Tips and ideas for dads-to-be to help their partners have a healthy pregnancy
Ideas for dads - supporting your partner while she's pregnant
It can be an exciting and scary time waiting to become a dad for the first time. Dads can often get overlooked with all the attention on the mum and the baby.
Things are going to change for you both once the baby arrives. This might make you feel that you don’t want to miss out on doing the things you’ve always done together.
There are loads of things mums-to-be have to think about while they’re pregnant. Sometimes they want to make changes to their lifestyle to look after their baby’s health. This might mean that dads-to-be give up some of the things that they love doing as well, so that they are supporting each other.
The good news is that helping your partner to have a healthy pregnancy and baby doesn’t have to be hard. It will be a lot easier for her with your help – and there could be some benefits for you too!
The best things about being a dad
Top tips – things you can do together during pregnancy
Try to cut down on alcohol
The best advice for pregnant women is to drink no alcohol but if she’s used to drinking with you, this can be tough. Join her in cutting back and you’ll feel good too.
Read tips for cutting down, on Change4Life
Smoking while pregnant, or inhaling secondhand smoke, can be like blowing smoke in a baby’s face. So if you’ve always been puffing partners, now could be the perfect time to give up together. Plus, you’ll save some money – just think about how you could celebrate once the baby arrives!
Get support to stop smoking with Smokefree
See if you can get her up and about more
Walking for 150 minutes each week can help her and your growing baby to stay healthy. It’s a great, free way to spend time together. Plus you’ll be in better shape too, ready for enjoying your new baby in a few months’ time.
Why not try our Get Going tool? Find out what sort of activity is right for you and your family? Get your own personal activity plan. It only takes 5 minutes.
Try eating some healthier foods with her
Maybe she’s even craving something she doesn’t usually eat? If you like cooking, see what you fancy making together. Or maybe you can ask her mum or one of her mates to help. You could even make a load and freeze some - handy once the baby’s arrived.
For some healthier meal ideas, try Change4Life’s recipe finder
A helping hand
Sign up for Meal Mixer and every Friday for 4 weeks, we’ll send you a tasty, healthy recipe with easy to follow instructions, and a shopping list of all the ingredients you’ll need for around £5. After only 4 weeks you’ll know how to cook at least 4 different meals from scratch!
Good for you too!
Supporting your partner with all of these things can not only help her have a healthier and happier pregnancy, but can also lessen the risk of postnatal depression later. But this support doesn't have to be just one-way - it can also help you be healthier so that you’ll be able to enjoy new fatherhood more.
Getting ready for the big day
As well as the ideas above about supporting your partner to have a healthy pregnancy, you can also be a great help when the big day finally arrives. Depending on your circumstances and the birth plan you’ve chosen, you could help to pack a bag for mum and one with essentials for you.
Think about who else you need to tell when you leave for a hospital birth and how you’ll get there. Do you need to make arrangements to have older children looked after? If your partner’s having a home birth, you can help to plan and organise this. And have a contact list ready to that you can tell people once the baby has arrived.
Money, benefits and parental leave
Making sure your family is well supported is one way that you can give some more practical help. You could check out what benefits and parental leave you and your partner are entitled to, and help with getting and filling in the forms.
Getting this sorted and knowing your budget for the next few months will be much easier before the baby arrives than afterwards!
Read more about maternity and paternity benefits and leave on NHS Choices
Supporting mum with feeding the baby
Once the baby arrives, if your partner's breastfeeding you can make this as restful as possible and help make her comfortable during feeding. You could bring her something to drink and a healthy snack, or her favourite magazine. And if she’s expressing milk or bottle feeding you could sterilise the bottles, make up the formula and feed the baby instead.
Read more about breastfeeding
Need more advice?
It’s normal for you and your partner to have a lot of questions during pregnancy, especially if it’s the first time. And it’s natural for you to be worried about some things. There’s a wide range of different information and advice to take in. A new baby can mean a lot of change, so talk through your concerns and make decisions together, if you can.
You can get more information and advice at antenatal or parenthood classes, which are usually offered by hospitals. You could try joining a parenting or fathers’ group or asking your partner’s midwife. There are also many online forums and some are dad-specific. Or you could try joining or setting up a dads' group like the one in the film, What To Expect When You're Expecting. That way you'll get to benefit from others' experiences.