23 Things Dads Still Don't Understand About Pregnancy (And Probably Never Will)

Even though a couple may say that they are pregnant together, there are still some things that a dad just won’t fully comprehend about pregnancy.

Moms are so good at making things look easy while rocking a baby bump that dad may not realize that mom could really use a foot rub because of aches and pain. Dad may not realize he made a faux pas by eating the last of the leftovers tucked away in the fridge, as mom may have been craving eating it all day long.

There is a lot going on that isn’t necessarily visible at the surface when being pregnant. Women may experience fluctuations in their mood because of hormones, may suddenly find themselves getting nauseous at the thought of what used to be a favorite dish to eat, or crying for seemingly no reason at all. Watching a woman go through pregnancy can be an experience of walking on eggshells for an unprepared, but well-meaning dad.

So, for anyone who may have any questions about what an expecting mother goes through, but is too afraid to ask, or for women who are unsure of how to bring up issues about pregnancy that dad just doesn’t seem to understand, there’s this article.

23 It doesn't tickle when the baby is kicking around

If a dad even needed a guide to pregnancy, it should definitely cover all the feelings that a mother has when the baby is kicking around in the baby bump. For starters, dads should know that it doesn’t tickle when the baby is kicking mom in the ribs, or hiccupping in there.

A mother may begin to feel the first movements from their baby around the 18th-week mark, according to Pregnancy Birth & Baby. During the quickening of a baby, the first movements may feel like a fluttering butterfly, but as the baby grows, the movements may feel more intense.

Toward the third trimester, a mom may feel as much as 16 to 45 movements within a single hour!

22 Certain foods and smells can trigger nausea, even if they were a favorite pre-pregnancy

all day morning sickness nausea vomiting

Thanks to the evolution of nature and science, mothers may experience nausea and vomiting to protect the baby from foodborne illness, according to The Guardian. However, dealing with morning sickness and lurching because of strong smells from food can be less than easy to bear when pregnant.

If a dad finds the meal that they bring to their pregnant lady being snubbed, or mom has to run to the bathroom because of tummy troubles, dad shouldn’t take things personally. It’s just a part of being pregnant to deal with not only hormones affecting mom’s ability to keep food down, but because of a natural aversion to certain foods to keep parasites and germs out.

If mom is experiencing excess vomiting to the point of dehydration and nutritional deficiency, a la hyperemesis gravidarum, a trip to the doctor is a must.

21 Hands Off the girls, they’re sore. Also stop making jokes.

Dad should know better than to make jokes about the girls when mom is going through pregnancy. Contrary to how the girls may look, most moms experience feelings that are not so hot.

According to Cosmopolitan, some moms have felt soreness and tightness around the girls, with sudden pains at the slightest touch or jab. Other mothers felt they had to do away with wearing underwire bras or have dealt with discomfort because of overly sensitive nips. It’s no wonder most dads are warned to keep their hands to themselves, despite mom’s heaving new bosom.

And if a mother chooses to breastfeed, they might look forward to dealing with a larger cup size or two, plus soreness from the baby for even longer. So, dad play nice.

20 People Aren't actually that polite to pregnant women

pregnant on public transit bus

Taking public transportation can prove hazardous or fatal for a pregnant woman.

According to The Daily Mail, one woman lamented how she was forced to stand during a 2-hour commute, as no one was willing to offer her a seat. Some public transit riders have voiced that they feel that pregnant women deserve no special rights, while other commuters feel that to not give a pregnant woman a seat is disgraceful.

In one tragic story in India, a mother succumbed to her injuries, leaving behind two daughters and a newborn son, after she was jettisoned from a moving bus. According to The News Minute, the mother was forced to stand on a terribly crowded bus, after waiting hours to board a bus home.

19 It’s easier than it looks eating for two and carrying another human being around


If a mom wished for dad to know more about pregnancy, it’s that a mother is not really eating for two.

