It takes two people to make a baby, but for obvious reasons moms seem to be much more involved in the pregnancy part than dads. In the last 20 years, dads have seriously been stepping up to bat during pregnancy. Parenthood is partnership, and dads can do a lot to help mom while she carries the baby.
He can be involved with classes and doctor appointments because that's his baby too. Pregnancy brain is also very real, and let's face it having an extra set of ears to remember everything we're told will be a huge help. Being an active dad is great for everyone involved. It can start during pregnancy, and mom-to-be will honestly love it! The emotional support and a helping hand will make everyone happy. Plus a doting daddy-to-be is attractive!
Unfortunately, dad can't take a shift carrying baby around or split the nine months with us, but he can do things to lessen our workload or help us relax during our pregnancy. Foot rubs, doing the heavy lifting, or picking up a chore or two around the house will go a long way in making mom's day and pregnancy a bit easier. She's exhausted already from growing a human.
20 Help Mom Get Pregnant (Not The Old Fashioned Way)
According to Parents.com, one in every ten couples has trouble getting pregnant. It is suggested that women under 35 seek medical help after 1 year of trying to get pregnant (6 months for those over 35). Dad obviously plays a role in this because he could be the one with the trouble. In fact Parents.com reports that about 35% of the time dad is the one with the problem.
Not only should both parents speak to a medical professional, but dad could also help mom with her treatments.
They can be pretty rough as we inject our bodies with hormones and go through rather difficult procedures. Dad can start giving mom an extra hand or some pampering from the beginning.
19 Participate In Genetic Testing
Getting pregnant has changed quite a bit in the last few decades. We have more knowledge and technology available than ever before that can tell us all kinds of things about our genes and our perspective children. We can even test our genes and dad's before we actually conceive.
It is best practice to know if one or both parents is a carrier for certain issues because it will determine the likelihood of baby being born with them.
If only one parent is tested, we are missing half of the picture.
18 He Changes His Own Eating Habits
We all know mom has to change what she eats when she's expecting, but lately it seems that dads are altering their own diets as well. It's only fair, right? These diet changes go further than the usual sympathy pregnancy cravings we expect from dad. Now they take into account the foods that mom should have more of or should avoid. They follow the same guidelines for moral support, fairness, or to be a good sport.
According to AmericanPregnancy.com, during pregnancy a woman should avoid undercooked meat, sushi, deli meat, and even caffeine. That can be really challenging for some of us so dads are now making the same restrictions as a show of support. It's always easier with a partner.
17 He Shops For Baby
There's a lot to be done and a lot to shop for when we are expecting, especially if it is our first baby. That isn't just on mom though. Dads are getting involved in that process as well as they want to pick out toys, gear, clothes, and nursery stuff for their bundle of joy. It gives dads a chance to participate in the pregnancy since they can feel kind of hands off as they aren't the ones doing the heavy lifting so to say.
While he can't actually carry the baby, he can still help us prepare ourselves and our home for baby's arrival.
According to TheBump.com, we can even let dad help design the nursery or put items on baby's registry so he can be involved as well. It is his baby too after all.
16 Take Prenatal And Parenting Classes
There are a lot of ways to prepare for our baby's arrival. Many expecting moms (and dads) are opting to take parenting courses, birthing courses, and other related courses to help us prepare for our upcoming role of parenthood. Unlike long division, these classes come with things that we'll actually use in the real world (and soon too!)
According to Lamaze.org, taking a childbirth class can give dad more insight and knowledge about labor, delivery, and birth. He can learn what to expect, how to help mom, and what could potentially happen or need to happen. These classes will help him prepare for his role as a father and for being mom's partner, support system, and advocate during labor and delivery.
15 He Can Participate In Maternity Pictures
We have forty weeks to soak up our pregnancy. Though, in the few months after our little one's arrival we might forget the round bump, the little kicks, and that glow we were sporting. Maternity pictures are a great way to capture just a little of that joy so we can hang on to it for years to come.
According to Shutterfly.com, the best time to take maternity pictures is between 30 and 35 weeks. That way our belly is nice and round, but we aren't too uncomfortable yet and don't have to worry about going into early labor hopefully.
