If your wife or partner is pregnant, congratulations! You’re in for the ride of your life, also known as “parenthood.” But you shouldn’t wait until delivery day to take action. There are things you can (and should) do throughout your wife’s pregnancy to both show your support and ensure that she and the baby stay safe and healthy.
First of all, as soon as your wife or partner discovers she’s pregnant, you should schedule a health check for you. Have the doctor look for infections that could spread to your wife or unborn child, and make sure you’re in tip-top shape. With all the added responsibilities you’ll be facing for the next nine months, you’ll need to be.
The next step is to take an active part in clearing your home of potential toxins. If your house has lead-based paint, for example, it might be time to repaint. Check the water and air quality to make sure they’re pure and clean. You might even want to take on house-cleaning duties for the extent of the pregnancy – seize this opportunity to diminish your wife’s exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
You can also show your support for your wife or partner by attending Lamaze or Bradley classes with her. The education these courses provide is invaluable for soon-to-be parents, and you’ll inevitably develop a closer bond with your partner during the process.
As delivery day gets closer, it might be up to you to pack the hospital bag. Be sure to include towels for the car ride in case her water breaks, extra clothes, socks, and underwear, an iPod or MP3 player (many hospitals allow you to play soothing music during labor), a pillow you don’t mind getting dirty, and a digital camera or camcorder with a backup battery.
Word to the wise about the camera don’t bring a new toy. If you’ve recently bought a new gadget, be sure you know how to use it before you bring it to the hospital. No dad wants to be fidgeting with the “focus” button while his wife’s delivering his firstborn child.
During your wife’s labor, it may be up to you to monitor her progress and make sure she’s being given the care and attention she deserves. Keep track of when the water first broke or leaked, the frequency of your wife’s contraction, bleeding (how much blood?), and the shift changes of nurses and other medical staff. Keep in mind that you are always entitled to ask questions pertaining to your wife’s safety.
A good husband is an educated husband. Help prepare yourself for delivery day by knowing what to expect and the different things that may happen. And remember, you’re an active partner in this pregnancy. Your support and encouragement will mean the world.
If you have any pregnancy or birthing questions, feel free to email me.
I’m looking forward to helping you to have a healthy, safe pregnancy and childbirth!
Mark Zakowski, M.D.
The Safe Baby System