Pregnancy is an exciting time for a couple, but it can also be a challenging 40 weeks. If you are the supporting partner here are 10 things you can do to help your spouse.
1. Book prenatal massages
Midway through the second trimester everything begins to feel uncomfortable. By the third trimester back pain is ridiculous, restless leg syndrome may set in, the hips begin to hurt from the extra weight and etc etc. Sleeping through the night requires the perfect juxtaposition of body pillows which is then interrupted every 20 mins. for potty breaks. Giving your partner daily back massages helps a lot. Additionally if you can afford to, book your partner a few professional prenatal massages. At 31 weeks my husband booked me a prenatal massage and it was the most comfortable I’ve felt in the entire pregnancy. I can not emphasize how grateful I was.
2. Have thick skin
Understand that even in your best efforts to keep a happy wife hormones will sometimes win. If your partner is upset, crying or irrational it may be totally out of your control. Don’t feel like it’s your fault or that you are failing in some way. The stress of hormones, anxiety of a new baby, and discomfort of a rapidly changing body are more than enough to make us emotional.
3. Have a close friend whose already experienced having a pregnant partner.
Talk to this person frequently for advice and sanity. Feel free to complain and vent to this person. But never ever complain or vent to your pregnant partner. Trust that whatever you are experiencing, they are experiencing in a much greater magnitude. Be supportive
4. Clean, cook do laundry.
Before pregnancy my husband and I unofficially split the chores. He would primarily take care of the dishes and floors and I would primarily do the laundry and clean the bathrooms. In my first trimester I had the flu and could barely do anything. He took over all the cooking and the chores. In the third trimester I’m a lot bigger and physically exhausted especially since I’m still working my day job. When I can I help out but he is consistent in making sure we have cooked food to eat, clean dishes and bathrooms. I’m really grateful for his contributions around the house.
5. Encourage a healthy diet by also changing your diet.
People joke about husbands running out at 2am to pick up fast food and junk food for their pregnant wives. But truthfully, high blood pressure, preclampsysia and gestational diabetes are all really scary things you want to avoid in pregnancy. Help your wife by offering healthier options to her cravings. You will also need to participate in this to show solidarity. Grocery shopping and cooking are necessary to avoid ordering too much take out especially if prior to pregnancy your wife was the primary cook in the home.
6. Adjust Your Life Style
Understand that your partners lifestyle is rapidly changing already. No longer can she do after work happy hour, stay out late or partake in certain activities. Pregnancy can be lonely and socially isolating for this reason. To be more supportive, you should decrease your happy hours and late night hangouts. Instead think of activities your partner can participate in and plan fun days for them. Earlier in my pregnancy I remember being frustrated and even slightly jealous of my husband because his life hadn’t changed at all. He could still stay out late while I felt exhausted and confined to the boring house. Once I told him this he started making extra efforts to think of activities to include me. Now we swim in the apartment pool, go out to brunch, play cards, go see movies and other activities a pregnant woman can participate in.
7. Support the Nesting Phase
Somewhere in the second trimester your pregnant partner may start nesting. Nesting is the urge to start making your home ready for the baby. We live in a two bedroom apartment with a guest room that we intend to maintain as a guest room for parents. Toward the beginning of my third trimester I started feeling anxious about the fact that we weren’t preparing a nursery. Once night at 9pm in the middle of watching TV in bed I abruptly got up to frantically measure the wall. I was concerned the crib wouldn’t fit. My very patient and understanding husband validated my concerns by changing out of his PJS back into his clothes, moving the master bed and then making a target run at 10pm to buy a new vacuum. Could it have all waited until morning? Of course, but my strong desire to nest felt urgent and my husband understood this.
8. Maternity Shopping Spree
12 weeks into my pregnancy was our 1 year marriage anniversary. I had just started showing and none of my dresses would fit. The next day my husband took me to Destination Maternity for a shopping spree. At the start of my third trimester after I was significantly bigger he took me on a second shopping spree. At first I didn’t want to buy maternity clothes, but as I got bigger and bigger getting dressed for work each day became a chore. I felt fat, ugly and uncomfortable. During each shopping spree I bought beautiful long flowing maxi dresses that made me feel both comfortable and beautiful. Looking and feeling beautiful really makes a difference when your body is changing so rapidly. Another great place for beautiful maternity clothes is Pink Blush.
9. Always answer the phone
Always, always, always answer the phone when your partner calls. Many people keep their phones on silent so that it doesn’t go off during meetings but if your partner is pregnant you can not miss a call. Anytime your partner calls it may be an emergency, especially as the pregnancy nears the end. Furthermore, not answering your phone creates anxiety for your partner. It makes us wonder if you will miss the call when we finally do go into labor.
10. Communicate Security & Don’t Procrastinate
My husband is the type of person who likes to silently plan things. He is fortunately very good at planning things and making great decisions, but sometimes his silence creates anxiety for me. I had to explain to him that the reality of this baby’s arrival gets realer for me each day as I feel him kicking and I see my belly growing. As a result I need open communication about our plans regarding important family decisions, i.e. financial plans, home buying, scheduling parental visits, etc. Additionally, don’t procrastinate. Complete task immediately when possible. In my second trimester I was eager to clean out our closets to make space for baby stuff. I asked my husband to help take down the stacked bins from the laundry room. Had he not expediently unstacked the bins I guarantee you I would have tried to lift them myself and probably hurt myself.
Those are my 10 tips for being a supportive partner to your pregnant significant other. If you have more tips to share please write them in the comments below. Two more weeks until Baby Nur! We will keep you updated!
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