So you and your partner just found out she's pregnant. After the breaking news, you'll experience a roller coaster of emotions. Pregnancy is a wonderful time, full of excitement and anticipation, but it also can be anxiety-inducing and stressful -- for both the pregnant woman and her partner.
Pregnant women experience many physical and emotional changes during their pregnancy. Your partner's overall well-being is critical, and as an expecting partner, you can assist her by getting involved yourself and learning about the pregnancy progress. Here are some easy tips to help your partner navigate the next nine months smoothly:
- Eat well. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is one of the most important gifts your partner can provide for your baby. A diet full of vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy products, and lean meat can help Mom receive the proper nutrition needed for her changing body. Support her by following the same diet to save on food costs and prep time. Also, there's no reason eating healthfully and mindfully can't extend past pregnancy to become a lifelong healthy habit to teach your children.
- Get moving. Pregnancy can decrease your partner's energy levels and place considerable stress on her body. Luckily, regular exercise will help improve some of her pregnancy-related complaints such as swelling, fatigue, backaches, and constipation. Additionally, exercise will help increase her strength and endurance as she prepares for her delivery. Choose nonstrenuous, mild exercises that you can do together, such as walking, swimming, or dancing. Remember to check with her doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
- Be understanding. Mood changes are common and often caused by physical and mental stress, fatigue, metabolism changes, or hormonal changes, says the American Pregnancy Association. Understanding and being a comfort during this time can help your partner deal with the physical and emotional changes she is experiencing. Maintaining a regular date night gives you a chance to focus solely on your partner and listen to her needs, insecurities, and worries.
- Make some lifestyle changes. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says that smoking and alcohol use by expectant mothers has been proven to have damaging effects on the developing fetus during pregnancy. Both smoking and secondhand smoke during pregnancy exposes your baby to harmful chemicals and decreases the amount of oxygen and nutrients it receives, while alcohol use can increase the risk of abnormal fetal development. If your partner is using either, quit together.
- Take a class. Taking childbirth preparation classes may help you and your pregnant partner better prepare for the arrival of your child. These classes will cover the entire pregnancy process. Arming yourselves with this information will help you both cut down on anxiety and feel more in control. You'll also get to meet other expecting parents.
- Help around the house. Not all household chores are safe for an expectant mother. Help with any chores that involve heavy lifting or strenuous activity, and be sure to take over jobs that include the use of chemicals or products with strong fumes, such as cleaning the oven or painting. Additionally, you should also plan on taking care of the family pets, as certain animal-related illnesses, including toxoplasmosis, can be harmful to the mom and baby.
- Take care of yourself. Of course, this is an exciting and stressful time for you, as well, and while focusing on your pregnant partner is important, don't forget about self-care! Take note of your own physical and emotional well-being, and make sure you exercise, eat healthy, and set aside some alone time when you can.
Talking with your partner about your concerns isn't a bad thing. It's normal to have your own moments of worry and stress, and it's best to be communicative with your loved one and face those feelings together as you prepare for this exciting, but life-changing, addition to your family.