Inside: Wondering how to be a supportive husband during pregnancy? We’ve got plenty of practical ideas for you, and we sure hope for your wife’s sake, you decide to put feet on them and give her the confidence she needs, knowing that her husband is ready for this brand new, sometimes scary adventure.
From the moment those two pink lines reveal themselves on the pregnancy test, life changes forever – for both the woman carrying the baby and the one supporting her during pregnancy, whoever that might be.
Pregnancy is one of the most up-ending experiences a woman can go through, and this season of life leaves nothing untouched.
The entrance of a brand new life brings with it an entirely brand new world.
As a woman, pregnancy is seriously a ride like nothing else. It affects every single part of her: her body, her mind, her emotions, her spirit.
Even though you’re not experiencing pregnancy physically, your role – the husband’s role – in pregnancy has SO much potential.
But it’s up to you what you make of it.
You can fully tap into that potential, or you can miss out. The choice is yours.
As the mama is growing that sweet life inside, a husband can come alongside the mama in so many ways while she does the some of the most unique and important work of her life.
So get ready for some real talk, dads-to-be.
Because if you really want to be a supportive husband during pregnancy, there are so many opportunities.
Dear Husband: Your Role in Pregnancy Can Be Vital…If You Want It to Be
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It can be easy for a husband to feel like he’s on the outside looking in.
But the more he gets involved in supporting his wife through pregnancy, the more he will feel like he is the integral player that he truly is.
Many husbands truly want to support their wives during pregnancy but really don’t know how.
Often, they walk on eggshells because they don’t want to do the wrong thing, or say the wrong thing. And we all know that pregnant women can be…well, a little (or a lot) unpredictable, even to themselves.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’m going to give you some super practical things that you, husband, can do to be supportive during this pregnancy.
How to Be a Supportive Husband During Pregnancy: 15 Practical Ideas
These are easy, actionable, and very doable things you can do to make life easier for mom-to-be and hopefully let her know that she is so far from alone during pregnancy.
You might not be able to carry the baby physically (oh, to be a seahorse), but you CAN “carry” mom while she’s carrying baby.
This is a lot of ideas, a lot of information, a lot to process.
Bookmark this for later – you’re gonna need it for say, the next eightish months?
1. Do your research and know what she’s going experiencing.
Chances are that your wife will have alllllll the pregnancy books and apps. She will know exactly what fruit the baby is at each stage as well as what she herself is experiencing every nanosecond of the pregnancy.
She’ll be checking daily, if not multiple times a day. She’ll be googling all the things.
A smart dad-to-be will do his share of learning right along with her.
The more you are aware of what your pregnant wife is experiencing, the more you can support her.
So check the babycenter.com update week by week right along with her (and let her know you are), read a pregnancy book, or at least a blog article about it, and be with her in the middle of alllll the information overload.
2. Have an abundance of patience and sympathy.
A pregnant mom’s hormones are going to be all over the map. Sometimes she’ll be extra emotional, sometimes irrational, sometimes…well, she might be a little wacky.
There are a plethora of thoughts, feelings, plans, and fears racing simultaneously in her brain and body.
Proceed with patience and sympathy – an abundance of it. Sometimes it helps to just shut up and listen, which brings me to my next point…
3. Be a good listener.
Most ladies have a cluster of girlfriends to talk to at any given moment, but bringing a child into the world can be such an intimate experience between a husband and wife.
A husband who can just be a good listener during this time is huge.
A sounding board for her fears, someone to be excited about the new baby gear she received, a safe place for concerns and all kinds of emotions (even if they are irrational) will help her feel that Dad is fully invested in not only the coming of the baby but in her as a new mom.
4. Be proactive in helping with household tasks.
If you are already a key player in home management (it’s 2021, men, you should have at least SOME role), this will be a lot easier.
But if you’re used to letting his wife manage all the things – the cooking, meal planning, grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning, this might be…well, it might be quite the adjustment.
Get yourself a pack of sticky notes. Set reminders on your phone.
Do what you gotta do, husband, to train yourself to do things you might not normally do.
Maybe you don’t see messes – literally, you don’t. While that is more than understandable (not everyone can be a detail-oriented neat freak), the messes, they do still exist. And you are one of two people living in your home…so half of them are your creation.
Put a sticky note on the kitchen backsplash to remind yourself to wipe down the counters at the end of the night. It’s that simple.
