The Things Your Pregnant Partner May Be Too Shy To Ask You For
Lately, talks about starting a family have been increasing in frequency between my wife and I. Don’t worry, I’m not sweating or anything — I swear.
As many of you know, this can be both very exciting and very terrifying. Thinking ahead, I’ve been curious and slightly nervous about how I can best support my wife during pregnancy. I’ve also learned the hard way that it’s safer not to assume, so I decided to do some research — and consult the experts.
By the speed with which moms responded, and the length of suggestions, it was clear some of the less-than-pregnant partners out there might be missing some steps. So, here it goes.
Expecting partners, grab a pen and get ready for some life-savers.
This Is Not “Their” Thing
I put this one first because it was stressed the most. Partners, if you take nothing else away, this guiding principle can help you avoid everything else listed below — you’re both pregnant. I repeat, you’re both pregnant. Your commitment to everything pregnancy-related should be the same, if not more, than your pregnant partner’s. They’re growing a human life — it is okay for you to mae an effort to assume all other roles until further notice.
Change Your Habits Too
Your daily routine is probably going to change. Late nights, junk food, social functions, drinking, and exercise were all reported areas of significant change for pregnant partners and, while many did admit that they told their partners to do as they would, they also admitted that they wished for a bit more solidarity.
Maybe you also give up drinking during pregnancy and, instead, look forward to some celebratory drinks together after you become parents. Try suggesting to leave the event early, so your pregnant partner doesn’t feel like a burden if they’re tired. Participate in their new cravings. In the middle of the night, when they need to walk, go for a walk with them. If you’re the planner in the relationship, try not to over-plan during this time to avoid adding unneeded stress. Relaxing nights at home can be fun too!
Make Prenatal Appointments A Priority
These appointments are your chance to check-in with a professional. They can be a scary and isolating experience for someone newly-pregnant. When done together, they can be a great learning and bonding experience. Engage, and remember the questions your pregnant partner may forget to ask. I was told “pregnancy brain” can be a pretty real thing at times. Their words, not mine.
Educate Yourself On Being Pregnant
Congrats! You’ve just heard you’re going to be a parent! Now, go grab a book on pregnancy. Grab a few books. Your pregnant partner likely has a million questions, heaps of nerves, and the desire to do everything right.
Growing your knowledge in this new area of your life will give you the confidence to respond appropriately to changes during pregnancy. It will make you a better partner, and ultimately a better parent.
Appropriate Affirmations & Compliments
News flash. Things are going to change for your pregnant partner, both physically and mentally. This is not your time to judge, fix, or make comments. It is your time to understand, listen, and respect the beautiful and taxing changes your partner is undergoing. Subtle adjustments in what you say stand to make a huge difference here.
One mom I spoke with said comments like “I love seeing you become a mom” were empowering to hear. Another mom said, with all the body changes, she really struggled with self-image and would have loved if her husband reminded her that she was beautiful more often.
Nuance is important here. “You’re beautiful” when compared against “you look beautiful,” for example, is a comment that emphasizes your partner as a whole and is less focused on fleeting appearances — a topic which one mother said she’d have preferred to be avoided altogether.
What will serve your partner will really come down to their individual confidences, insecurities, and needs — so now’s the time to dig deep and be thoughtful.
Make Cooking & Nutrition A Priority
Pregnancy is a lot — worrying about eating healthy is not something everyone wants to add on top of it. Here’s another window for support.
Now that you’ve read through a few books on pregnancy, you will know what your partner can and cannot have. Do your research on prenatal nutrition, healthy food choices and the best cooking methods for you and your partner.
Pack them snacks, lunch, and water for their day. Always assume it’s your turn to make dinner. Oh — and don’t forget that food aversions and cravings can sneak up on your partner and can change without notice. The best thing you can do is be patient and adjust.
Keep Your Cool
Keep your cool — even if they may be losing theirs. One mom explained how her hormones were continually changing during pregnancy. She said the best thing her partner could’ve done is just be supportive.
Don’t take it personally and try to understand that she too is overwhelmed. You don’t always need you to try and fix everything, and sometimes the best thing you can do is to simply be calm, be loving and be there.
Time to Help More Around The House
Even if you’re typically great at pulling your weight in the housekeeping department, it is time to step it up a bit more. Most of the supermoms that I talked to explained that, when their partner was proactive in this category, it helped relieve a lot of added stress. Energy levels and various body aches can change daily. Taking household duties off the “to-do” list will allow your pregnant partner to focus their energy on where it is genuinely needed.
SuperPartner Tip: Wash their favorite items often. Favorite robe, blanket, slippers? Whatever it is, it’s way better when it’s clean and fluffy.
As you’ve likely learned from reading your pregnancy books, some household duties are now 100% your responsibility for health and safety reasons, including potentially harmful ingredients in your household cleaning products. might be time to swap those out as well.
If it is within your budget, it may even be a good idea to invest in professional cleaning. This will give you both more time for the next category.
Give Physical Affection & Massage
Engage your spidey senses here. This is about them, not you. With ever-changing hormones and body-aches, intentionally putting more effort into offering massages, holding hands and giving hugs all will go a long way.These little efforts can help your pregnant partner to feel safe and secure in your relationship.
The moms I spoke with unanimously agreed that they wanted to keep up “the spark” while pregnant. That spark can take many different forms. At times when they felt detached from their bodies — an experience many reported having — non-sexual, safe, and intimate touch went a long way.
Take A Shower
Brush your teeth. Wash your clothes. This should all go without saying, but keeping up on your hygiene is really important! Aversions to certain smells can arise randomly during pregnancy. Make sure that smell isn’t you.
For the newbies, that means “after the baby is born.” Everything above doesn’t end here. During this time, the newborn often still requires more of one parent. Make sure your partner has time to rest and recover. Take every duty you can off their plate and work hard to support and communicate. Everyone is going to need time to adjust.
Do you have suggestions? Tell us about your experience!
Tags: dads, partners, postpartum, pregnancy, pregnancy advice, pregnancy tips