Is your partner pregnant? Here’s what you can do to give support and stay strong yourself
Pregnancy and new parenthood are a big life shift for both parents. Of course, it goes without saying that women take on the physical changes involved with carrying a pregnancy to term, delivery and things such as breastfeeding afterwards, but partners play an important role in the journey too.
Let’s take a look at the partner’s journey through this exciting time – for all of the ups, downs and in betweens.
Supporting your partner in the early trimesters
In the early days, it might be just yourself and your partner who are aware of the pregnancy. This is why the first trimester is called ‘the silent trimester’. This is a good time for bonding over the future together and seeking out information from books on what to expect, before you announce it to your wider friends and family.
In the early trimesters, your partner may feel run down and nauseated – they might become tired easily and certain smells or foods may make them ill. This is something to be mindful of and helpful with if possible.
If you are a smoker, be aware that secondhand smoke affects the baby, so either quit or don’t smoke around your partner.
Later on in pregnancy
No doubt you’ll both be excited and nervous as the due date approaches, especially if this is a first-time baby. The better your relationship is during this time period, the more you can open up and share with one another. Communication about the future and your plans is key, as well as discussions about the labour to assuage any anxieties the two of you may have.
Be mindful that if your partner is on maternity leave before the baby is born, she may be lonely too. Let your partner know she is not alone in this, despite the fact she may feel at this point quite daunted by all of the changes and the upcoming prospect of labour.
One way to bond at this time is to attend all of the medical appointments together and sign up for an ante-natal class together. Take on this pregnancy like a team – it will benefit both of you to feel mutually supported and respected.
Being there for childbirth
Make a plan together for the birth. Most people stay with their partner during labour, but chat with each other to see what your partner would like. Talking about a birth plan together will help set both your worries at rest and plan for how best to support your partner during the process.
Coping with your own experiences
While your primary thoughts might be ‘How can I help my partner?’ it’s important to remember that we can best help others when we are looking after ourselves too. While postnatal depression is typically considered something that affects women, men can experience it too. A new baby is a big responsibility and can feel overwhelming.
Be sure to talk to your GP if you feel you are struggling to cope or experience a low mood for an extended period of time. Watch out for your partner’s emotional state too, and try to listen to one another throughout this big, exciting new adventure. Congratulations!
If you’d like some further reading on maternity and fertility from the team, click here.