And when it comes to meals, especially in the first trimester, everything might make her puke. The odors of cooking might be especially bad.
Plus, she’s going to be exhausted when she comes home from work. Like fall asleep at the dinner table kind of tired (if she even wants to eat at all).
So you might need to handle cooking for one for a while. If you can afford it, there’s not shame in living on take-out a lot of the time.
The bottom line is that she is going to be a lot more tired than usual and her energy is best spent nurturing that life inside of her, and she is going to need some very practical, hands-on help – especially in the beginning and towards the end, when her energy is extremely low.
It would be so much easier for her if you would be proactive with helping around the house rather than wait for her to ask. At the very least, take care of yourself – your food, your laundry, your space.
However, on the other side, there’s always room to…
5. Ask her what she needs.
Every woman is different. Some women might not want you coming along to appointments (although, there is room for gentle push back on this type of thing – she’s never done this before). She might not want your help with the nursery or be involved in the birth plan.
To each her own, but you don’t know unless you ASK.
There may be other things that a husband may not think of that a pregnant mama may need. Yes, be proactive, but it’s always good to ask exactly what would be most helpful to her.
Her answers may surprise you. But trust me, it’s best just to believe her and roll with it.
6. Continue to tell her she’s beautiful.
Throughout pregnancy, her body will go through dozens and dozens of changes. A lot of women enjoy seeing that growing belly, knowing it means this precious new life is growing inside.
However, there will certainly be times when she will just see herself as puffy and big and the opposite of attractive. And from what she’s read about postpartum, she probably won’t feel attractive again for weeks, if not months after baby is born.
A husband’s reassuring words go a long way in helping her seeing herself as beautiful in every phase of pregnancy – and postpartum, too.
7. Help her rest.
Most moms-to-be have a mile long to-do list. There’s a million and one things your wife wants and needs to get done before the baby arrives.
Even though they desperately need to rest, they may not be able to turn off their busy bodies and brains themselves.
A supportive husband can help his wife get the rest she needs, whether it’s:
- encouraging her to take it easier,
- offering to run errands for her,
- see when she’s hell bent on finishing a very labor-intensive task and offer to take over,
- helping her sleep more comfortably, or
- sometimes just FORCING her to slow down.
You can’t make her sleep, but you can do everything in your power to make space for her to sleep, to rest.
8. Show her that you’re preparing for fatherhood.
A woman is very intimately acquainted at every moment of the day of what’s taking place inside her body. She also fears that maybe the dad isn’t as connected because pregnancy – the coming extremely needy baby – isn’t in his face 24/7.
However, reading books, having an interest in learning baby care-taking tasks, taking childbirth classes with her – all of these things can show her that you are just as invested in fatherhood as she is in motherhood.
So when she casually leaves a stack of daddy-to-be books on the dining room table (or on your nightstand), do yourself a favor and let her see you reading one.
9. Go to as many doctor appointments as you can.
While this might not be possible for every couple for every appointment, the husband’s presence with the pregnant mama at doctor appointments can be so reassuring.
Sometimes there’s news that’s a little concerning. Sometimes it’s just overwhelming, aching-to-be-shared-with-someone joy at seeing the baby move during the ultrasound.
And honestly, sometimes you need to be there to advocate for her – whether it’s to do more testing, support her in the unconventional or to convince her she needs to find a new midwife STAT.
This is all new to her, so it can be easier to have her husband there to share it with. And who else is she going to ask? Asking a girlfriend to come along can feel awkward and weird.
She also might get some instructions or information from the doctor that she either forgets or it doesn’t quite sit right with her.
It’s seriously better that two sets of ears and personalities receive and process all the things.
10. Help her plan for and set up the nursery.
Decorating is typically seen as a wife’s work, but demonstrating an interest in the space for a new baby will speak volumes to her.
While she might be the one with all the ideas and saving inspiration pictures to nursery boards on Pinterest, your opinions, interest and input will show that you’re invested in all the things.
You might also be able to show off any DIY skills that you have.
Whatever you do, show interest and express availability for anything from setting up the crib to putting up ship lap in the nursery. Because you’re Chip Gaines, right? (Wink wink.)
11. Follow her cues when it comes to…you know, “intimacy”.
The drive for intimacy during pregnancy is a funny thing, and it affects every woman differently. Some days, you’ll come home from work, and she’s waiting behind the door to jump you and get you into bed ASAP.
Other days she’ll be self-conscious about her body.
