If you’re the partner of a pregnant woman, the closer the two of you are, the more you’ll be able to share the experience of pregnancy and birth. It can be a nerve wracking prospect, but remember to be prepared, be patient, stay positive and stay calm.
In the early weeks (up to around 14 weeks of pregnancy) pregnant women can feel very tired and sick. Certain smells and tastes might make your partner feel nauseous, and she might only want to sleep. She might be irritable about things that seem small to you. After around 14 weeks, many pregnant women find that much of their energy returns, and your partner may not want to be given special treatment any more.
Towards the end of pregnancy (around 27 to 40 weeks) the baby can feel very heavy. The tiredness and irritability of the early weeks often returns and your partner may start to feel worried or frightened about the birth. If she’s on maternity leave from work, she might feel lonely without the company of her colleagues. If your partner is anxious, encourage her to talk about it to her midwife, to you or to family or friends.
The basic health advice is just as important for you as it is for her:
Eating well is much easier if you’re doing it together – start picking up healthy food habits you’ll want to pass on to your child, and make sure you know what foods to avoid in pregnancy
Cigarette smoke is dangerous for babies, so if you’re a smoker, get advice on how to stop smoking – if you continue to smoke, don’t smoke near your partner, don’t offer her cigarettes, and don’t leave your cigarettes lying around
Go with your partner to the doctor if she’s worried, or be sure to talk it through when she gets home. Be there if she has a pregnancy ultrasound scan and see your baby on the screen – if she needs to have extra tests, your support is especially important.
Antenatal classes and labour
The more you know about labour and birth, the more you’ll be able to help. Find out about antenatal classes for couples, or partners:
- HEY Baby parent education and East Riding antenatal classes
- There is also a service you can access via Hull Women and Children’s Facebook page called ‘Ask the midwife’.
Just because your partner is the one carrying the baby doesn’t mean her pregnancy has no impact on you. Whether the pregnancy has been planned for months or years, or is unexpected, you’ll probably feel a range of emotions. A baby means new responsibilities that you may not feel ready for, whatever your age. You and the mum-to-be may have mixed feelings about the pregnancy. It’s normal for both of you to feel like this. The first pregnancy will change your life and change can be frightening, even if it’s something you’ve been looking forward to. Services such as Andy’s Man Club can offer additional support as well as your health professionals such as midwives, health visitors and GPs.