So you have just discovered you are going to become a Dad! You are bursting with happiness & excitement, then shortly after you think “Wait… I have no idea what comes next!”.
Well fear not as we are here to guide you on your quest, your adventure… No, your mission to become that ultimate dad you know you can be!
For you and your partner the journey begins when you realise you are about to become parents. In today’s society Dads are encouraged to take a more active role in supporting their partners through pregnancy and birth. This can seem like a daunting task and you may feel clueless as to what your role actually is during these next 9 months (Just let it sink in if it already hasn’t… 9 months and you will be a Dad!) So let’s get straight to it.
Every pregnancy and birth are different and not all go to plan. You and your partner are going to be going through a huge transition emotionally and physically for your partner! It’s always good to bear this in mind, your body will not change but your partners will. The best thing for you to do over the next 9 months is to simply be there for your partner and offer as much help and support as you can. There will be days when she is feeling really down and unhappy with herself, so be there to re assure her that it will be okay. Let her know that she is still beautiful and the love of your life even when she is modelling the maternity pants, remind her that you are by her side throughout this journey.
Appointments and scans.
Throughout the course of the pregnancy your partner will be attending a lot of appointments, it is always best to try and attend these appointments with your partner as this is your journey together. Most employers are flexible when it comes to these situations and will allow you to attend these appointments with your partner, or make changes to your working shifts so your are able to attend.
#Dadvice Fact – Fathers and partners of pregnant women are entitled to unpaid time off to attend TWO ante-natal appointments (Time off is capped at six and a half hours per appointment).
If you are unable to attend all of these appointments you are going to want to be there for the scans, below is a typical list of antenatal appointments that your partner will attend during her pregnancy.
- First contact with midwife or doctor
- Eight to 12 weeks: booking appointment
- Eight to 14 weeks: dating scan
#Dadvice – Emotion Alert!!! (Take the tissues… There are no words to describe hearing your babies heartbeat for the first time and seeing that tiny person wriggling around on the ultrasound!)
- 16 weeks
- 18-20 weeks: anomaly scan
#Dadvice – Emotion Alert!!! (The main purpose of this scan is to check that your baby is developing normally. Boy or a girl?? This is also the scan you may find out the sex of the baby so be prepared for tears)
- 25 weeks
- 28 weeks
- 31 weeks
- 34 weeks
- 36 weeks
- 38 weeks
- 40 weeks
- 41 weeks
So the day has arrived! It is the moment you have both been waiting for, time to put those skills you have learned from the relentless ante natal classes into action. No matter what happens today your focus should be directed towards your partner and her needs during labour.
#DADVICE – (Testing the gas & air is not recommended, I learnt this from experience it is probably best to leave this magnificent medicine for your partner).
The birth of your baby is going to go down as one of your greatest life moments and it will feel even better knowing that you where there to help!
So what exactly are you there to help with during labour?
Not every labour is the same, some are quick and some are complicated. Whatever happens you can make the process easier for your partner if you keep these tips in mind.
- Take care of yourself and know your limits
You now may be thinking “Wait? Isn’t this supposed to be about supporting my partner?”. Yes, but if you burn yourself out and stress to much then you are no use to your partner, so keep your energy up and be ready for whatever gets thrown your way (Normally the closest item your partner has to hand).
- On demand
This is not a heads up that you will be able to watch last nights Football match in the delivery room. You need to be On Demand for your partner. Ask her what she would like you to do for her or even where she wants you to be in the delivery room. As crazy as this may sound if it helps your partner cope during contractions then it is best just to do it!
- Surprise Surprise
You should already have some idea of what to expect during labour, whether you have read up on the ins and outs (There are a few things that come out, not just your baby) or you have had someone share their gruesome and extremely detailed labour story with you.
There is still bound to be a few surprises you was not expecting thrown in along the journey. Never panic when caught off guard as this will just make your partner panic with you. If you are worried about something then the professionals are only down the corridor. Seek help and advice from the Midwives whenever you feel something is not right or you just have a general question. Remember that these remarkable people do this job all the time and that your partner is in the best place with great help to hand.
Labour can be quick or it can be long and there is no way of telling how long your labour will last. My memories of labour felt like I was inside the painting ‘The Persistence Of Memory’ with time going in every direction except forwards. Now I’m not saying they all last a really long time but be ready to play the waiting game. Make sure you have plenty change to hand for the car park meter and the snacks machines. Make sure you remember to bring along the hospital bag, you don’t want to be driving home and leaving your partner in hospital at such a crucial time. It’s also handy to make sure you have your phone charger to ring the grandparents when the little one arrives.
I hope you have enjoyed this post and have been able to take away some good Dadvice. Now the real fun begins with the long nights and the toxic nappies, but I will save this for another time.