Congratulations! We are pregnant...
For Partners: A parenting guide from Spirit of life Traditional Midwifery
– Though she is carrying your child safely in her womb, you're all in this together. So while you may not know exactly what to do to support the mother emotionally in every situation during the phases of the pregnancy, thinking on your feet, and always treating her with compassion and empathy, will go a long way to help you all have a healthy and happy pregnancy outcome. So here are some things to consider which hopefully will help you get through the 40-or so weeks, which is equal to about 9 months. The 9 months of pregnancy are divided into three 3-month periods called trimesters, which we will explore trimester by trimester.
Use the links below to learn more about Waterbirth
A PARTNER'S GUIDE TO PREGNANCY
Trimester 1: .
Get ready to find out what the next nine months will bring. Check out this expectant partner's survival guide. Your partner is pregnant, and you're going to be a parent. Say it again: a parent! After all, it doesn't look like there's much going on in there yet, does it? But actually, there is an incredible amount happening in these early weeks, in fact, by the time your partner is twelve weeks pregnant your baby will have formed all of his or her essential parts. While your life will probably go on pretty much as normal for a while, your partner's life may already be turned upside down by the emotional and physical effects of pregnancy. Luckily, however, there is plenty that you can do to support your partner through the enormous changes that her body is experiencing as it diverts so much energy into making a new person. Go Back
What to expect: Trimester 1 of Pregnancy
The first 14 weeks of your partner’s pregnancy is called the first trimester. We recommend that you and your partner start reading and researching everything you can learn about pregnancy and birth from the moment you find out that you're pregnant. It may take a little longer for the fact of the pregnancy to sink in for you, as you're not the one carrying the baby.
Tip One: Choosing a health care provider to care for your partner and your baby during your pregnancy is one of the biggest decisions you'll make. Your family's choices are no longer limited to traditional in hospital births supported by an obstetrician or a knowledgeable family doctor. Midwifes are now delivering a growing number of births in the US. Learn more about Spirit of Life Traditional Midwifery services. (http://www.spiritoflifemidwifery/services.html)
Tip Two: You can effectively demonstrate your interest on what your partner is likely to be experiencing at this time, by creating a well researched list of resources, reference and books to read together. It's a good start to being able to support her through the experience, as well helps you both understand what to expect.
Tip Three: Check your employee handbook, or schedule an appointment with someone at your human resources department, to make sure you understand your company's rules on paternity leave and time off. You'll want quite a bit of it, both now (for her practitioner appointments) and later (when the baby arrives). Remind her to check her company's pregnancy policies too.
Tip Four: Whip out that calculator — it's time to work out a realistic budget. You'll have quite a few new expenses coming up: maternity clothes, layette items such as clothing and bedding for your newborn, baby gear, and medical co-pays - and unforeseen expenses!
Take on more chores - Pregnancy can be incredibly tiring - and not just when you're carrying around an obviously heavy bump. Many women feel completely exhausted in the early weeks, perhaps even before they realize that they are pregnant. Don't be too surprised if your partner is suddenly needing to nap in the middle of the day and hitting the sack early. And if she's also suffering from morning sickness she'll be left feeling even more exhausted. Offer her support by being understanding when she is tired, and by taking on a greater share of the household chores to give her more time for herself. Do encourage her to get plenty of rest, exercise and fresh air to restore her batteries. If your partner seems excessively tired then make sure that she mentions it to her midwife - she may have issues with low iron levels.
Morning sickness is nausea and vomiting, which can be quite common in these first few months; in fact, seven-in-ten pregnant women are affected by it to some degree. Despite its name, morning sickness can take hold at any time of day and vary from mild nausea to running for the bathroom at the slightest hint of an offensive smell - and an offensive smell could be anything, including you, your cologne, or even breakfast! If she is suffering then you can help by taking over cooking duties, but be aware of things that may provoke her nausea, and by stocking up on the food and drinks that she can manage to keep down. No one knows for sure what causes nausea during pregnancy, but it's probably some combination of the many physical changes taking place in your partner's body. Some possible causes include rising levels of hormones such as Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and estrogen. The hCG hormone rises rapidly during early pregnancy. No one knows how hCG contributes to nausea, but it's a prime suspect because the timing. Nausea tends to peak around the same time as levels of hCG. As well, in instances in which women have higher levels of hCG, such as carrying multiples, are associated with higher rates of nausea and vomiting. Estrogen is a hormone, which also rises rapidly in early pregnancy, is another suspect. (It's possible that other hormones play a role as well.)