Even though a mom may have certain cravings for foods, it is still important to gain a healthy amount of weight. Moms can actually develop health problems like gestational diabetes, or contribute to triggering obesity or diabetes for their child if severely overweight during pregnancy.

Instead, moms should gradually increase the number of calories consumed depending on their current trimester. According to the Huffington Post, moms should eat an extra 340 calories during the second trimester, and an additional 460 calories during the third trimester.

18 Cravings are not being crazy, They're based on nutritional needs

pregnancy and cravings

According to Psychology Today, there are legitimate science-backed reasons as to why pregnant women crave certain foods.

Thanks to shifting hormones, the hypothalamus produces Neuropeptide Y, which stimulates a pregnant woman’s appetite. Culture has a lot to do with pregnancy cravings, as most women in America may crave dairy and sweet foods. However, women in other parts of the world may crave fruits like mangoes, oranges, plantains, or meat.

Cravings may offer psychological and physical comfort, provide specific nutrition and vitamins for mom during pregnancy, or because of activities in the brain and body. Research as to what exactly contributes to a mother’s food cravings is still ongoing.

17 Emotions matter, and hormones really affect mom

One detail about pregnancy that a dad needs to know, is that an expecting mother’s emotions are subject to fluctuate on a whim. It may feel like walking on eggshells at times with a pregnant mother, so being flexible, empathetic, and understanding of why a mom may feel happy, frustrated, and end up crying in a short amount of time is important.

According to Live Science, hormones like estrogen and progesterone, expectations about motherhood, and the thought of how having a child changes the dynamic of relationships with others can cause a mother to incur mood swings. Pregnancy can be both exciting and a positive experience, but can equally be stressful. Giving patience, love, and a listening ear can be a benefit for a pregnant mom.

16 The 9 month wait can feel like eternity

nearing the end of pregnancy

Putting up with housing a growing human being can be a daunting task for a mom. As the baby bump becomes more difficult to sleep with at night, and more pressure is felt on the pelvic region after the baby drops into position for birth, pregnancy can really drag itself out.

According to Babble, it is important for mothers to find ways to stay calm and be patient while they wait for the baby to arrive. Moms should try to keep a positive mental attitude, do enjoyable activities to take their minds off of waiting on the baby, and avoid looking at the calendar with that circled due date.

15 Talking to the baby bump is not silly, it’s bonding and good for baby’s development

Bonding with the baby bump is a good activity to regularly do when a mother is pregnant. And both mom and dad should take part in reading stories to the baby, singing songs, or talking about life outside the womb throughout pregnancy.

According to Net Doctor, babies are capable of recognizing voices and other familiar sounds at the 20-week mark. Making time to regularly talk to the baby while in the womb can help boost language skills, and strengthen the relationship between baby, mom, and dad.

14 The chance of getting pregnant while pregnant is low, but still...

As long as there are no significant health problems for mom and her pregnancy, it is usually safe at most points to engage in grown-up fun. However, if a mom is not in the mood to get too close, instead of being upset, dad should realize that hormones and personal feelings about the pregnancy have a serious impact on a mom.

Not only can the baby bump make things awkward, but according to Very Well Family, weight gain, morning sickness, fatigue, and a drop in libido, thanks to fluctuating hormones can make a pregnant mom gag at the idea of getting together with her significant other. Dads should not push a mom into anything they don’t want to do and respect their feelings for needing some personal space.

13 Even if it seems mom isn’t doing much, being pregnant is tiring, and fatigue can be constant


During the first trimester and third trimester, a mother can really feel some intense moments of fatigue and chronic exhaustion. Getting used to being pregnant and carrying a baby that is nearly ready to be born is hard work. Additionally, getting used to walking around with an imbalanced weight at the front can lead to that all too familiar pregnancy waddle.

Moms can take proactive steps to help boost their energy levels, as detailed by Fit Pregnancy. Mothers who eat more fruits and vegetables, get regular exercise, and drink water to stay hydrated may reduce the amount of fatigue that they feel.

