Pregnancy Prep for Dad

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What's making her tick? A month-by-month guide for the Dad-to-be.

So, you’re going to be a father — CONGRATS! While this certainly brings unparalleled excitement in your life, it can also come with lots of uncertainty and fear of the unknown, especially if you’re a first-time father. A little pregnancy prep for Dad is in order.

Sometimes, expectant fathers aren’t too sure what to make of their partner’s physical changes and emotional roller coasters that are drastic as the weeks roll along. “It’s critical that you understand what your partner is going through and when,” says Armin Brott, author of the best-selling book, The Expectant Father: The Ultimate Guide for Dads-to-Be (Abbeville Press; 2015).

Brott’s book is an excellent pregnancy resource for soon-to-be dads, offering a month-by-month detailed reality of everything to expect from what’s happening with his partner to his own mindset and staying involved. One of the helpful insights it includes is critical info to help guys have a better working knowledge of what their partner’s going experiencing as the pregnancy progresses.

For expectant dads who want to do all they can to make that nine months as comfortable as possible for their partners, here’s a look at what happening as the months go by as Brott’s book details:

FIRST MONTH

PHYSICALLY

• Morning sickness (nausea, heartburn, vomiting)
• Food cravings or aversions
• Dizziness, irritability, headaches
• Fatigue
• Breast changes: tenderness, enlargement

EMOTIONALLY

• Thrilled, stunned, frightened
• A heightened sense of closeness to you
• Apprehension about the nine months ahead
• Mood swings and sudden, unexplained crying

SECOND MONTH

PHYSICALLY

• Continuing fatigue
• Continuing morning sickness
• Frequent urination
• Tingly fingers
• Breast tenderness & darkening nipples

EMOTIONALLY

• Continued elation and perhaps simultaneous ambivalence about being pregnant
• Inability to keep her mind on her work
• Fear you won’t find her attractive anymore
• Continued moodiness
• Fear of an early miscarriage

THIRD MONTH

PHYSICALLY

• Fatigue, morning sickness, breast tenderness and other early pregnancy symptoms are starting to disappear
• Continuing moodiness
• She doesn’t look pregnant yet, but she’s having trouble fitting into her clothes anyway

EMOTIONALLY

• Heightened sense of reality about the pregnancy from hearing Baby’s heartbeat
• Continuing ambivalence about the pregnancy and wondering how she’s ever going to get through the next 6 months
• Frustration and/or excitement over her thickening waistline
• Turning inward — beginning to focus on what’s happening inside her
• Beginning to bond with the baby

FOURTH MONTH

PHYSICALLY

• As her morning sickness wanes, she’ll start to recover her appetite — for food and for sex
• Clumsy — dropping and spilling things
• She may be able to feel some slight movements of the baby
• She may notice strange changes in her vision
• She may get gingivitis — 60 – 75 percent of pregnant women do
• She may be starting to show

EMOTIONALLY

• Great excitement when she sees the sonogram
• Worries about miscarriage are beginning to fade
• Concerned about what it really means to be a mother
• Continuing forgetfulness and mood swings
• Increasingly dependent on you — needs to know you’ll be there for her, that you still love her

FIFTH MONTH

PHYSICALLY

• May feel the baby’s movements
• May have occasional, painless tightening of the uterus or “false labor”
• Breasts are getting larger and may leak a little
• Navel changing from innie to outie
• Vision changing
• Hormones are causing all sorts of issues: she’s forgetful, fingernails may be brittle, skin may be splotchy

EMOTIONALLY

• Very reassured by Baby’s movements and less worries about miscarriage
• Developing feeling of bonding with the baby and may spend a lot of time daydreaming about him/her
• Overwhelmed by the flood of advice coming in from all sides
• Sensitivity about her changing figure
• Increased sexual desire
• Increasingly dependent on you
• Feelings of jealousy

SIXTH MONTH

PHYSICALLY

• Period of greatest weight gain begins
• Increased sweating
• Increased blood supply gives her that pregnant “glow”
• Swelling of the hands and feet
• Fatigue, dizziness and runny nose are not uncommon
• A constant, nagging backache
• Incredibly bizarre food cravings
• A little bit of urine leakage when laughing, coughing or sneezing

EMOTIONALLY

• Moodiness is decreasing
• Continued forgetfulness and even some short-term memory loss
• Feeling that the pregnancy will never end
• Increased bonding with the baby
• Still very dependent on you
• Wondering what kind of mom she’ll be, and how the way she was mothered will affect her own parenting

SEVENTH MONTH

PHYSICALLY

• Increasing general physical discomfort (cramps, dizziness, abdominal achiness, heartburn, gas, constipation, etc.)
• Itchy belly, puffy face
• Increasing clumsiness and decreasing stamina
• Expanding hip joins
• Some thick, white, vaginal discharge (it’s called leukorrhea and is completely normal)
• Increased Braxton-Hicks (false labor) contractions

EMOTIONALLY

• May be getting used to the emotional ups and downs of pregnancy
• Decreased moodiness
• Forgetful
• Dreaming/fantasizing about the baby
• Concerned about work
• Feeling energized and eager to get things ready for the baby — OR completely overwhelmed by everything there is left to do
• Fearful about the labor and delivery

EIGHTH MONTH

PHYSICALLY

• Even stronger fetal activity
• Heavier vaginal discharge
• Overall discomfort getting more severe
• Frequent urination
• Sleeplessness
• Increased fatigue
• Shortness of breath as Baby takes up more room
• Water retention and swelling of hands, feet and ankles
• More frequent Braxton-Hicks contractions

EMOTIONALLY

• Feeling special as people are going out of their way to help her
• Feeling a bond with others, like a member of a secret club
• Feeling exceptionally attractive … or ugly
• Relieved that the baby would survive if born now
• Worried about whether the baby will be normal, what he’ll look like, whether she’ll be a good mom and whether her body will ever get back to normal
• Afraid her water will break in public

NINTH MONTH

PHYSICALLY

• Some change in fetal activity
• Increased sleeplessness and fatigue
• A renewed sense of energy when Baby’s head “drops” into the pelvis, taking some of the pressure off the stomach and lungs
• May have stopped gaining weight but still feels miserable with increased cramping, constipation, backache, water retention and swelling of hands, feet and ankles
• Little to no interest in sex (though some women’s interest actually increases)

EMOTIONALLY

• More dependent on you than ever — afraid you won’t love her after the baby is born
• Impatient: tired of being tired, frustrated with being so big, and can’t wait for pregnancy to be over
• Short-tempered
• May be afraid she won’t have enough love to go around
• Fear she won’t be ready for labor when it comes
• Creating endless lists of things that absolutely, positively have to be done (in most cases by YOU) before Baby arrives
• Increasing preoccupation with the baby and perhaps a sudden, unexplained interest in interior decorating

Don’t forget, Dad-to-be, that you’re expecting, too, albeit in an entirely different way. You’ll be going through your own roller coaster of emotions and feelings. Communication with your partner is key during these nine exciting months!

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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