It’s definitely safe to assume that the woman who is carrying the baby will be going through the most changes during pregnancy – emotionally, mentally and physically. But as a partner, you can be a team player. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a supportive and involved partner during pregnancy can lead to the following positive health outcomes:
- Increased likelihood of giving up harmful behaviors such as smoking
- Lower rates of preterm births and growth problems for babies
- Less anxiety during pregnancy
- Reduced stress following childbirth
As a partner, being supportive means educating yourself about pregnancy, attending prenatal care visits with your partner and also making healthy lifestyle choices. A typical pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks, divided into three trimesters. Each trimester lasts about three months. If you want to be with your partner every step of the way, prepare yourself on what to expect during each trimester.
Also, note that though an ultrasound and the date of the woman’s last menstrual period (LMP) are used to determine the estimated due date (EDD), most women don’t actually give birth on that date. In fact, according to ACOG, “only 1 in 20 women actually give birth on their estimated due date.” We’ll provide a few more tips for what to expect during each trimester and how you a partner can be supportive during each of these times.
During pregnancy, a woman needs to make sure that their health is of utmost importance, as their lifestyle choices will impact the health and well-being of their baby. With this in mind, partners should encourage, emulate and support healthy lifestyle choices, too. Prepare and eat healthy meals together and encourage your partner to rest. Also, encourage your partner to exercise during pregnancy.
Drinking alcohol and smoking during pregnancy are also not safe. A recent study published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), found that smoking just one cigarette a day during pregnancy can double the chance of sudden, unexpected death for infants. Secondhand smoke is also harmful – it can cause low-birth rate, higher rates of asthma in children, respiratory infections, ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Therefore, both you and your partner should avoid smoking during pregnancy, and definitely avoid smoking inside your home or in the car.
Of course, there are other things you can do such as help out with the chores around the house (especially without being asked). Tell your partner she is beautiful, especially as her body changes during pregnancy, and be encouraging and understanding. Also, talking feelings with one another. It doesn’t have to be one-sided. Sharing your feelings and experiences with each other is important and can help you both throughout this exciting but often nerve-wracking time. It could also bring you and your partner together.
Check back with us as we’ll post more tips on what to expect during each trimester of your partner’s pregnancy.