touching Your Partner's Belly
This has been the most disturbing thing I have had to come to terms with. My wife isn't crazy about it either. You can be stood in line in a store and suddenly some stranger will come up, place two hands on your partner's stomach and start firing off questions as if this person had known her for years! For some reason, people seem to think that a pregnant woman's bump is public property.
You can buy t-shirts that can ward off would-be tummy-touchers! Some of them are quite funny
Morning Sickness is not just in the Morning...
...or for the first few weeks.
Granted, it can be with some women. Indeed, some women never experience morning sickness and breeze through their pregnancies. We were not so lucky. My wife was sick every day, several times a day, morning and night...for 27 weeks.
It is here where you have to show some sympathy and respect for what your partner is going through. Little acts of random kindness go a long way: making her cups of tea, rubbing her back and feet, taking over the household chores are all great gestures! Telling her to close the door so you can hear the football...not so much.
If the sound and sight of your partner vomiting is likely to induce the same in you, there are things that can help:
- Stay cool - maybe using a small handheld fan (this will be useful for your partner during the birth)
- Dab something under your nose that smells really good to you
- Avoid her trigger foods - if she doesn't get sick, neither will you.
(UK) You May Have to Pay for your Scan Pictures
I know this is the norm across the pond, but when my wife and I went to our 12 week scan, we didn't think to take any money.
The NHS is a free at point of use National Healthcare system. Pregnancy scans are not included in this. Each NHS trust charges a different amount for a print out of your scan photo. Some trusts will charge you a few pounds, ours charged us £10 for a single photo.
Oh...and most hospitals only accept cash.
Pregnant Women Pee....a lot.
Unborn babies seem to think that the female bladder is some sort of squeeze toy, to be played with as often as possible...particularly at night. Your partner is going to start using the bathroom much more now she is pregnant. So make sure the seat is down and the bowl is clean!
If you are planning a trip you need to factor this in. If you are the sort of driver who only stops mid-journey if the highway suddenly and mysteriously stops, you are going to need to make allowances for your partner's pee-schedule. She is not going every 30 minutes just to annoy you.
Would you touch a strangers pregnancy bump?
Pregnant Women Sleep...a lot
I was always amazed that my wife would wake up on a Saturday morning and, within a matter of hours, would be asleep on the sofa for hours at a time. Returning home from work I would often come home to my wife asleep on the couch.
It is perhaps misleading to say that pregnant women sleep a lot - more accurate would be to say they are constantly tired and are sleeping whilst you are awake. With a normal sleep cycle heavily disrupted due to a kicking sproglet and the constant urge to pee, pregnant women need to make up the difference where they can.
Be sympathetic to this. Your partner is not just being lazy or trying to get out of doing the chores. She is growing another person inside her and lugging it around all day. It would take it out of you too!
Pregnant Women Shouldn't Eat for Two
Pregnant women only need around 100 - 300 calories extra a day, particularly in the first few months. The more weight she gains during pregnancy, the more she will have to lose when the baby arrives. You don't want to turn into the food police, but you wat to be the voice of restraint - particularly after any nausea passes.
After the first trimester (12 weeks) a weight gain of around 1 pound (0.5kg) per week is considered normal. A total weight gain on average should be between 25-35 pounds (11.5-16kg)
Books for Dads-to-Be
Don't be put off! This book has been my Bible. It takes you through all of the stages of pregnancy and beyond. Great advice in a down-to-earth fashion. Includes advice on budgeting, preparing the nursery, birthing options and huges amounts of things you never thought of but will be glad you know!
It is Safe to have Sex during Pregnancy
...although your partner may not want it!
Your penis is not long enough to hit or poke the baby during sex. You are not going to crush the baby during sex (your partner will probably punch you before this happens). The baby cannot see your penis during sex. Your semen is not going to coat the baby upon completion of sex.
Sex is perfectly healthy during pregnancy and is a perfectly acceptable way of being intimate with your partner (take advantage of this while you can - in 9 months time your sex life will take an abrupt downturn). However, you may wish to speak to your doctor first (i.e before sex) if your partner has ever had any of the following:
- Heavy Bleeding during pregnancy
- Premature Labour
- Weakened cervix
You should also seek medical advice if your partner currently is experiencing
- Being pregnant with multiples (that's twins or more)
- Leaking Amniotic Fluid
- Placenta praevia