7 ways partners can be supportive during pregnancy
Congratulations - your partner is pregnant!! This is an INCREDIBLE time, filled with change, wonder and new experiences.
There’s so much to look forward to and so much to prepare. Even though a lot of the attention is on your partner, and the upcoming baby, for the next 9 months (and more!), you may be wondering where your place is in all this. In other words, you may be wondering how YOU can be the most supportive partner during this pregnancy.
Thankfully, here at Kendamil, we’re parents too. Our supportive hats are on. Let’s get to being the BEST partners we can be!
🤰 The benefits of being supportive.🤰
Aside from the obvious (that you love your partner and want her, and your upcoming little one, to be safe, comfortable and happy) there are actual scientifically-proven benefits to being a compassionate and supportive mate to your partner during this time. According to the science journal, and NCBI, ‘partner support may be an important and potentially modifiable target for interventions to improve pregnancy outcomes.’ The article also adds:
‘Evidence suggests that pregnant women with involved partners [...] are more likely to receive early prenatal care and to reduce cigarette smoking than women whose partners are not involved in the pregnancy. Social support, a construct related to partner support or involvement, is also an important correlate of maternal well-being during pregnancy and perinatal outcomes, including birth weight.’
Now we get it. These kinds of statistics can be SUPER hard to compute when you're living day-to-day; after all, it’s difficult to measure the true power of a supportive hug or a 3am drive-thru excursion. And, of course, we’re in no way saying that a pregnancy outcome is solely dependent on your actions as a partner.
However, support is a personal thing, one that happens once you’ve acquainted yourself with your partner, what she needs, what she values and her overall personality. With support comes trust, bonding and a healthier relationship, overall. And that’s always a good thing. A happy, healthy mother can definitely have positive effects on your little bean!
So…here are some examples of how you can help make sure your partner feels safe, loved and supported during her pregnancy (aka, examples which have worked for US!! 😉). Save it to your phone, and tick off as you go along! We like to call this ✨‘the Kendamil Pregnancy Partner checklist’✨:
The point here is to listen, figure out what your partners’ unique needs are, and be willing to find a way to help. Find the dynamic which works best for you, as a couple - and stick with it! Consistency is ALWAYS key.
💬 Communicate 💬
Communication is yet ANOTHER key to making your partner feel supported during her pregnancy. And the best way to cater to your partner’s needs is by talking to her. Each woman will have different preferences for how they want their partner to be involved, so work out a plan that works best for your family.
Right now is also a good opportunity to invest some time to strengthen your relationship. If this is your first baby, enjoy these last few months with just the two of you. If you already have children, shower them (and each other!) with love and attention now before the big day comes.
🧠 Get Educated 🧠
Take this time to learn all you can about pregnancy and parenting. Borrow some books from the library on these topics, or check out some blogs to learn more. Later in pregnancy, it's also a good idea to take antenatal classes with your partner.
Here are some of our favourite books:
📚 The Expectant Dad's Survival Guide.
📚 More Than Just a Baby: A Guide to Surrogacy
📚 Parenting and Child-Development in ‘Non-Traditional’ Families
📚 Like a Mother. And the classic;
📚 What to Expect When You’re Expecting.
And NHS guidance:
🧑⚕️ Having a baby if you’re LGBTQ+
🧑⚕️ Pregnancy support
🧑⚕️ Feelings, relationships and pregnancy.
🧑⚕️ What is surrogacy?
We also LOVE Youtube. It’s a great resource - especially when you need nuanced advice on how to support your pregnant partner. Some great channels include:
👀 As/Is (their pregnancy videos are fun AND informative!!
And to plug ourselves (since we provide a lot of tips, advice and resources) our KendaBlogs are an excellent way to bulk up on knowledge:
✨Our ‘Coping in early labour’ blog (on covering all the bases and staying prepared).
✨Our ‘Perfect sleep routine’ blog (with baby-wizard-sleep-expert Cara Treadwell).
✨Our ‘New parent survival tips’ blog (this one merits more than one read. If possible, memorise it!!).
🥰 Offer Physical Support 🥰
Your partner's body is going to go through a lot of changes in the next nine months - and it doesn’t end there!
In the first trimester, a pregnant mother will often deal with extra fatigue and nausea. Her appetite (when she has one) may be very limited to specific things. Don't take it personally if she isn't feeling up to eating the dinner you've made one night. Oh, and let her sleep in, too!
