You most probably do not want to simply be a spectator to the changes which will take place in your partner during the course of the pregnancy but will want to play an active role in them. After all, your partner will have a lot to contend with. During the first three months, she will have to tackle hormonal changes, and later deal with pregnancy-related complaints and a growing belly.
You have many ways of supporting your pregnant partner and preparing for the arrival of your child together.
The hormonal changes which take place during the first trimester of pregnancy not only trigger physical changes in your partner but also cause a roller-coaster ride of emotions. Mood swings can take on dramatic proportions.
For example: She sends you to the petrol station in the middle of the night to buy a certain chocolate bar only to feel nauseated when she sees it, causing her to put it to one side and not eat it. Stay calm and take it in your stride!
If you are a smoker, please quit straight away! The dangers of passive smoking (your partner will of course not be smoking) should not be underestimated, and nicotine has disastrous results for your child!
From time to time suggest that you do something together and really enjoy each other’s company ‒ just the two of you. Go for a walk or go swimming (this is good for your partner and your child!), go shopping (perhaps you’ll come across the first romper suit for your baby?) or go to a concert.
You might even feel a little proud when you are out and about with your pregnant partner...
Many men fear that they will hurt their partner or unborn baby by having sex during pregnancy. This fear is absolutely unfounded. Even premature births do not occur more frequently ‒ so do what makes you both happy.
As your partner’s belly becomes bigger, however, you will need to find a position that is comfortable for the two of you (for instance, lying on your side in the spooning position).
No matter whether your partner is at the start of her pregnancy and is suffering from tiredness and nausea or if she is in the final stages dealing with heavy legs, heartburn or back pain, she deserves to be pampered by you. After all, she is carrying the child you have created together!
A small massage, a cup of coffee or tea in bed, a pretty maternity T-shirt (even if she has been given plenty of them by her sister-in-law) will all be gratefully received by your partner.
Start thinking about possible names for your baby early on. And try out how the first name sounds together with the last name. Even if you have been told the gender of your baby, you should still think about girls’ and boys’ names. After all, you may be taken by surprise once the baby is born...
And another tip: If you have agreed on a name, do not tell anyone, especially not family members. Otherwise, it will be discussed and chewed over and you will most likely also need to deal with negative comments.
Finally you have a good reason to browse for hours on the Internet! You can research as much as you like for whatever it is that you need ‒ a pram, a child car seat, a cot, etc . Read test reports and compare prices. Your partner will be pleased that you are making such an effort.
Something is coming your way! Find out about administrative matters such as applying for child, maternity and parental benefits, organizing parental leave, taking out insurances and dealing with registering your baby at the registry office following the birth.
In Germany, if the man and woman are not married, the man will need to obtain an acknowledgement of his paternity and submit a custody declaration. Your partner will be very pleased if you take it upon yourself to battle your way through the bureaucracy.
From around the 20th week of pregnancy, your child will be big and strong enough for you to feel him/her moving and kicking when you touch your partner’s belly. This is your first opportunity to have direct contact with your baby! It is an indescribable feeling which you should not miss out on.
You have probably heard of it before: As the due date approaches, the pregnant woman (and perhaps even the father-to-be?) is overcome by an overwhelming nesting instinct. Now it is ESSENTIAL to have a clear out and tidy up IMMEDIATELY; the baby’s room urgently needs painting (due to the vapours this duty will be down to you to perform!) and furnishing. There will never be any time for such things later...
This is important for breathing correctly during contractions ‒ as you will be told in antenatal classes. And it is also important that you learn the breathing techniques and join in with them ‒ provided that you wish to be present during the birth of your child.
At antenatal classes you will find out a lot about the ways in which you can support your partner during birth and at the same time give her the feeling that you will master everything together.
Have an honest discussion with each other about whether or not you will be present at the birth. Perhaps your wife would prefer her best friend to support her. Or maybe you do not feel comfortable with experiencing the delivery. You should under no circumstances force yourself to do something you don’t want to do.
And you have forgotten the way to the hospital? That can happen when you’re in a flap ‒ but it should certainly not happen in this case! Even if it seems a little strange, practice the route more than you probably need to in order to ensure you don’t lose your way at the decisive moment.
You’ve made it ‒ your child has arrived. Relatives and friends would probably give anything to see the sweet new baby as soon as possible. But this is where you come in! Be the “doorman” watching over and protecting your family. Visitors should ideally not be permitted at all during the first few days and only in small numbers after that.
Problems may arise at the start of the breastfeeding period. Do not leave your partner to deal with these by herself! You can help her by finding out about breastfeeding in advance. Most importantly, however, you should show her that you completely support her decision to breastfeed ‒ even if you now have to share her breasts with your offspring...
Find out more under “Breastfeeding".