How can you support your wife

Add as favorite

Pregnancy is seen as mostly a mom thing. Few women believe that dad really gets it. And, the fact is, we mostly don't. We talk about it. We show interest. We empathize (without going overboard). We even try to read about it, at least a little. But, let's face it, our experience of having a baby is fairly removed until we're face to face with diapering and sleep deprivation.

No dad can possibly relate to the minute-by-minute, close-to-the-heart, kick-in-the-gut reality of carrying a baby to term.
But we can participate. We can be there to listen to the first heartbeat, we can pore over the naming books together, and more. Here are some ways you can be there, too.

Pay attention

  • You can't be pregnant, but you can participate by being an active observer. Let your wife know you're enjoying seeing her belly grow.
  • Feel the baby kick.
  • Play music and read to your baby.
  • Keep a father's journal, both as a way to record your inner thoughts and to help you think about what you'd like to discuss with your spouse.
  • Keep track of your baby's development during pregnancy; no doubt you'll be amazed.

Be there

  • Try to make it to at least some of your partner's many prenatal care appointments, and ask questions. (It shows you're involved, not just a bystander.)
  • Also, don't miss the chance to get a glimpse of your baby during an ultrasound.
  •  If your partner has an amniocentesis or other procedure to test for genetic defects, make sure you're there. (One dad we know missed the appointment, and he still hears about it five years later).

Get healthier too

  • As your wife tries to modify her diet, give up smoking, and drink more fluids, you can support her by sharing these lifestyle changes.
  • Eliminate bad-for-baby foods that might tempt her.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Spend time walking or exercising together.
  • And try to find ways to cut back on the hours you spend at your workplace, so you have more time at home together.

Love her changing body

  • Take a photo of your sweetie in profile at each month of pregnancy to record how her body changes.
  • Understand, too, that as her pregnancy progresses, she may feel unattractive at times. Even if you think that she is, don't let on.
  • Tell her she's beautiful every day.
  •  Meanwhile, you may also find that your sex life gets a PG rating for a while. What with hormone changes, back pain, morning sickness, and an understandable preoccupation with the stirrings of life, sex can take a hit.

Go the extra mile

  • Your wife may be intensely demanding. Go with it.
  • She's doing all the heavy lifting. The least you can do is shop for groceries, send her flowers, and indulge her 11 p.m. demands for cottage cheese and strawberry jam.

Memorize the route to the hospital

  • This may seem obvious, but unless you're away when your partner's water breaks, you'll probably be making that drive to the hospital for delivery. This is when your memory cells go dim. So do a dry run; make sure you know the route cold. Your partner will appreciate it, since it will be one less thing she needs to worry about.

Be a partner in labor

  • Be prepared to support her.
  • Record music she wants to hear during labor, prepare some distractions that you can bring to the hospital, and be ready to embrace her and coach her, soothe her and massage her, feed her ice chips and offer her liquids.
  • If you're up for it, ask the doctor if you can "catch" the baby, that is, support him or her as he or she emerges from the birth canal, and cut the umbilical cord.

Shop, talk, and make lots of decisions together

  • By the time your baby arrives, you and your partner should have bought a newborn wardrobe, prepared the nursery, bought and safely installed a car seat, (hospitals won't let you drive baby home without one) settled on boy and girl options for your child's name, breast- or bottle- feed. And you thought you had nothing to do. Even if you change your minds later, at least you'll have started the discussion.

Prepare for your new life as a family

  • Get life insurance, and make out a will if you haven't already.
  • Start a college savings fund.
  • Childproof the house.

Last but not least, buy your partner a gift she'll always remember. After all, she's about to give you a pretty incredible gift herself!