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Tips and ideas for parents-to-be to help their partners have a healthy pregnancy

Ideas to support your partner

It can be an exciting and scary time waiting to become a parent for the first time. However, partners 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 you giving up some of the things you love doing as well, so that you 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!

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 group, or even set your own one up, like the group in the film What To Expect When You’re Expecting – that way, you’ll benefit from others experiences.

The best things about being a partner

Top tips – things you can do together while she’s pregnant

Give her a hand with the shopping

Carrying heavy bags is especially hard when she’s already carrying a baby! Plus it will be a great workout for your arms.

Try to cut down on the amount of alcohol that you drink

The safest option for pregnant women is to drink no alcohol, but if she’s used to drinking with you, this can be tough. If you cut back on alcohol or cut it out completely while she's pregnant, you’ll feel good too.
Read tips for cutting down, on One You.

Stop smoking

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 her growing baby to stay healthy. Plus it’s a great, free way to spend time together, and you’ll get some exercise too.

Get going!

Why not try our Get Going tool? and find out what sort of activity is right for you and your family. 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. You could even make a load and freeze some - handy when 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.

Get FREE e-mails and ‘how to’ videos from the Start4Life Information Service for Parents.