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What Dads-To-Be Can Do For Their Wives: A Checklist For The Clueless
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  • The book What To Expect When You’re Expecting by Heidi Murkoff never seems to leave The New York Times Best Seller List. And it is still considered to be the most iconic, must-have book for parents-to-be. It is teeming with month-by-month chapters of answers to frequently asked questions about pregnancy and preparing for the arrival of the baby.

    A father's role in pregnancy

    The insightful pieces of advice are not for the pregnant mom only. It serves tips for the soon-to-be-father on handling changes that come with pregnancy and childbirth. Here are just some of the many tips for dads discussed in the book. 

    Keep your home free from smoking and stress

    The World Health Organization published the “Recommendations on Prevention and Management of Tobacco Use And Second-Hand Smoke Exposure in Pregnancy” in 2013. The guidelines declare that smoking increases the risk of serious complications such as miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, and premature labor.

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    Smoking is a no-no for pregnant women. But their partners (and other family members) need to quit cigarettes or tobacco temporarily, especially when they are their pregnant wives. Secondhand smoke can still expose her and the baby to toxins that stick on clothes and skin.

    What other parents are reading

    The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) featured a study called “Couples’ Communication Skills and Anxiety of Pregnancy: A Narrative Review.” It shared the value of high levels of positive communication between a couple and how it dramatically impacts the mental health of the couple and their children. It highlighted that “a good relationship of a couple can have a protective effect against stressors, including anxiety of pregnancy.”

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    Dads can address life changes and manage expectations by acknowledging that their marriage will change when the baby comes. You will need to talk to your wife about time management and how you need to prioritize time together even when the baby arrives.

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    Dads can plan and consider taking paternity leave in the early weeks of a baby’s life. They can already start prioritizing time for prenatal checkups to help their wives prepare for the baby’s arrival.

    Dads can help their wives cut costs by accepting hand-me-downs from generous relatives. They can also read up and learn how to support their wives during childbirth and breastfeeding journey.

    What other parents are reading

    Turn those sympathy pains into something productive

    According to an article in the Muller Journal of Medical Sciences and Research entitled “Couvade Syndrome Among 1st Time Expectant Fathers,” there are physical symptoms that first-time fathers experience like changes in appetite, indigestion, nausea, fatigue, and even food cravings. It is wise to talk to your family doctor about when you are experiencing these sympathy pains.

    Don’t forget that it is not just your wife who needs a support system — you need to contend with the challenges of fatherhood. Find a friend who recently experienced becoming a new father to gain perspective. It is good to have regular conversations with your wife or partner and talk about your insecurities. With a child in the picture, you need to be a team more than ever.

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    Go the extra mile for your wife — be extra-involved!

    When you start feeling these physiological changes, you can channel these uncomfortable feelings into “productive pursuits” like cooking dinner or helping out your spouse.

    Be sensitive to her needs, especially when pregnancy hormones make her moody. If your wife has aversions to a particular food, keep the offending foods out of sight and smelling distance. Be patient, and don’t take your wife’s outbursts personally.

    What other parents are reading

    Be present in every prenatal checkup, and don’t be afraid to ask your wife’s doctor questions. The doctor can give you insights on what your wife may be physically and emotionally going through in her pregnancy. Share special moments like hearing the baby’s heartbeat, and seeing the baby grow in ultrasound viewings and pictures. Read pregnancy books.  Talk and sing to your baby in the womb. Do your research on baby doctors.

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    Keep your wife company when she can’t sleep. According to a 2018 study in Medical News Today, 44.2% of the 486 pregnancies studied involved insomnia during the first few months of pregnancy. In “Insomnia During Pregnancy: 5 Best Natural Remedies,” relaxation techniques like meditation can help. Practicing better sleep hygiene by not using screens like smartphones and watching television while in bed is also recommended.

    A father has a huge role to play in showing strength and support for his wife, especially at a time when they are happily expecting their baby to be born.

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