Advice for partners
It can be an exciting and scary time waiting to become a parent for the first time.
Things are going to change for you both once the baby arrives - but there are also some changes you can make during the pregnancy.
Mums-to-be often need to adjust their lifestyle choices, whether that's giving up smoking, not drinking alcohol, eating a healthier diet, or taking more exercise. As her partner, the best and most supportive thing you can do, is make those changes with her.
Here are 10 great ways you can support your partner:
Give up smoking
Now is the perfect time to quit (especially if your partner has given up, or is trying to give up smoking). Second hand smoke can be harmful for your partner and your unborn baby. There's lots of free support out there. So, set a date and give your baby a much healthier start in life.
Cut down on the booze
The safest option for pregnant women is not to drink any alcohol, but if she's used to drinking with you, this can be tough. The most supportive thing you can do is cut back on alcohol, or cut it out completely while she's pregnant (you'll feel better for it too).
Do your homework
Read up on pregnancy so you're aware of what she's going through. And be understanding if her mood swings are a bit unpredictable (she has thousands of hormones rampaging through her body).
Go to the antenatal classes with your partner. The more you know about what happens during labour and birth, the better (and the more you'll be able to support her).
Plan your route to hospital
Make sure you know the best route to hospital, or the birth centre. Check how long the journey will take, and bear in mind the traffic at different times of the day. Make sure your car is in good working order and topped up with petrol. Check your local taxi numbers and ask if they are happy to take women in labour. If your partner is having a home birth – have the midwifes number handy so you can call her when you need to.
Don't wait to be asked…
Pregnancy can be exhausting. If she's the main cook and cleaner in the house, take the initiative and stock up the food cupboards, get the vacuum out, run her a bath, cook for her. She'll really appreciate the TLC.
Get your admin sorted
Investigate the benefits, childcare vouchers and parental leave you're both entitled to. Getting this sorted and knowing your budget for the next few months will be much easier before the baby arrives, than afterwards.
Gentle exercise during pregnancy is good – and perfectly safe - for mum and baby. The more active and fit she is during your pregnancy; the easier it will be to maintain a healthy weight and prepare her body for labour. Go for a walk or swim with her – a lovely way to spend some time together.
Eat healthier food
Eating a healthy, nutritious diet is especially important during pregnancy, or when planning a pregnancy. Your baby relies on you to provide the right balance of nutrients to help them grow and develop properly (even after they're born). When you're cooking, make extra so you can freeze it - handy when the baby's arrived.
After your baby arrives
Once your 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. Don't forget all the other jobs that need doing… the shopping, cleaning, helping with changing nappies etc. Get involved!