1. Do some initial research
For future dads like us, sadly, there aren’t a ton of resources out there. You’re going to run into a lot of content directed at future moms. Do not discount the information because it will be helpful to understand what she’ll be going through over the next 9-10 months.
Look into a few of the companion apps out there for your phone. They can give you a good bit of information as a starting point. It’s also fun to follow along in the development of your baby with an app that compares the fetus to common items like fruits and vegetables. Personally, I really liked the DaddyUp app.
2. Get acquainted with the medical process
If the mother of your future baby wants and expects you to attend the majority of her doctor appointments, then you should know you’re going to be visiting the doctor about once per month in the first 6 months and then every two weeks from week 28 until the end of the pregnancy. Some of the appointments are really exciting like the ones where you’ll see your baby with the help of an ultrasound. Hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time will stick with you for a long time!
Obviously, it’s not all fun and games. You’re going to be called on to decide as a couple whether to go through a battery of tests designed to detect birth defects in the baby and make some tough decisions based on the results. Make sure you talk about how you both feel about potential results ahead of accepting any of these tests!
3. Understand what she expects of you throughout her pregnancy
If you’re like me, then you found out she’s pregnant around week 5. That’s pretty early in the process and the generally accepted wisdom is that you shouldn’t announce until after the end of the first trimester. (Week 12) There are a number of reasons for this but they all center around the risk of miscarriage in the first trimester.
I thought waiting another 2 months to tell anyone was far too difficult and I couldn’t imagine going through a miscarriage without any outside support. We make a very good team and I’m not discounting how much we support each other. We both decided we would tell a couple of friends so they were aware and we had other people to talk to about the experience.
Have you thought about a potential nursery? Will you need to renovate in order to accommodate the new addition?
4. Get your shit on track
I have always needed a routine to succeed. For some people, it can be as simple as waking up around the same time daily, but I need more structure. I highly recommend taking an inventory of what you need to feel like you’ve won the day and turn those activities and habits into a routine ahead of the baby’s arrival.
As an example, I need to work out daily. Now, I don’t mean two full hours in the gym. It can be as simple as doing push-ups to failure just to get the blood flowing. I know these types of activities are going to help when the sleepless nights start and will help me stay positive and level-headed.
5. Take a deep breath
Lastly, and most importantly, don’t forget to breathe. Pregnancy is not a sprint and it takes close to 10 months before you get to meet your new baby. There are going to be some trying times throughout the process, but you need to remember to take time for yourself to make sure that you’re in the right headspace. Mindfulness meditation can help to center you during some of the trying times and will likely help you when your significant other goes into labor.
There are lots of people who try very hard to get pregnant without any luck so be thankful that you get to experience it and remember to enjoy every second.