Pregnancy Through The Father's Eyes
Men can and should share in the pregnancy experience as much as possible. Sometimes, because the woman is carrying the baby and experiencing all the physical changes, the man can feel left out. It is important for couples to share the excitement as well as work together through any anxieties that may develop.
Fathers Need To Be Healthy, Too
As a father-to-be, it's important to recognize the lifestyle choices that can negatively influence a healthy pregnancy. For example, second-hand smoke is harmful to those who breathe it, and studies have shown the danger of smoking to developing babies. Drug and alcohol abuse also create an unhealthy environment. The best thing you can do is eliminate these before a pregnancy; that way you will provide the best possible environment for your partner and the developing baby.
Many women and men who have struggled in the past to quit smoking find that a pregnancy gives them the motivation they need to finally quit.
In addition, changing your unhealthy habits may make it easier for the mom-to-be to change her own habits -- like stop smoking, cutting back on alcohol, and eating a healthy diet. Work together and support each other!
The actual process of how a women's egg and a man's sperm combine and develop into your baby is amazing. Watch the changes that take place in your partner's body and learn about the baby's growth to become a more active participant in the pregnancy experience.
It is helpful to go with your partner to some of her prenatal visits so you can hear the baby's heart beating and see what the baby looks like by ultrasound. You may already feel yourself beginning to bond with the tiny life that has started. On the other hand, it's perfectly ok if you don't feel a connection to the baby at this point. Men react in various ways to this early stage of pregnancy.
Attending the birthing classes together is a good experience for most couples. Not only do the classes tend to bring couples closer during the pregnancy, but it also gives you an opportunity to meet other people that can share similar experiences. This is all a build-up to the finale -- the delivery!
Seeing your baby born is probably one of the most fulfilling experiences you will ever undertake. The gift of life is totally amazing, so get ready!
Throughout the pregnancy, it is not uncommon for the parents-to-be to have worries and anxieties about parenthood.
Often men have fears associated with being a good father and caretaker. It is important to express all of these concerns with your partner, so that you can both work together in coping with the expected changes and planning your new arrival.
Talk about the fears that you may have -- about the actual day of labor and delivery, about bringing a newborn baby home, and about how to manage the baby's care, your finances, and work logistics.
This is one of the biggest life changes that you will ever go through, so it is normal to feel some anxiety. Once you think through the issues and the baby is born, things will fall into place for you, your partner, and your new baby!
Zev Williams MD, PhD, FACOG, Reproductive Medicine and Infertility, Weill-Cornell Medical Center, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
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