How to Get Dad Involved in Pregnancy
Although the woman is the one who must carry and nurture her unborn baby, men don’t have to take a step back during the pregnancy. A dad should share his significant other’s pregnancy experience to the fullest extent, recommends the University of Maryland Medical Center.
Involving the man during the pregnancy can help couples share this special time, support each other and better prepare for when the baby arrives.
6 Steps to Get Dad Involved in Pregnancy
1. Get dad in the loop.
Ask him if he feels left out as a part of the pregnancy because he isn’t the one who is carrying the baby. Keep the soon-to-be dad up-to-date on regular doctor’s appointments, any special tests and pregnancy-related activities such as a baby shower.
Tell dad about these dates and write them on a family calendar that you hang in a central place — such as the kitchen — to make sure he knows where you expect him to be.
2. Go to birthing classes together.
Sign up for a birthing class at your doctor’s office, hospital or another community health setting. Encourage dad to go with you, letting him know this class will prepare him for what to expect during the rest of your pregnancy, during delivery and directly after.
3. Take a child care class together.
Put aside dad’s worries that he won’t know how to care for the baby that is growing inside of you by helping him prepare for infant care. Work as a team to learn about baby basics.
4. Insist that dad goes to at least one ultrasound appointment.
Watching the baby who is growing inside of you moving on the ultrasound screen makes the experience more real for him, showing him what you can already feel — or will be able to feel shortly, if the ultrasound is early in your pregnancy.
5. Stress how important dad’s participation in the pregnancy is for you.
Tell him that his helpful words and actions can put your frazzled emotions at ease, making it more likely that your pregnancy will progress smoothly.
6. Bring dad baby shopping.
Register for shower gifts together, scanning the aisles of your local baby store — or go online — for everything your infant will need. Ask dad to pick out his own special gift for the baby, such as a onesie that says, “Daddy’s Boy” or a cuddly blanket.
Tips and Warnings
- Encourage him to talk to other dads. He may not feel comfortable discussing all of his fears with you in the same way he would with another man.
- Let dad know when the baby kicks or moves. Putting his hand on your belly and feeling his child swimming around will make the experience more real for him and bring him closer to his unborn baby. Ask him to talk to the baby through your belly as he feels the movements.
- Don’t nag dad about his lack of involvement. There is a difference between asking him if he feels left out in a caring manner and barking orders at him to get more involved.
- Avoid forcing your opinions on your husband or boyfriend. His idea of involvement may differ from yours. Ask him what he feels being an involved father means, and then offer your own opinions in a constructive way.
- Try not to give up. You have nine months to involve dad in his upcoming baby’s birth. If your first attempts fail, keep trying to involve him at different points during your pregnancy.
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