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Expecting Dads: A Survival Guide

While men don’t experience the tremendous weight gain, morning sickness, or childbirth pains that doesn’t mean dads-to-be are not affected during pregnancy.Dads to be

Pregnancy is considered one of the most exciting stages of your life. As a couple you might experience a roller coaster of emotions as you proceed from the first trimester to the second and third. While it’s easy to become overwhelmed and scared, it’s important to know what to expect when you’re expecting and how to compensate for any fears.

3 Tips for Fathers During Pregnancy

1. Be the BEST sidekick.

Women have to go through a lot of different changes during pregnancy mentally and physically. As a male you might feel you’re missing an intimate connection with your child, but that’s not true. It’s important to realize your partner cannot do this alone. You need to be her rock and ultimate support system for when it gets rough. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has a great resource center for building strong marriages.

2. Always plan ahead.

This tip particularly comes into play when you and your partner are figuring out maternity leave and paternity leave. Both parents should have the opportunity to spend time with their newborn. As soon as you decide what’s right for you and your family, schedule time to talk with your boss to work out a plan for taking time off. Visit the New Jersey Parent Link for state-specific resources.

3. Be Patient.

Not only will you have to change your priorities, but you will also have to learn to be patient. A child is on his/her way and a lot of safety measures and family adjustments will need to occur. These changes won’t happen overnight and is something you need to work on throughout the course of pregnancy.

Feeling Fearful? You’re Not Alone.

According to BabyCenter.com, here are a few common fears that dads face during pregnancy:

  • Security Fears
    • Will I be able to support my family with the new addition(s)?
      • Sit with your partner to develop a budgeting plan and call your health insurance company to understand your options during delivery and once the baby is born.
  • Performance Fears
    • Will I be able to tolerate the delivery room with all the blood, vomit, etc.?
      • Learn breathing exercises and other means of how best to stay relaxed and focused in the delivery room. Other new dads can offer their advice on their personal experience in the delivery room.
  •  Relationship Fears
    • Will the new baby put a strain on the relationship?
      • A new baby is a stressful time so communication is key! Discuss honestly with your partner your needs in terms of one-on-one time together.

How Pregnancy Effects Men

Dads are often seen as the unsung heroes of a pregnancy and may experience emotional and physical side effects that could be overlooked.

  • Depression: According to a study in the journal Pediatrics, symptoms of depression increased by 68% on average during the first five years of fatherhood for young men. Communicate your feelings, both emotional and physical, to your partner and your doctor instead of suffering alone.
  • Sympathetic Pregnancy: Also known as Couvade syndrome, it is where a healthy man, whose partner is expecting a baby, experiences pregnancy-related symptoms. These symptoms are not uncommon and can be managed through resources such as childbirth classes.
  • Hormones: Spikes in the stress hormone (cortisol) can put you on high alert and is often referred to as “Daddy Brain.” While it may feel stressful, it helps you prepare for the upcoming birth and the reality of becoming a father to your new baby.

It’s completely normal for expecting dads to face these situations during the course of pregnancy. Pregnancy is an overwhelming period with a lot of awkward moments that can bring out the best and worst emotions. Remember to take it one day at a time.

If you have a question after reading and live in the area, call us and schedule an appointment with one of our Board-Certified pediatrics or family practice doctors or attend one of our childbirth classes to learn more about common moments during pregnancy. We will gladly assist you.

Now you know about what dads-to-be often experience during pregnancy, pass it on!