Sometimes what felt good before pregnancy doesn’t really work for her while she’s pregnant. And especially as the pregnancy progress, she may just be too tired and not in the mood.
Don’t take it personally. Her body is experiencing SO many changes right now, it’s quite honestly hard to keep up.
If the actual ACT of intimacy isn’t on the table, there are plenty of other ways to connect physically. Cuddling, hugs and kisses are always viable options.
I know at times it won’t seem like NEARLY enough, but I’m going to be frank: you are one half of the equation that made this whole pregnancy thing HAPPEN in the first place.
The reason you’re not getting any is because you got some in the first place. It’s mind-blowing and quite possibly the definition of irony, I know.
And after baby arrives, she’ll be even MORE exhausted and possibly constantly anxious that baby’s going to wake up while you’re getting back in the saddle.
Then there’s the potential of postpartum depression, which is a bigger conversation for another time. Let’s just leave it at this – know the signs so you can help her get the help she needs if she needs it.
In so many ways, intimacy during pregnancy is easier in many ways that intimacy after baby.
So gently initiate when you’re in the mood, but don’t get upset if you get rejected. It’s a tall order, I know.
Talk openly about it in a non-judgmental way (because not talking about it isn’t helpful), and try to take the hit.
One day things will go back to some semblance of normal. One day.
12. Help take care of her physically.
Along the lines of physical closeness, she may have other physical needs that have nothing to do with intimacy.
Her aching muscles may need massages. Her feet may need to be rubbed. She may need a spa day.
You can step up and offer to do these things yourself, or support local business and get a gift certificate.
Also, depending on if she’s at the height of her pregnancy during the winter or summer, she may need extra help staying comfortable as well.
Oh, and taking care of her physically? It may or may not include late-night runs to satisfy her random ice cream or burger cravings. Without complaining.
13. Adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Having a healthy lifestyle is priority for pregnant mamas. It’s so much better and easier if Dad has the same priority.
That might look like no drinking and no smoking along with her throughout the pregnancy. It might mean adopting her healthy eating habits. It might mean going on regular walks with her.
If she’s working SO hard to keep herself healthy for the baby, it means so much to know she’s not alone in that, that it matters enough for you to get your butt to the gym or to eat your fruits and veggies.
14. Be involved in the birth plan
While it’s true that a mama is the one who will go through labor, a husband’s input is important.
It’s critical, not to mention helpful, to have a sounding board to talk through every possible scenario. If a desire for a birth without an epidural seems off to you (she sobs for an hour over a splinter), ask her about it. Ask her what she wants you to do if she asks for one an hour in, two hours in, twenty hours in.
Then, if she still says she wants a natural birth, pledge to support whatever she wants, as long as she still wants it.
Also, if she ends up in a position where she forgets or can’t communicate her wishes, she’s going to need you – her husband – to advocate for her, to speak on her behalf and know exactly what the plan is, even if it’s Plan B.
15. Do extra special things for her
Hopefully, signs of affections are happening on the regular, but during pregnancy, extra thoughtfulness goes a long, long way.
Stopping for flowers on the way home.
Dropping off her favorite Starbucks beverage at work (decaf, of course).
A little gift for no reason. Bringing her favorite dessert or take-out without being asked.
All those little things during pregnancy can give her confidence and peace, knowing that your marriage – your family – will be strong enough to weather whatever difficulties life with a newborn and beyond bring with it.
When You Rock at Being a Supportive Husband, Everyone Wins
Life is going to majorly change once that new baby arrives. No doubt.
Pregnancy is just phase one.
When a woman feels supported by her husband during pregnancy, it gives her all the confidence in the world that everything is going to be OK in their new life.
If she feels like she is going it alone or doesn’t have a close ally, well, there’s no doubt that will affect her once the baby arrives as well, and all throughout her pregnancy.
Being a supportive husband isn’t just good for the pregnant mama’s well being – it’s establishing a home and a life that’s solid and secure for this new blessing who is coming into your world.
Even if you did just a few of the things on this list, it would make such a difference.
From a formerly pregnant wife, and mom to twins, you can take my word for it.
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Kate is a former high school English teacher and current SAHM to her 5-year-old twin boys. A lifetime New Yorker recently transplanted in Tennessee, she keeps busy by learning her new way of life in the South, doing home decor and DIY projects, blogging at A Hundred Affections, substitute teaching, and figuring out how to survive in a house outnumbered by boys. And she loves Jesus very much.