This is the first of a four-part series of blogs I’ve decided to start with tips for dads and partners. There will be three parts to this series, make sure you sign up here to be a member at the top of this page, or click here to subscribe to our email list so you can see the rest of our upcoming posts for dads.
Mummas, make sure you share this with your partner!
As a mum of two with a supportive partner, as well as a dear friend to many others around me who have also had babies, I am here to share some tips for new dads,dads-to-be, and partners on how to be an amazing supportive partner and dad throughout your partners pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period. Read on to see my favourite tips:
While some women are lucky and get to experience the “glow” of pregnancy, there are many others who experience some of the really challenging pregnancy symptoms. Every woman’s experience is different, and you should regularly check in with your partner and see what she is experiencing, and what you can do to support her throughout the pregnancy and beyond.
Support your partner through pregnancy fatigue:
Pregnancy fatigue is next level. Think of the tiredness you feel from a huge exhausting week while not sleeping much. Now imagine that fatigue continuing for months on end. This is what pregnancy fatigue is like. It tends to peak once during the first trimester, then a second peak at the very end of pregnancy. Support your partner through this. Encourage her to take naps or go to bed early or sleep late. Don’t plan things for late at night. Take over some of the chores so that she can rest. Provide practical support as much as you can so that she can rest every day or as often as she needs.
Support your partner through morning sickness:
Most women experience some level of morning sickness pregnancy. It can range from slight nausea through to such severe nausea and vomiting that the pregnancy mother needs to go to hospital to be treated for dehydration. Thankfully this most severe morning sickness is rare (Hyperemesis Gravidarum). If your partner is experiencing morning sickness, there are a few things you can do to support them. Getting her a small snack, such as crackers or toast, before she gets out of bed in the morning can be helpful to preventing early morning nausea. Smells can also be very triggering for morning sickness, and the smells of foods cooking are common. Help her out by preparing food for her and allowing her to be away from any smells that might cause nausea. Ask her what foods are helpful for her nausea. Usually carbohydrate rich foods are helpful for morning sickness. Help her out with any chores or jobs that need doing, as doing housework while nauseous or throwing up is utterly terrible.
Attend appointments with her:
There are a lot of appointments that pregnant mothers need to attend. Go along with her, listen to the information that the Dr or midwife gives. Ask questions. Provide support for your partner during examinations and any time that she feels stressed or anxious. Be involved in making decisions, such as deciding on pre-natal screening tests, models of care, choice of healthcare provider, and choices around birth. Ask her what her preferences are, ask questions of the healthcare providers, and show an interest in it. Your partner will appreciate you taking an interest and an active role in her care.
Download baby apps and read books with her:
Learn about pregnancy and the baby along with her. There are apps that tell you all about the baby’s development, pregnancy symptoms to be aware of, and they all seem to tell you what size the baby is in relation to different fruits. When I was pregnant I loved reading when my baby was the size of an orange, then a pineapple, then watermelon. Be involved in all of this and share her excitement.
Prepare for birth:
Go to the birthing classes with her and help her prepare for birth. Learn about the different options for pain relief, birthing positions, and coping with labour and contractions. This is all incredibly helpful for you as a support person when it comes time for the birth. It helps you be able to advocate for your partner and her wishes during her labour and birth.
Prepare for parenting:
Have discussions about how you would like to parent your children. Discuss parenting styles and preferences with your partner. Read some parenting books and discuss your thoughts on them with your partner. Parenting is the responsibility of both parents and it is important that both of you have ideas on how you would like to parent.
Allow your partner a safe place to vent:
Pregnancy can be very draining and difficult. Many women also feel the need to put on a brave face in public about their pregnancy, and they really need a safe place to unload and talk about the challenging realities of pregnancy. Listen to your partner when they talk about their difficulties. You don’t need to solve their problems, or offer advice, just listen and be understanding. Don’t compare their experience to any others, or to any experience you have had. Help them feel heard, and be understanding and empathetic in your responses.
Look after other children as often as possible:
Dealing with pregnancy while also looking after another child (or children) is incredibly challenging. Take over as much of the care for your older children as possible. Make the snacks and meals, do the drop offs and pick ups, do the bath times as often as you possibly can. Your partner will likely be exhausted for much of her pregnancy, help her out as much and as often as you can.
Be a gatekeeper for any unhelpful family:
Some families can be particularly unhelpful. Mothers in law seem to have the worst reputation for this, but it can be any family or friend. If they are making unhelpful comments, or asking nosey questions, speak to them about it, tell them you and your partner are uncomfortable, leave from their house if necessary or tell them it’s time to leave your house.
Buy a gift for the mum-to-be:
Pregnancy is hard, and mums-to-be need to feel supported all the way through. Buy them a gift that is thoughtful and supports their needs and wellbeing during pregnancy. Not only does this demonstrate to the mum-to-be that their own self-care is important, it also shows them that you are supportive and loving, and gives them the opportunity to focus on themselves. Check out our selection of mum-to-be hampers and pregnancy gifts to find the perfect gift for the special mum-to-be in your life.
Want more tips? Sign up here to be notified when we post the next instalment of this series: Tips for dads: How to support your partner during labour and birth!
Rachel Preston Broughton is a mum of two beautiful children, and the owner of Baby and Mumma Gifts, a small business creating gifts for new mums during pregnancy and postpartum. Rachel is passionate about giving gifts that focus on the wellbeing of new mums and mums-to-be.