Your Role As A Father In Pregnancy
If you are like most men, learning that you will soon be a father fills you with many new and sometimes conflicting feelings.
You are probably proud and happy that you will shortly have a child. At the same time, you have doubts about how this will change your life. You may question whether this is the right time to have a child. These are normal feelings. You will, in your own time, resolve these conflicts. This is a special event in your life, and by actively taking part; you can enjoy it to the fullest.
The Importance of Fathers
Much time has been spent studying expectant mothers and pregnancy. In contrast, little time has been given to studying the other half of the parent team the father. Research has shown, however, that fathers play a vital role in the outcome of pregnancy. Too many men feel that once pregnancy has occurred, they can do nothing else until it’s time to bring the mother and baby home from the hospital. This is not true. Studies have shown that women who have supportive partners have fewer problems during pregnancy. Likewise, the process of giving birth, labor and delivery are usually shorter and easier for these women. The move into parenthood can be smoother for both parents if the expectant father takes an active, helpful role in the mother’ s pregnancy
The Process of Pregnancy
AS pregnancy proceeds, many changes take place in an expectant mother. These changes involve emotional as well as physical adjustment to the new life being created. They may affect many aspects of the woman’s lifestyle – work, travel, sex, sleep and eating habits. It is helpful to understand the changes that happen throughout pregnancy.
In the first 3 months, many of the discomforts of pregnancy first occur. Nausea is very common, as is the need to urinate often. Pregnancy women often find that they need more sleep to unction at their best. This might require 10- or 15- minute rest periods during the day.
This is also when most women have mixed feelings about being pregnant; they are subject to mood swings. These feelings may have little or nothing to do with what occurs from day to day, but the feelings are normal.
You can do much to help your partner through this time by understanding that these changes are a natural part of this stage of pregnancy. You should be patient with her needs and moods. This is also a good time to stress positive feelings. Let each other know that pregnancy is trying for both of you, but that the outcome will be worth lt.
By the beginning of the second trimester, about the fourth month of pregnancy, the process begins to smooth out. The mother’s body, while still growing with the fetus, has become adjusted to the changes that are a part of pregnancy, and she feels more comfortable. During this time, the expectant mother usually begins to enjoy being pregnant. It is a time of planning and sharing for most couples.
Many women need special reassurance during the second trimester. With the increasing change of her shape, a woman needs to know that she’s still feminine and still desirable to her partner. Likewise, this is a time when the expectant father, seeing the change in his partner’s body, wrongly assumes she no longer wants to have sexual relations. Couples express their sexuality in their own unique way, and there is no reason for this to change during pregnancy. Feeling desirable and wanted is even more important right now, as is the need to share warmth and intimacy.
The third trimester, is often the most difficult, even though it is the closest to birth. The expectant mother is impatient with the pregnancy, tired of being uncomfortable and, not uncommonly, afraid of the upcoming birth. As a result, she often withdraws into herself, leaving the expectant father feeling left out and confused. By understanding that this is a part of pregnancy and not taking it personally, you can be a greater help than you may think. One important thing you can do is to discuss how you can help during the labor and delivery process.
Sex During Pregnancy
In a normal pregnancy—one without complications—sex is generally considered safe. Most couples can continue to have sexual intercourse until shortly before the baby is born.
There are some conditions for which the doctor may advise you to limit or avoid sex for the health of the mother or baby. In most cases, however, sex will not harm the fetus.
The basic guide to sex during pregnancy is the comfort of the expectant mother. You and your partner may want to try different positions to achieve sexual satisfaction. For example, the rear-entry position for vaginal intercourse causes less pressure on the woman’s abdomen and limits the amount of penetration by the man’s penis.
It is important to share your feelings with each other. You may both need to make emotional as well as physical adjustments to continue your usual sexual relationship.
Know Your Obstetrician
Although the specialty of obstetrics is devoted to the care of pregnant women, obstetricians have long recognised that the expectant mother is a part of a family unit. Her family plays an important role in whether she follows medical advice during pregnancy.
Across the country, more fathers are taking an active role in their partners’ pregnancy, labor, and delivery. An essential key to the success a delivery is the opportunity during pregnancy for the expectant father and obstetrician to meet. Such meetings permit the father to gain confidence in the obstetrician and to seek answers to any questions he may have. The obstetrician can get to know the expectant father and enlist his aid in the care of the expectant mother.
When labor begins, a prepared, involved father can contribute the common goal of delivering a healthy, happy baby.
There are a number of courses that help prepare couples for labor and delivery. Most programs have three components:
Information about pregnancy and birth
Exercises and breathing techniques for the mother to use during labor
Information about the specific role of the father as a coach during labor