Believe it or not, there are some men who “experience” pregnancy the same time their wives do. It’s a condition called a sympathetic pregnancy — also known as Couvade Syndrome, where the men experience physical and psychological effects of pregnancy like their wives do. No one knows for sure why it happens.
For most dads-to-be, the nine-month wait until bubba’s arrival might leave us feeling a little lost and helpless. While you patiently await your offspring’s arrival, there are things you can do to prepare for your impending fatherhood.
Besides, won’t it be nice to sound like a hero whenever your wife recounts her pregnancy experience? Your kiddo will also grow to adore you for helping pregnant mummy along…
1) Accompany her to doctor’s appointments
Your wife's probably feeling as anxious and unsure as you are of the whole childbirth journey. So be present and be her support. Going to these appointments allows you to know what is going on at every stage of the pregnancy, and how both of you can prepare, together, for the changes to come. By the way, you should know that there’s a possibility of your wife developing mum-nesia (or mummy brain). Mums-to-be often experience bouts of forgetfulness. So, go to the docs with her and be sure to jot down the important stuff.
2) Take on the household chores
By doing so, she’ll have one less thing to fuss about and more time to rest. Household chores aren’t just taxing on the mind, it’s physically demanding on her pregnant body, too. Water retention, swelling and the additional weight on her petite frame mean more aches and pains. That’s why she’s going to need all the help she can get. Just remember that when you are doing these chores, do it according to her instructions!
Besides, won’t it be nice to sound like a hero whenever your wife recounts her pregnancy experience?
3) Help her sleep better at night
Her achy joints and muscles coupled with an active baby worming around in her belly is bound to cost her some shuteye. Making sure the bedroom is as conducive as possible for sleep — dim lights and soft white noise may do the trick. Otherwise, give these a try:
*Help her get used to sleeping on her left side instead of her back or tummy. This position improves her blood circulation. Prop a pregnancy pillow against her back – this should help her get into this sleeping posture.
* Meditate with her before bedtime Shut your eyes and focus on taking several deep breaths for about 10 minutes at a stretch, before gradually increasing the length of time. Do this with her with the help of nifty smartphone apps like Headspace (free for iPhone and Android).
* Don’t use your phone and tablet in the bedroom The glow from your gadgets have a higher concentration of blue light than natural light. This can drastically affect the levels of melatonin — a sleep-inducing hormone — in your body, preventing her from getting the rest she needs
* Cuddles Besides letting her know that you still love her blossoming body, cuddling can boost oxytocin — also known as the love hormone — levels in an expectant mum’s body. The hormone plays a crucial role in the birthing and nursing process, and relaxes her, too.
* Pour her some warm milk before bed Milk is rich in tryptophan, a type of amino acid, which boosts melatonin levels in the body, making it easier to drift off into a restful slumber.
Check out our other recommendations for pregnant mums to get some quality shut-eye.
4) Mummy-proof your home
With her growing baby bump, your wife’s no longer as agile and nimble as she once was. Plus, the growing foetus is going to exert more pressure on her bladder, forcing her to make multiple trips to the bathroom. To prevent her from tripping at night, make sure that the path to and from the toilet is well-lit and clear from potential tripping hazards. You may consider fitting anti-slip stickers in the showers as well.
Read on for more ways to get involved…
5) Start a nursery project
When baby does arrive, there’s going to be months of endless feeds, changing nappies and pacifying an irritable mini-me. Creating a calm area in your home will be helpful in soothing baby (and the wife). Make sure to buy furniture that’s functional and user friendly and design the room such that necessities like diapers and milk bottles are always well within reach. If it’s going to be a dedicated nursery, you should consider what your baby-proofing needs are as well.
6) Follow her pregnancy diet
If doctors are advising her to skip the soda, alcohol or her daily cup of coffee, it will be criminal — not to mention, disrespectful — to be gulping down on these in her presence. Getting caught secretly chowing down on these banned foods is far, far worse. Just. Don’t. Do. It.
7) Exercise together
Remember that a healthy mum means a healthy baby. Exercising lowers one’s risk of a whole host of chronic health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure. Have a go at swimming, as it relieves your spouse’s muscles and joints of the pressure from her body weight. Doing it together makes allows you to bond together as a couple, and can also be the motivation that either of you need to continue.
8) Balance the books
Having a child may seem like a wallet draining exercise, but it doesn’t have to be, if you plan your finances right. Taking stock of the possible costs involved in meeting your mini-me’s immediate needs after birth — diapers, milk powder, milk bottles — will help you make the necessary changes to prepare for these and more.
It’s a given — marriage is hard work. Your impending parenthood is going to make it even more complicated.
9) Nurture your relationship
It’s a given — marriage is hard work. Your impending parenthood is going to make it even more complicated. There will come a time when you’ve got to make parenting decisions that will pit you against your spouse. Also, with a little one in the way, date nights and us-time may be on the back burner for the first few months. So, it is vital you keep the relationship going and growing now. Go on spontaneous date nights and share your feelings and thoughts with each other clearly.
10) Keep a journal for bubba
If talking about your feelings isn’t your cup of tea, try writing them out in a journal or on a blog. Plus, there’s bound to be many ups and downs in the journey to delivery day. Chronicling all of it can serve as a reference for your kids when they embark on their own parenting journey in the future.
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