Including dad in the pictures will make them even more special. We can capture how he would rub our belly. We can catch that beautiful way he looks at us while we are carrying his child.
14 He Makes Sure To Pamper Mom
Pregnancy can be so difficult and uncomfortable. Since dad can't really do the heavy lifting for mom, he can still do his part to make her comfortable, relaxed, and pampered. She deserves to be spoiled during pregnancy because it is hard on her physically (and probably emotionally as well).
Babble.com came up with a great list of suggestions to pamper mom, ranging from simply letting her sleep in to planning a baby-moon. Her muscles are sore. She's likely exhausted. It's a time to focus on making sure mom is getting enough sleep and putting her foot up because it's good for baby too.
13 He's More Involved (& Encouraged To Be)
Pregnancy is a journey that dad should be involved in, but that wasn't always the case. Pregnancy has been seen as more of a time for the women in the past which is why baby showers tended to be all female. Now dads and other guys are getting involved and invited.
Of course dad should be involved with his baby from the beginning; it's a no-brainer that it would make bonding with baby easier. According to Today.com one study out of the University of South Florida found that involved fathers during pregnancy reduced various health risks during the first year.
12 He Takes Car Seat Safety Seriously
Car seat safety has come a long way in the last 10 years alone, but in the last 20 years it has completely evolved! According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1998, 9% of people still put car seats in the front seat. We know now though that car seats are much safer in the back seat.
In 1998 about 60% of those studied reported they used their car seats forward facing according to the NHTSA. We now know from the American Academy of Pediatrics that it is recommended we keep our children rear facing as long as possible in accordance with the car seat's manual.
11 Listen To Baby's Heartbeat At Home
Besides baby's first cry, hearing baby's heartbeat in the womb is probably the best sound in the entire world. We can hear it at doctor appointments, but dad can't always make it to those. Even if he can, we still want to hear it more.
Though fetal dopplers at home can be fun, they should be used with caution. According to TheBump.com, the FDA has actually warned against using the device since 2014 for a variety of reasons. It can leave us thinking things are okay when something is actually wrong because we think we're hearing baby's heartbeat so everything is ok instead of seeking medical attention.
It takes medical training to properly use the device which can also cause people to not be able to find baby's heartbeat which can cause unnecessary stress.
10 Track Baby's Development and Growth On Smartphone Apps
There are tons of ways to find out what mom and baby are going through other than just following along reading What To Expect When You're Expecting. We can find out baby's size in comparison to a variety of fruits or vegetables. How cool is that right? We can learn about what's going on with our baby and in mom's belly.
According to Redbookmag.com, Ovia Pregnancy Tracker makes their top 15 pregnancy apps. We can use it to track movements and growth. It will give us insight to baby's milestones, development, and size. We can even find guidelines to what food and medications are safe or not safe.
9 Talk To The Bump
One great way for dad to bond with his little bundle of joy is to talk to him/her. He can read, talk about his day, or even sing if he feels so inclined. It will help him develop a connection with baby, feel included, and help baby recognize his voice after birth.
Around week 16 of pregnancy baby can hear limited noises, and by week 24 baby can hear well enough to even try to turn towards the sound, according to WhatToExpect.com. That gives dad a lot of time to talk with our little one. Baby hears Mom talk all day long so it's nice for dad to get some voice time too. Mom can use it as an excuse to put her feet up and catch up with Dad or just relax while he reads her belly a story.
8 Prepare For Labor and Delivery
It's up to mom where she wants to labor and give birth, but dad should be right there by her side through it all. Whether we plan to use a birth center or hospital, dad should know where to go when the time comes because honestly mom is not going to want to have one more thing to worry about.
The best time to tour a hospital or birthing center is between 32 and 36 weeks, according to Parents.com.
This way we are close enough to delivery that we can count on remembering where to go well and things not changing before we return.
7 He Helps With The Baby Registry
We need a lot of stuff when we have a baby, and trying to put it all on a registry without forgetting important items can be tricky. We don't know exactly what we'll want for our bundle of joy, but two brains are certainly better than one when it comes to preparing for his arrival.
