During the first trimester (12 weeks) your baby’s sex will have been determined and it will develop from a mass of tiny cells into an embryo. By week 12 – usually the time for the first antenatal appointment and scans, SO DON’T MISS IT – it’s about 8-10 =mm with limb buds and all its internal organs, eyes, ears and a tiny beating heart.
Your partner’s hormones will have been on a rollercoaster ride, and she may be experiencing heartburn, nausea, indigestion, constipation and mood swings. Be sympathetic. This is the time to start as you mean to go on – help with some of the day-to-day practicalities, like getting the shopping and doing some of the cooking. She’s more likely to eat what is prepared for her even if she cannot face the thought of being around and preparing food.
By working out a healthy eating and exercise programme now it will stand yo both in good stead in the coming months that will last well after the baby’s birth.
During the 2nd Trimester (weeks 13-27), your baby is growing at a rate of knots and your partner will be more comfortable and have a lot more energy.. Now is a good time for expectant Mums and Dad to consider some of the things that you will need to achieve before the birth of your child. Things like money matters, leave from work, antenatal classes, a birth plan but more important of all, this is a good time for you to do and decide things together.
Make sure you diary date the 20 week scan – there is your baby, moving about and sucking its thumb! Soon, when you put your hand on your partner’s tummy, you’ll be able to feel its kicks and tumbles, and if you’re not already doing it, you and your partner should sing and talk to your baby. By the time it is born, it will recognise your voice.
By week 28, you are into the 3rd and final Trimester. Your partner will now start becoming very tired, her back will ache, and the indigestion, heartburn and constipation have returned and she is feeling very emotional and that she has been pregnant forever. You are her rock – your support is critical to her well being and self esteem. Whether it’s massaging her back or fee, attending antenatal classes, give her your whole attention. On the practical front, Dads, make sure you know the fastest route to the hospital, the car has a full tank, the bag is packed, and the birth plan is finalised.
Sex in Pregnancy
One of the most asked questions during pregnancy is “….can we continue to have sex?”. The answer is most definitely “YES”. The majority of women will actively and enthusiastically enjoy sexual relations right through pregnancy. But as the “bump” gets bigger you and your partner may want to try some new positions so that she is comfortable and there is no pressure on the tummy. Sex will not harm the baby as the mucus plug in the cervix guards against infection and the muscles of the uterus and the baby’s amniotic sac protect it.
However everyone is different and some women find that due to the changes that are happening to them during pregnancy, their sexual drive diminishes. It is important that you talk to each other so that you understand and are sympathetic to these feelings and together you can both explore different ways like stroking and cuddling that enable you to remain close to each other.
Dads at the birth
If you are going to be at the birth – remember be calm, be relaxed. How you react will have a very definite affect on your partner and the course of her labour. If the birth plan has to be changes remember – be flexible. The medical team only want what is best for you, your partner and your baby. You are in the best position to communicate with the midwife/doctor if your partner is unable to do so. Don’t forget to take some snacks and drinks with you, and maybe an iPad/books/puzzles/newspapers, something to keep you both occupied during the first stages of labour.
Seeing and being part of the birth of your child is a most amazing experience – you deserve a pat on the back – for a job well done!