What should a husband or partner do? What are the best ways to support your partner during pregnancy? How can you be clear that you’re there for them, and you want to help them but also provide them the space to do things on their own and be their own person. Today I’m going to share 5 tips for partners!
Hi — I’m Hilary — The Pregnancy Nurse 👩⚕️. I have been a nurse since 1997 and I have 20 years of OB nursing experience, I am also the curly head behind Pulling Curls and The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. 🩺 I have helped thousands of pregnant families navigate birth and pregnancy, so I think I’m an expert on this one.
Ok, let’s dive into some of the best things you can do to support during pregnancy:
Talk About Feelings
This can be really difficult for some guys. You feel like you need to keep your feelings inside and you may not be great at talking about feelings, but asking your partner how they are feeling and letting them talk can be a good way to get the ball rolling.
Pregnancy can be scary for a variety of reasons. Her body is changing and weird things are happening. She may be anticipating the fear of birth and how that will be (and wondering how supportive you’ll be then). Her career trajectory may be changing and she’s not sure what that looks like.
It can also be really scary for you, changes in how much income is needed, changes in how much support your partner will be able to give to you. All of these things can be really stressful.
The good news is that you have each other and you can talk through it all together. Get good at talking about feelings. It’s going to make you a great dad, and an even better partner.
Pro Tip: Sometimes your partner will talk about things they want you to fix, and sometimes they just want you to listen. There’s nothing wrong in asking them what they want you to do about this. You can’t read their mind, and that way you’ll know what they need from you.
Oh, and while you’re here — I have a whole tips for partners email series:
Be a Physical Support
It’s hard for you to imagine what it is like for her to have her body change so drastically. How certain moves are SO much different and how small helps can really help her out. Most of this happens during the third trimester, but letting you know you’re there to help in any way.
Some ways you can help your partner:
- Lend a hand when they’re getting off the couch out out of bed
- Help them get of the car
Both of these are times that a pregnant woman’s pelvis can REALLY hurt, so just being there and doing ANYTHING you can to shoulder the burden can help a lot.
You can even help them with stuff like tying their shoes, and some people even go as far to help them shave their legs (your pregnant partner may not be loving that idea).
You’ll also want to consider jobs you can do around the house that they used to do but their body is just not making it very workable. It may be a good time to re-assess who’s doing what and re-aligning those a bit more on the extra workload she’s taking on growing a human.
Do What They Ask
When your partner asks you to do something, do it. Even if it’s not something you love to do — just do it. There’s probably a lot of things that they’re not asking you to do, so when they ask, just aim to please.
If you need to write it down, do that, or set a reminder in your phone. That isn’t a weakness, it’s just how people need to be reminded. Whatever you can do to make sure that you’re doing what they have asked, please do it.
I agree, this one makes it seem like you’re a mind reader. And you’re not. While we know those things in our mind, we really wish that someone was anticipating our needs. As Disney says — delight and surprise them. I realize this isn’t doable all of the time, but when you notice she’s feeling particularly down about something, that is the time you can kick this into high gear.
- Refill her water cup
- Ask to rub her back or her feet
- Look at baby gear with them online, dream about how amazing it will be together
- Offer to make her favorite dinner (or go get her favorite takeout)
- Try to let them sleep as long/as much as possible by eliminating noise or light where possible
Like I said, this isn’t always possible — and frankly you may not get as many “thank you’s” as you do when you’re doing what they ask (she may very well wonder how she forgot that she filled her water cup). But making her life as easy as possible is a huge win for her and you.
Learn About Pregnancy and Childbirth
It is easy to feel like she can take care of the whole pregnancy and birth end on her own. Often you can’t make appointments due to your work schedule or they actually don’t help you learn much at all (looking those appointments in the second trimester, they can be pretty boring). However you can work on learning about pregnancy and birth and fit it into your schedule pretty easily.
This can change depending on what trimester you guys are in:
First Trimester: You can follow birth professionals on social media and start to get a handle on what is going to go on.
Second Trimester: Research a prenatal class you guys can take together and purchase it
Third Trimester: Make time to take the class together, and review the material. Have talks about what life is going to look like when baby arrives.
One of the BEST parts of The Online Prenatal Class for Couples is that I start those conversations for you guys, so you can really get on the same page before baby is born — which will ease mental burdens for both of you.
It will ease a LOT of fears of hers if you show you you plan to be there with her every step of the way through pregnancy, birth and postpartum / baby time. It is a very natural feeling that she will be alone in this process (often because her own mom was left to struggle through a lot of this on her own) — so, showing her the hope that she won’t be will ease a lot of fear in her mind.
You may think that pregnancy and birth comes really natural to a pregnant woman, and she innately knows what’s going to go on — but the reality is that she doesn’t. Women don’t just “know” a lot of this (especially in our modern society). Learning about it together, because you’re in it together is a great step towards confidence in that area for both of you.
Come join me in The Online Prenatal Class for Couples. It is a course made for both of you. It’s fun, it’s priced right and husbands actually love that thing (I have a LOT of men that course off of recommendations from other dads). It even has a tips for partners bonus video that will put you miles ahead of other dads!
And, if you’re not quite sure you’re ready for that whole thing, check out my free prenatal class. It’s your first step toward getting in the driver’s seat of your birth.
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A nurse since 1997, she has worked in various fields including pediatrics, geriatrics & hospice.
She has 20 years of labor and delivery experience in the San Jose, CA and Phoenix, AZ areas.