Living with a Mum-to-be

In my opinion, the biggest responsibility for any dad-to-be is moral support and encouragement for your partner and there are lots of times when we're needed to boost her self-confidence. This is often underestimated and can be frustrating as it's easy to feel useless unless there is something tangible that we can physically 'do'. Of course, decorating the nursery or child-proofing the cupboards is helpful but on a day to day basis, here are some tips on what to expect during pregnancy and what you can do to help. Some of them seem insignificant and she may not notice your efforts but anything to make the pregnancy easier is valuable for all three (or more) of you.

Whatever happens, love and attention are needed more than ever as well as the odd reminder that she's blooming. The occasional present or flowers wouldn't go amiss either, but be careful if you plan a surprise meal out - she may not be in the mood or may feel sick at the thought of certain foods. Finally, don't expect thanks. Everyone knows what an amazing mental and physical feat it is for a woman to give birth and just the other day, a pregnant friend of mine was adamant that there's nothing for men to do during pregnancy. You could try reminding people of the points listed below but if all else fails, you know there's at least one website out there that understands your role...

Helpful tips for living with your pregnant partner.
When it happens How it affects you What you can do
When it happens How it affects you What you can do
Morning SicknessFirst 3 or 4 months, not just in the morning.You have a regularly sick lady in a lot of discomfort.Whatever she wants! Look after her but without medication and be grateful it's not happening to you.
Mood SwingsAnytime.Irregular and frequent mood swings replace the pre-pregnancy monthly ones.Be understanding and patient and try not to run away to the pub too often. Don't forget you have mood swings too.
Hot & Cold FlushesUsually in the last few months.She dictates room temperatures.Buy a heater or a fan for her and adjust your clothing to suit.
Hunger & CravingsAnytime.She dictates when and what you're going to eat.Keep the fridge full and be prepared to go the shops or to a specific restaurant at any time.
TirednessAnytime.She may not be able to concentrate as much as before.Understand when she gets irritable and encourage afternoon naps. A v-shaped pillow is useful for getting comfortable with a big belly.
Unprovoked CryingMostly in the later months.You can feel a combination of concern and guilt.Time your jokes carefully and always have tissues handy.
Increased Body NoisesAll the time.You're no longer the main snorer or farter in the house.Laugh it off and open the windows.
Frustration & LonelinessAnytime.You can get the blame for things out of your control.Be with her as much as she wants and get her a good book like 'The Fat Ladies Club'.
ForgetfulnessAnytime.You find the house keys still in the front door when you come home.Don't moan but gently remind her especially to take her vitamins and do those exercises.
Can't DriveThe last month or so.You become the chauffeur.Keep the car topped up and get seatbelt clips to take the strain of her tummy.
Weak BladderAll the time.You get even less time in the bathroom.Be quick and keep that toilet seat down...
Over-exertionFrom mid-pregnancy.You don't want her to strain herself.Persuade her to take it easy and definitely not to stretch.
Fainting & LightheadednessTowards the end.You may see your partner collapse.Be prepared with cushions, cold water and fans. Have a first aid kit and book handy.
Expanding BodyFrom the 2nd or 3rd month.You feel more involved now you can see what's happening.Take photos, congratulate her and feel for those kicks. Then take her shopping for maternity clothes and fitted bras.
Static ElectricityAnytime.You'll have a highly-charged partner.Look but don't touch.

Comments (now closed)

Thanks for this, my fiancee was really difficult to live with because she's having a really difficult pregnancy. Now I've read this, I know what to do and now we dont have stupid fights - we're even closer together.
Andrew17 June 2004

Again a great page. Full of facts. Baby due in 3 months and great to see advice through humour.
Scott16 June 2004