TheBump.com suggests starting a registry as early as 12 weeks along. We'll want lots of time to do research, gather opinions maybe, and leave time for shower guests to shop from it. Though we may want to put down specific items once we know baby's gender (or not) we can still gather the important basics that we'll need for either gender and can use for future babies as well.
6 Take A Baby-Moon
Dictionary.com defines a baby-moon (or babymoon) as "a relaxing or romantic vacation taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born." It's basically a honeymoon before baby comes. They aren't something that people did previously and just started gaining popularity in the last decade. Really they didn't start taking off until a few years ago even.
We are about to spend a lot of time and attention on our baby when she arrives. That's just how it is and how it should be. But that doesn't mean our romance and spouse should disappear.
While things might be set on the back burner, our relationship can't. A baby-moon gives us an opportunity to really establish our bond and relationship before baby's arrival.
5 Lend A Hand With Chores
Mom is actually growing a person so this is a time where dad can really step up and help her out around the house. Whether he does an extra chore, like laundry, or is more active with the kids, it will give mom a chance to sit down and relax. That's good for mom, baby, and can even score dad some brownie points.
According to WhattoExpect.com, dad might want to pick chores that mom's growing belly make more challenging such as sweeping. It's hard to see what's on the floor when we can barely see our feet. The help doesn't have to end when mom delivers either. He can keep pitching in while she recovers too.
4 He Comes To More Doctor Appointments
Mom obviously has to be present at all of the doctor appointments during pregnancy because she is the one carrying the baby. It would be a great idea though for dad to go with her. Not only will dad feel more included, he'll hear what's going on, baby's heartbeat, and be an extra set of ears for mom.
Knowledge is power, and knowing that Braxton Hicks contractions are normal will totally help to reassure a panicked first time mama who is experiencing them. Having an extra set of ears at doctor appointments can be really helpful when we get stressed with all of the information thrown at us or to have someone to remember that question we've been wanting and forgetting to ask. WhatToExpect.com suggests that dad come to as many doctor appointments as he can.
3 He Is Part Of The Gender Reveal Or Baby Shower
It's dad's baby too, but for some reason he is always left out of the baby shower festivities. It wasn't until recently that we started including dad, either for a little bit or completely, on the baby shower guest list alone. Some dads made a quick, last minute appearance to help mom load up the car. Some went even wilder and invited both men and women to the shower.
According to Slate.com, men have traditionally been excluded from the showers because it might be their baby but they aren't the one actually giving birth. True. This might be why some opt to let dad come for a part of the shower at the end. This way they get to have their girl talk, about things dad probably doesn't want to hear anyways.
It's dad's baby too, so who are we to tell him when he can and cannot celebrate? He might find lots of great advice at a shower from other dads or even other women to know what mom will need or be feeling.
Gender reveal parties are a whole new ball game though. Some couples have a reveal and a shower including dad in just the reveal. It gives the couple the best of both worlds essentially and allows for lots of celebration for our little one.
2 Comes To Ultrasounds
Ultrasounds are one of the best parts of prenatal care. We get to see our baby while he is still in our belly. Absolutely dad should be a part of that! Why wouldn't he want to be included if he could? There's no set number for how many ultrasounds a mom may have during pregnancy as it greatly depends on the pregnancy as well as insurance and doctor's preference.
According to WhatToExpect.com, women generally receive a first trimester ultrasound to determine their due date. The second trimester ultrasound is the one we really get excited for. It checks baby's organs and can usually tell us baby's gender. Just as dad should go to doctor appointments, he should especially be at the ones where ultrasounds are done (if he can) because he'll want to see his baby.
1 Takes Paternity Leave
Paternity leave has been gaining popularity lately though it was basically unheard of 20 years ago. Companies have started stepping up and offering dad time off (unpaid or paid) for the first days, weeks, or even months after his baby is born.
According to the Wall Street Journal, one study found that only 14% of fathers in the United States take more than 2 weeks off after their child is born. Now some dads obviously do not have that opportunity. Some families cannot afford to take unpaid time off.
If dad is able to, paternity leave is a great way for him to bond with his new baby and help mom out at home. Why would he pass up those beautiful moments with his little one if he doesn't have to? As parents, we know that is precious time we can't get back.