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A Father’s Primer for Pregnancy, Part Two
(In this two part article series, new fathers-to-be are introduced to the role they play in providing prenatal and postnatal support and comfort toward their expectant partner.)
The presence of a supportive partner during pregnancy is important. For many first time fathers, the prenatal process is a mystery right after being told that the pregnancy test is positive.
Here are some useful tips for expecting fathers/partners of labor patients.
Letting your pregnant partner know that her health is a top priority is one way that you can provide a source of comfort and support. Eating healthy meals and exercising together are two ways that expecting couples can share and support each other.
Plenty of rest is also important to the pregnant patient as the pregnancy advances.
It is especially important that pregnant women avoid the use of tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs (including marijuana) during all stages of pregnancy.
Second hand smoke should also be avoided by your pregnant partner, as studies show that it may increase the risk of having a low birth weight baby.
Children and infants exposed to second hand smoke also have increased rates of asthma, respiratory and ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Preparing for a new baby.
There are a number of things that fathers/partners can do to make the labor process as smooth as possible.
Sign up and take a prenatal class with your pregnant partner. Fathers/partners will learn their role and contributions during the birth process. You will also be given a tour of the hospital’s facility. Details on parking, visiting hours, and where to enter the hospital to locate the labor and delivery unit are also addressed.
Purchase and learn to install a rear facing infant car seat. Become familiar in advance with the mechanics of a car seat and its proper installation.
Update your vaccinations. Flu and tetanus-diptheria-pertussis (TDAP) vaccines should be current for fathers/partners well before your baby arrives home.
Learn how to child proof your home and take a class in infant cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Helping your partner during labor.
You may be asked by your pregnant partner to be a source of comfort and support during the labor process.
You can be helpful to your pregnant partner by watching a movie or playing games with her during labor. If allowed you may accompany her on short walks in the labor and delivery unit. You may also help time the frequency of contractions.
Words of comfort and support, neck and back massages may also be helpful.
And finally, you are a source of encouragement during the pushing stage.
Support after the baby comes home.
After the delivery, many mothers are tired. Look for ways to help your partner get some much need rest.
For nursing mothers, you can help by bringing the baby to the mother. Learn how to burp and rock the baby to sleep after feeding.
If the baby is using a bottle for feeding, offer to help prepare bottles and learn how to feed the baby yourself.
In all, fathers and supportive partners of a pregnant patient are an integral part of nurturing and welcoming a new baby into the family.
Being aware of how you can help your pregnant partner before, during, and after delivery are important steps to take as your family grows.
If you have any questions as to how to help your partner before, during, or after delivery, please feel free to discuss any of your questions or concerns with one of our physicians.
Northwest Women's Consultants