In the second trimester, things often level out a little bit. For many women, the nausea is reduced (or disappears entirely). Her energy will pick up, as will her appetite. This is usually the time when she's ready to eat more. And, you might start to notice some weird pregnancy cravings, too!
Finally, the third trimester. This is when she'll start to get much bigger - and more uncomfortable, too! Sleeping can be difficult because she can't find a good position (again, a maternity pillow could be a great investment right about now). Her feet may get swollen. She might deal with heartburn. And she may move more slowly, as her joints and muscles will tend to become more tired, carrying all that extra weight. Be patient. Offer to give her a massage, bring her a foot rest, put a pillow behind her back, or whatever else you can think of that might help her comfort levels.
Throughout the pregnancy, support your partner in her efforts to make healthy lifestyle choices. Encourage her to exercise, eat a healthy diet (and show your support by joining her!!). A simple couple’s walk or smoothie every morning might be just the thing! And, make sure to support her in dietary changes she needs to make, like not drinking alcohol, cutting back on coffee, and not smoking.
🥴 Offer Emotional Support 🥴
On top of the fact that your partner is going through a lot of physical changes AND life changes, she's got new hormones coursing through her body that may cause mood swings.
Try to be patient and sensitive with her emotions. Listen to her vent when she needs to. It may help to ask if she wants you to solve the problem for her, or if she just needs you to listen.
Be sure to express your feelings, too! She may be carrying more of the weight (literally), but you two are partners in this new journey. Open up to her about how all the new changes are making you feel - the positive and the negative.
📝 Help with Planning and Decision-Making 📝
A lot of planning goes into having a baby. There are several decisions you and your partner could make together, including:
- What baby equipment to buy, such as car-seats, prams and the like. You might also want to research the best care-taking items for your baby, such as nappies, wipes, soap, pacifiers, etc.
- Who will be able to take parental leave off work, and for how long? An important discussion to have!
- Your income situation. Will you need care for your child (nursery or family members) so you can go back to work? Another important question!
- How to set up the nursery. You may need to help with the physical set-up, because it may be difficult for your partner to be lifting and moving things around.
- How to feed the baby. Will the baby be breastfed? Or bottle fed (expressed breast milk or formula)? Or a combination of the two? And if you do choose to bottle feed, ensure you’ve researched on how to sterilise a baby bottle properly! All in all, be open to the fact that situations are never static - and try to complete as much research on feeding as possible, before your little one comes into the world!
- Birth plan choices. What type of birth will you have? Where would you like the birth to take place? While it may be best to let your partner lead much of the decision-making in this area, support her in her choices when possible. See how involved she wants you to be, and give your support and opinion whenever needed.
In addition to all this research and decision-making, you can lend your support by attending prenatal appointments with your partner, attending antenatal classes, check ups and ultrasounds.
👩❤️💋👩 Intimacy 👩❤️💋👩
Keep in mind that intimacy with your partner may change during pregnancy - and probably for a little while after your baby is born, too. Always defer to a health professional and remember to be patient and compassionate during your partner’s vulnerable moments. Be patient with her, and willing to try new positions, if needed.
Sometimes you may also need to find other ways to connect physically, like cuddling, kissing, and massage.
💙 Lastly, don’t forget to take care of YOU!!💙
In addition to caring for your partner, it's important that you take good care of yourself, too. There’s that old saying ‘you can’t help anyone if you don’t start with yourself’ and we wholly believe in it.
So, make sure you’re taking care of YOU. Becoming a parent is a big deal and a significant life change. Investing in yourself now and in the future will better equip you to become the best parent you can be for your little one. Not to mention the best partner to your other half! 💕
So, why not open up and talk about this with your partner? Discuss your concerns and stresses. Be willing to reach out and talk with a therapist, if needed. Develop habits to help manage your stress, such as exercise, adequate sleep, and meditation.
Finding outlets in your hobbies (and making time for them) can be beneficial, too. Try engaging in sports, games, art, reading, or writing - whatever works for you! You might check out this downloadable resource from Beyond Blue: Emotional Health and Wellbeing: A Guide for New Dads, Partners and Other Carers.
✨ Need some support while you’re doing all that supporting?? That’s what we’re here for! ✨
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