Since I am nearing the end of a pregnancy, I feel qualified to make a post like this. (Since I am, after all, a pregnancy pro now.) This post is for significant others of those who's lady has a bun in the oven and things you can do to make the baking process as easy for her as humanly possible. She deserves it. After all, she's carrying your precious little parasite around in her stomach.
- From the moment she takes the test her whole life changes. Yours does, too. But not in the same way that hers does. To a pregnant woman, the world becomes more dangerous than a tiger on a unicycle. Seemingly innocent foods like pineapple suddenly become cervix-softening poison. Anyone with a cough looks like they're incubating Pertussis. She will lose sleep over whether or not the cheese she had earlier was possibly unpasteurized. So while it looks like she's developing an anxiety disorder, try your best to assure her that everything is going to be okay. Don't, however, make her feel crazy for worrying about cheese.
Keep an open door policy for venting. Pregnancy, especially for first time moms, can be a little scary. Women wonder if the baby is doing okay, what labor will be like, whether they’ll have to have a c-section, and whether they’ll be good at being a mom. Be willing to let her vent or cry whenever she needs to, even if it’s in the middle of the night. If there’s something specific that’s worrying her, do some research so you can confidently tell her, “Those pains you’re experiencing are normal and do not mean you will give birth to a two-headed hydra baby.”
- You may notice that her boobs have gotten bigger. Like, excruciatingly bigger. Trust me, she has noticed too. It is more than likely the first thing about her body that changed. (In addition, it is the reason for her back pain and why she can no longer wear low cut shirts without looking like a prostitute.) So you don't have to point it out every time she changes in front of you. Maybe this one is just me, but I personally didn't feel like Kate Upton the moment I got pregnant. It was more like this.
Boobs. Boobs everywhere.
Because Ethan is amazing, he took me to Destination Maternity where they were having a sale on Motherhood Maternity bras. They were buy three get one free. I got three sleep bras and two bras to wear out. The sleep bras are the most amazing thing in the whole world. They're so comfortable and if you plan on breastfeeding, go ahead and purchase nursing sleep bras. I thought the transition would be hard for me because I usually don't wear a bra to bed, but they were so comfortable that I didn't mind. When I became pregnant, I went up two cup sizes. I began to worry about whether or not I would get stretch marks because my bras were no longer supportive enough and sleeping in a bra became something I was more than willing to do to prevent stretch marks. I feel like it's going to be hard wearing regular bras again after i'm no longer nursing just because of how amazingly comfortable these ones are.
Tell her she’s beautiful and that you love her. She will be undergoing some serious body transformations during pregnancy. Reassure her that you think she’s beautiful and that you love her immensely. Affirm your unwavering dedication to her each and every day.
- Help her get some ZZZs. Sleeping will become more and more uncomfortable as she gets further along in her pregnancy. When she sleeps on her back the baby's weight puts pressure on her spine, back muscles, intestines, and major blood vessels. All of this can lead to pain, decreased circulation, and consequently trouble falling asleep. During a trip to Babies 'R' Us, Ethan made the genius suggestion that we purchase something called a Snoogle. I said no because I couldn't justify spending $80 on a pillow when there were so many other things that I knew we had to get. I am so happy that he insisted. It has been one of the things I truly could not have made it through this pregnancy without. I even took it to the hospital with me when I was admitted a few weeks ago for a lung infection. All of the nurses were envious. You can purchase one here. You may also want to look into getting a slipcover to prevent from getting the Snoogle dirty.
- If she's craving something, get it for her. (If it's safe.) Sure I have to admit, I've abused this a little...but I have every right to cheesy fiesta potatoes if I want cheesy fiesta potatoes after everything I've been though in the past few months. If she wants a banana cream pie, do not come home with bananas and say ''I couldn't find any banana cream pies so I brought home bananas.'' (Unless you intend on searching for banana cream pie recipes on Pinterest and using said bananas to make them yourself.) I don't care if you have to go to a Little Debbie manufacturing location itself and demand banana cream pies, you get those banana cream pies.
Now, if your partner is weird like me and craving something that is not supposed to be consumed you should probably suggest that her doctors do a blood test to see if she has any deficiencies such as calcium, iron, etc.
PICA IS A REAL THING. It is the persistent eating of that have no nutritional value. For me, this substance was chalk. I was watching a show on Netflix one night with Ethan when one of the characters began drawing on a chalk board with a piece of white chalk. I was suddenly OVERWHELMED with this urge to reach through the television, grab the chalk out of the characters hand, and EAT IT. I paused the show, turned to Ethan and said ''I'm craving chalk.'' and he's a pretty smart fella so he knew that probably meant that I had some sort of deficiency. We later learned that my magnesium levels were low but I am unsure if that would cause me to want to munch on chalk. I obviously knew it was strange so I was trying super hard to ignore the urge. We tried tums thinking that the chalkiness of them would soothe the urge. It didn't. We thought about candy cigarettes but couldn't find any. After researching it for weeks, Ethan finally went and got me some just to shut me up. I tried it and it was terrible. I didn't swallow it, I spit it out...but the actual texture cured the craving. But before, it actually made me feel depressed that he wouldn't go out and buy me a pack of chalk.
So be cautious of things with no nutritional value but if she wants a burger, you get her a burger.
- Do not ever tell her to ''Hurry up'' when you two are trying to get somewhere while walking. Pregnant women tend to waddle (you would too if you had a human growing inside of you), so you’re probably not going to get a super warm reaction if you chide her for not being Speedy Gonzalez.
- Act like you’re pregnant. No, I don’t mean you need to put on one of those ridiculous bodysuits that let men know what it feels like to be pregnant. Nor am I encouraging wild mood swings and consuming ice cream sprinkled with nacho cheese. What I’m talking about here is adding or dropping the same habits she has to add or drop because she’s pregnant. It’s a way to show moral support and to help her follow doctor’s orders as closely as she can. So when she has to give up alcohol and coffee, become a teetotaler too (or at least don’t imbibe in front of her.)
- Exercise is incredibly beneficial to mom and baby to be, so help her get in the habit by offering to go for a walk or to the gym together. But keep the exercising light...and don't push her too hard if she doesn't feel up to it.
Just because you saw an article on that bodybuilding forum you go on every day about some pregnant woman who exercised a whole bunch and didn't even show that she was pregnant until her 8th month, doesn't mean everyone is capable of dropping it like a squat while pregnant. If I tried to do a squat right now, I would not be able to get back up. In fact, I need help getting out of bed at this point. Everyone is different.
- Moms-to-be often experience the nesting instinct, and will feel a lot better if they feel things are in place. You’re going to have to get things ready eventually, so you might as well do it now, especially if it puts your partner at ease. If she wants to clean out the spare bedroom, let her. (Of course, not if she's going to be lifting heavy things. In this case, offer to help her.) If she's working too hard, make her rest. It's totally normal to be obsessed with cleaning and getting things ready for your little one's arrival.
However, it is also totally normal to be exhausted and not feel like doing a single thing. Like I said, everyone is different.
That's about all I can think of for now. If you have any suggestions for dads-to-be on how to help their significant other while pregnant, feel free to leave a comment. :)