Men can and should share in the pregnancy experience as much as possible. Sometimes, because the woman is carrying the baby and experiencing all the physical changes, the man can feel left out. It's important for couples to share the excitement and work through any anxieties that may develop.
As a father-to-be, you should know that your lifestyle choices can impact the pregnancy. For example, second-hand smoke is harmful to those who breathe it. It can also harm developing babies. Any type of drug or alcohol abuse create an unhealthy environment. Changing unhealthy habits before the pregnancy will provide the best possible environment for your partner and the developing baby.
If you have struggled in the past to quit smoking, you may find that a pregnancy helps motivate you to finally quit.
Plus, changing your unhealthy habits may make it easier for the mom-to-be to change her own habits -- like stop smoking, cutting out alcohol, and eating a healthy diet. Work together and support each other!
The actual process of how a women's egg and a man's sperm combine and develop into a baby is amazing. Watch the changes that take place in your partner's body and learn about the baby's growth. This can inspire you to take a more active role in the pregnancy.
Go with your partner to some of her prenatal visits. You'll be able to hear the baby's heart beating and see what the baby looks like by ultrasound. You may even feel yourself begin to bond with the tiny life that has started. On the other hand, it's perfectly OK if you don't feel a connection to the baby at this point. Men react in various ways to this early stage of pregnancy.
Attending the birthing classes together is helpful for most couples. It can help bring couples closer during the pregnancy, and it gives you a chance to meet other people sharing the same experience. This is all a build-up to the finale -- the delivery!
Seeing your baby born is probably one of the most fulfilling experiences you will ever undertake. Seeing new life being born is totally amazing, so get ready!
Of course, it's not uncommon to have worries and anxieties about parenthood.
Often men have fears associated with being a good father and caretaker. Try to express all of these concerns with your partner. That way you can both work together to cope with the expected changes and plan your new arrival.
Talk about the fears that you may have. You may worry about the actual day of labor and delivery, about bringing a newborn baby home, and about how to manage the baby's care, your finances, and work logistics.
This is one of the biggest life changes that you will ever go through. It's normal to feel some anxiety. Once your baby is born, things will fall into place for you, your partner, and your new baby!
Reviewed By: John D. Jacobson, MD, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda Center for Fertility, Loma Linda, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.