3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> You Your Patner and Fatherhood

You Your Patner and Fatherhood

During your pregnancy, you and your partner will start to think about your new roles as parents. So far you may only have thought of each other as 'partners' or 'lovers', but now you may be wondering if you will be a good mother and your partner a good father. He will probably be having the same feelings and doubts about his role in the months and years to come.

Involving your partner

Your partner may feel detached at the beginning of a pregnancy, because he has none of the signs or symptoms that, for you, make the pregnancy real. It is as if your partner needs something more tangible before he can accept the pregnancy. You will not look any different and so, in some cases, it is only when he has seen an ultrasound image of the baby, or heard the heartbeat, that the reality will hit him.

Although you may be feeling tired and nauseous, until you have an obvious, if small, bump or he feels the baby move, he may find it hard to accept that anything has changed. Parenthood is a journey together and it can help to involve your partner from the start, getting him to accompany you to antenatal checks whenever possible.

You may become so preoccupied with the pregnancy and growing baby that your partner feels pushed out and lonely. He may have his own worries about becoming a father, so find time when you can talk together about the way that you both feel. He may be anxious about providing financial security, particularly if you are planning to give up work, and so you need to plan together for the months ahead.

Changes in your relationship

Women often feel more sexual at certain times during their pregnancy. It is normal to go off sex at times during your pregnancy, and you may find that your desire peaks and troughs over the 9 months. Some men are reluctant to make love during pregnancy for fear of hurting the baby. For most women, it is perfectly safe to have sex throughout their pregnancy (see page 64), and your partner may need to be reassured that his penis does not go further than the vagina, and that the baby will not be affected. The arrival of your baby will inevitably change your relationship in some way and, for some couples, it is important to spend some quality time together before they become a family. If possible, plan a holiday together before the birth.

Remember that your partner will have his own concerns about the pregnancy and birth, or even about the idea of becoming a parent, and he also needs someone to talk to. By attending antenatal classes with you, he will get the opportunity to talk with other men about their feelings. Some men might worry about whether they will be a good father, perhaps because they had a difficult relationship with their own father.

How your partner can help

There are a number of ways in which your partner can help, all of which will make him feel more involved. These include:

  • Running a warm bath for you before bedtime.
  • Massaging your back and shoulders.
  • Trying to be understanding of your mood swings - pregnancy can be a roller coaster of emotions.
  • Listening to what you want from him.
  • Coming with you to antenatal classes and ultrasound scans.
  • Offering to be your birth partner.