It can be a challenge for your partner to understand what you are experiencing during pregnancy, for a number of reasons. Even the most devoted, supportive, caring partners may seem unsure about how to relate because they are unable to physically experience everything that you feel. This may leave them feeling a little left out, and can leave you feeling as if you are going it alone.
Even though your partner is not able to be physically involved in your pregnancy, there are ways to include him in the journey of pregnancy that you are experiencing. After all, you are both equally excited about the new life you are bringing into the world!
Here are a few ways to involve your partner in your pregnancy:
- Invite your partner to the doctor. Having your partner with you at doctor or midwife appointments will help him feel even more connected. Hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time together can be as emotional for him as it is for you. The more appointments you share together, the better!
- Create your baby’s nursery together. Working on this space as a team will certainly help your partner feel more involved. Whether you are putting the crib together, hanging art, painting walls, or working on a DIY craft project – it is the time spent together that will bond you!
- Take a parenting class. There is a good chance that if you feel anxious about becoming a parent, your partner does as well. You can help alleviate some of the anxiety and concerns by taking a parenting class together.
- Attend birthing classes. The hospital staff will give plenty of support during labor and delivery, but your partner may be a great birthing coach as well! Taking a birthing class together will help your partner develop the skills they need to encourage you throughout the entire labor and delivery process.
- Create healthy lifestyle changes. Health should be a top priority during pregnancy. While you may be the one physically carrying your baby, you can both support the health of your unborn child by: eating healthy meals and exercising together, getting plenty of rest, and avoiding harmful substances like alcohol and cigarettes.
- Talk about baby name. Brainstorming names is not only a fun and easy way to prepare for your baby, but it is also a great way to bond and learn even more about each other (e.g. “We can never name our child Zach! A kid named Zach stole my lunch every day in 2nd grade!”).
- Read baby books together. There are so many books out there that can teach you and your partner about pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting. Reading a book together is a great way to educate yourselves while also providing opportunities for discussion.
- Create a birth plan. You will be the one delivering your baby when the big day arrives, which is why it is even more important to include your partner in the planning process as much as possible. Discussing and deciding on what is important to you will empower your partner so they are able to advocate for you, if you are unable to do so yourself. This is also a great opportunity to make your partner feel helpful when they may feel as though all they can do is sit on the sidelines and cheer you on.
The most important way for your partner to be involved in your pregnancy is by being supportive. According to The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women who are well-supported throughout their pregnancy are more likely to give up harmful behaviors, lead healthier lives, and may experience less stress and anxiety after childbirth.