Pregnancy is an incredible journey with a lot of ups and downs. You’ve no doubt been up to your eyes in research, shopping lists and schedules, but take a minute to read this because it’s for you—the partner!
Your main job during the next 40 weeks, in addition to the research and planning, is to be supportive! The best way to be supportive is to be informed about everything your partner is going through, physically and emotionally.
The First Trimester
The first trimester of pregnancy consists of the first 13 weeks. During this time, your partner will most likely need a lot more rest than usual. Morning sickness will kick in, and she might be vomiting frequently. Remember that, although it’s called morning sickness, it can come at any time of the day or night! Be sensitive to things that trigger her, like toothpaste, certain smells, or foods.
Early pregnancy is a very emotional time. Your partner will be very susceptible to mood swings, and while you’re supporting and comforting her, don’t forget about your own feelings. This is an emotional time for you, too. Big changes are coming, and you may feel like there’s not enough time to adjust. Do your best to be present for each other, and don’t worry if you don’t adjust right away—you’ve got time.
The second trimester starts at 14 weeks and lasts until about week 27. For most women, this is the trimester where they feel the best. The pregnancy will become more obvious, and she’ll start feeling better physically. You can expect her energy level to increase as morning sickness tapers off. The baby will start to move around, typically around week 20, though this time frame varies.
This is when a lot of couples start taking childbirth classes to prepare. If you can, take them at the hospital where you plan to have the baby. This can be incredibly informative and should help you learn what to expect, which makes the process less scary.
Week 28 through week 40 will be a pretty uncomfortable time for your partner, not only physically, but mentally, as she’ll be delivering the baby very soon. There will be a lot of prepping to do, things to buy and things to babyproof—but it’s a very exciting time. The baby is getting big and moving around a lot, so your partner may have trouble sleeping, walking, moving around, or doing daily tasks. Do as much as you can to help her feel productive and prepare, and remember that it’s normal to be nervous!
Your partner’s health is your top priority, but you can support her by focusing on your health, too. If she’s on a specific diet, do it with her! Eating what she eats and doing what she does will help her not to feel alone or left out. Make sure you’re both getting plenty of rest, and help her (and yourself) avoid alcohol, smoke, unhealthy foods, and drugs.
Preparing for Labor
Sure, you don’t have to squeeze a human out of you, but there are a lot of things you can do to make it easier for your partner. Tour the hospital before the birth—figure out where to park and what the policies of your specific hospital are. Knowing the little things will make labor time much easier and less stressful for your partner. Also, go ahead and install the carseat! Anything you can do beforehand will make taking your baby home nothing but wonderful and exciting.
It’s incredibly common for new mothers to feel anxious, upset, or sad after giving birth. If she, or you, notice that these feelings last more than a few weeks, she could be suffering from postpartum depression. Often your partner can’t tell that they’re depressed, though, so it’s up to you to be on the lookout for signs:
- Feelings of guilt, helplessness, or overall sadness that seem to get worse over time, and keep her from performing daily tasks
- Inability to care for herself or her baby
- Trouble doing tasks at home or at work
- Changes in her appetite
- Things that used to bring her joy don’t
- Concern or worry about her baby is too intense, or not intense enough
- Feelings of panic and anxiety
- Fear of being left alone with the baby
- Fear of harming the baby, which can lead to feelings of guilt
- Thoughts about self-harm or suicide
If your partner shows any of these signs, let her know that you’re there for her. Listen to her, support her, and let her know of your concerns for her. Help her get the professional help she may need for herself and for her baby.
For more essential tips for your pregnancy journey, contact Regional Medical Center today.