What about sex? - Even though there is no reason that couples cannot engage in sex during pregnancy, your partner's desire level may decrease due to her feeling tired, nauseous and emotionally stressed, she just may not be very interested in sex for the time being. She also may simply be feeling very unsexy right now. You'll need to be patient and understanding about this. If you can make her feel that you are interested in her and find her sexy, without putting pressure on her for sex, then all the better. Take some comfort from the fact that many couples find that their sex life picks up again in pregnancy and it may even be more pleasurable than before.
Of course it may be that you are the one who can't face the idea of sex with a pregnant partner. If that is the case then do talk to your partner about it, but be very careful to reassure her that your concerns are based on your own questions or fears, not about her changing physical form.
Best advice of all here, don't expect anything. Every pregnancy and every couple is different, and while you can prepare for a few eventualities, you can't know how your partner or your partnership will be affected by the pregnancy. It's a good idea to be well-informed and to speak with other parents you know about what pregnancy can be like for both of you, but the main thing is to be patient with your partner, listen to any problems she may have, be understanding and help out where you can, and to make sure that she gets medical help with any pregnancy problems that she might suffer. Go Back
The Second Trimester: weeks 14–28 of Pregnancy.
Let's explore the emotional challenges of pregnancy for both you and your partner. It is a fact that there are major emotional, hormonal and physical changes going on in the body of the pregnant woman. They can expect to have nausea and vomiting and sex may be an issue for the couple during and even right after the pregnancy. It's important to understand that pregnancy is a time when it's not the status quo. Your partner is not the same person she was before she got pregnant." The beginning of second trimester may leave your partner feeling some relief from the early symptoms of pregnancy. The worst of the nausea has usually passed, and your baby isn't big enough to crowd her abdominal organs and make her uncomfortable. However, her body is about to undergo some dramatic physical changes from head to toe. Go Back
Second Trimester: What to Expect...
Your partner's rapidly changing physical appearance; you both will notice changes like larger breasts, growing belly, uterine contractions (Braxton Hicks contractions), skin changes, stretch marks, nasal and gum problems, dizziness, leg cramps, shortness of breath, vaginal discharge, and bladder and kidney infections. Read more details about these changes at Mayo Clinic. (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/pregnancy/PR00018/FLUSHCACHE=0&UPDATEAPP=false).
As your partner goes through the physical changes of the second trimester of pregnancy you can be proactive in suggesting or researching options for child birth classes. You can also make sure that you are participating in her prenatal appointments. This is also a great time to seek out parenting classes and/or engaging her in conversations about your philosophies on rearing your family. The second trimester is when your partner will be involved in test-taking, which can cause anxiety for some women, although some tests are considered routine. You both need to take this time to educate your selves on your rights as parents in your birth choices. Though you may be told about many screenings and tests based on the mother's age, you should know your rights to choose which test you take or leave. For instance, If she is over 35 years of age you may hear that you are in need of some form of genetic screening. You midwife can be a great resource to get a professional opinion on testing as well as she can direct you on where to find the Rights of Childbearing Women. Usually by the 14th week of pregnancy your health care provider will use a special listening device, called a doptone, to hear your baby's heartbeat. Somewhere between the 16th and 20th weeks you'll also feel the baby's first fluttery movements Go Back
You and your partner are entering the final stretch of your pregnancy, and your emotions are probably going to follow her physical changes. Her body may feel strange to her - she may lose her balance easily, feel unwieldy, and have difficulty getting comfortable at night. These are all normal parts of pregnancy, but they may leave her feeling frustrated. Keep in mind that this is all temporary, and soon you'll be holding your new baby in your arms and it will all have been worth it. If possible, line up a pregnancy massage, schedule some one-on-one time with your partner, and take some time for yourself.
You both also likely will be experiencing some anxiety about your impending birth experience, but educating yourselves about the upcoming events and making plans (and backup plans) can help you conquer these feelings. This is the trimester you'll really want to start preparing for your birth: make a birth plan but keep it flexible, line up help for your first few days after the birth, and simply rest up for the big event. Toward the very end, she may have a burst of energy, "nesting," but she needs to try to keep it at a minimum and conserve her energy for labor.
While mood swings and varied emotions are common and certainly normal and expected during pregnancy, if she expresses that she feels she is experiencing anything out of the ordinary, do not hesitate to call your health care provider. According to www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy health, increased irritability, interrupted sleep, changes in eating patterns, inability to concentrate, memory loss, or depression lasting longer than two weeks are all signs that you both should contact your HCP immediately. Severe mood swings and depression are treatable, even during pregnancy, and help is available. Go Back