12 Massages are a must-have to deal with aches and swelling, and its relaxing

Getting a prenatal massage now and then is a definite must for any expecting mama. And if a dad wants to be a superhero to mom, offering to give a massage to help relieve tension, stress, and melt away aches and pains will not be forgotten.

According to sources like Health Direct, massage can be used to help reduce joint and muscle pain in pregnant women can help moms get a better nights rest, reduces anxiety, and helps alleviate swelling. Especially when being pregnant can lead to endless feelings of fatigue and edema in the legs, feet, and other parts of the body, a massage is most appreciated by an expecting mama.

11 Being pregnant hurts, even before labor. And giving birth hurts more than dad getting kicked down there

If it’s one thing a mom wishes for a dad to know about pregnancy, it’s that there are aches and pains to go along with a growing baby bump.

Following conception and implantation in the uterus, being pregnant can lead to a mother experiencing painful cramps in the abdominal region, in addition to her uterus in the front. As a mother’s body shifts around the organs to make room for a growing baby, hormones fluctuate, and gastrointestinal distress caused by constipation, nausea, and vomiting combine, pregnancy is not always a smooth ride.

According to Family Education, it is important for mothers to be mindful of their diet, not overexerting themselves during exercise, and to take it easy to reduce aches and pains.

10 Comfy Maternity clothes make things easier, but mom misses her old clothes so no jokes

As a mother gets adjusted to a growing baby bump and physical changes because of pregnancy, it can be frustrating finding clothes that fit just right. Instead of encouraging a mother to run out and buy a new wardrobe of maternity clothes, there are some things that a dad should know first.

According to Alpha Mom, most moms do not need to rush out and grab maternity clothes, as they can execute some DIY hacks to extend the life of their clothes. Plus, the clothes that may fit a mother during her first trimester will end up being too baggy after pregnancy to wear, and will most likely not fit that baby bump in the third trimester. Making cuts, adding stretchy bands, or camouflaging specific areas with flowing tops can work wonders.

9 Pregnancy makes skin itchy, creates blotches and discoloration. No funny comments or else

Before a dad makes a funny comment or bemoans a pregnant mom lamenting for a spa treatment, facial, or new makeup, there’s a very good reason behind a mom’s wishes. Pregnancy can do weird things to the skin, ranging from rashes, breakouts, or patches of discoloration.

According to The Bump, pregnancy can lead to more skin sensitivities to various ingredients in soaps, cosmetics, and to sunlight. Moms should make sure to stay hydrated to keep dry itchy skin at bay, and may want to wear sunscreen to protect against harmful UV rays. Additionally, rubbing cream on stretch marks, taking oatmeal baths to soothe skin, and using safe body products can be a huge help.

8 Being pregnant is a new experience, we won't be instant nurturing goddesses. Give Us A break

Moms should cut themselves a lot of slack while being pregnant, and dads should understand why moms need more appreciation and empathy during pregnancy. Learning about being a mother and being mentally and physically prepared for all the changes that pregnancy and childbirth can bring is scary, new, and hard.

First-time mothers have to contend with high expectations about pregnancy and motherhood, plus dealing with perceived failures, physical changes, and chronic fatigue according to The Romper. It is ridiculous to assume that because a woman is pregnant that she transforms into an all-knowing nurturing mother goddess. Seriously.

7 There are so many legitimate fears about childbirth

If a dad needed to know anything about pregnancy, it’s that a mom may have some fears about giving birth, whether the birth plan will be followed out without problems, or even being naked in front of others at the hospital. If a dad can be a source of emotional support during pregnancy, realizing how much fear, anxiety, or doubts that cross a pregnant mother’s mind from time to time, they would win some brownie points.

According to Today’s Parents, a lot of first-time moms have some fears and expectations about childbirth and delivery. Many mothers fear that they will have to have a C-section, that they cannot handle the pain of giving birth, or that they may do something embarrassing, like poop while pushing out the baby. It does happen.

6 Crying may happen at any time, for any reason. It will pass.

Being pregnant can make women more emotional and sensitive to various triggers than ever before, and it would be best for a dad to understand and respect why a pregnant mom may be more prone to bouts of crying.

If a pregnant mom finds herself crying because of watching a scene in a movie, or because they wanted to cuddle with the family pet, they are not alone. According to Parenting, many women experience crying a lot during pregnancy because of their hormones. However, if a mom is feeling overly depressed, anxious, or can’t stop crying it may be wise to seek professional help to cope.

5 Dad being there for prenatal appointments and birthing classes matters: if you plan on skipping, reconsider.

According to The Toddle, many experts support the idea of a dad attending at least a few prenatal appointments with the mom, so that they can be an emotional support, and fully understand what the mom and the baby are going through during the progress of a pregnancy.

Additionally, attending a birthing class or two is just a common sense move, which helps dad prepare for his role in helping raise a newborn baby.

4 Dad should do his research about pregnancy, childbirth, and what the wife is going through

According to sources like Business Insider, when a dad learns they are going to be a father, they may feel emotions of fear and joy. However, it is helpful for dad to learn a thing about pregnancy, childbirth, and some scientific facts about birth instead of leaving mom to do all the work.

Learning more about how pregnancy works, conception, and making sure mom and baby stay healthy before, during, and after childbirth can help a father feel more connected to both the mom and baby. Researching and discovering information as a dad makes the pregnancy feel more real, and can help with mental preparedness for what lies ahead.

3 Unexpected gifts to remind her how special she is are very appreciated

being supportive during pregnancy

Despite dealing with the pregnancy waddle, nausea, stretch marks, and getting kicked in the ribs, an expectant mother still wants to know that she is special, attractive, and deserving of some pampering. Carrying a baby is exhausting work, and learning to deal with physical, emotional, and mental changes can bring on fatigue too.

According to Motherly, dads can help make a mother’s pregnancy special by giving a back massage without her having to ask first, going grocery shopping, planning a trip before the baby arrives, or surprising mom with a gift. Showing small tokens of appreciation and affection can make pregnancy easier, and lets mom know that dad is aware of how intense pregnancy can be and that he is available for support.

2 If mom is feeling moody, just agree and don’t start arguments. Sort matters out later

A pregnant mother is apt to feel cranky or moody from time to time, whether because of exhaustion, stress, anxiety, or hormones.

Fighting with a pregnant mother ends up going nowhere fast, and a couple that is unable to resolve problems can lead to harboring resentment and spiking stress levels. One thing that moms and their babies want to avoid because of triggering various health ailments, is incurring longstanding high-stress levels, anger, and upset feelings.

According to Live Strong, stress can cause a preterm baby, lead to postpartum depression in a mother, and arguments are best avoided. Dads can find helpful ways to talk to a mom about stress triggers and deal with the root cause of arguments when mom is less upset.

1 Being an assistant for helping shave legs, paint nails, and other little things make you her hero

When a mom is in her third trimester, the baby bump can really make doing some of the simplest things like shaving, or painting nails really challenging.

If it’s one thing that a pregnant mother would love a dad to know, offering to help with certain personal needs without being asked will really make him look good, and show a mom that she is truly cared for and appreciated.

According to Motherly, helping a pregnant mom by offering to do a pedicure, give a massage, or run some errands so mom can take a break can really brighten a woman’s mood and day during pregnancy.

References: Huffington Post, Psychology Today, The News Minute, Daily Mail, The Guardian, Cosmopolitan, Pregnancy, Birth & Baby, Live Science, Babble, Net Doctor, Very Well Family, Fit Pregnancy, Health Direct, Family Education, Alpha Mom, The Bump, Romper, Motherly, The Toddle, Parenting, Today's Parent, Business Insider, Live Strong

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