Being a father means a lifetime of not always knowing what to expect, and it all begins when you’re expecting. Will your baby be a boy or a girl? Tall or short? Will your baby have your nose, or your partner’s sense of humor?
While there can be excitement in what is unknown, forward planning and being supportive of your partner during her pregnancy can help keep you feeling excited instead of overwhelmed.
Working together can help reduce stress in your relationship, and on your baby.
Sixteen Things Fathers Can Do to Support Their Pregnant Partners from the Child Welfare Information Gateway has great examples of steps you can take to prepare for pregnancy parenthood. There’s also a lot of resources available to help you put the tips into action!
- Attend prenatal visits together. The National Institute of Health has information online on prenatal care in each trimester, as well as pregnancy information that includes information on healthy diet and what physical and emotional changes your partner can expect throughout pregnancy.
- Watch and listen to video and audio tapes together. Teaching Important Parenting Skills (TIPS) for Great Kids is a parenting education program for parents of children ages birth to 5 years. TIPS is dedicated to improving the outcomes for children in school and in life. Developed by the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, with initial funding provided through an Administration for Children and Families Office of Family Assistance grant, TIPS offers useful, practical information that leads to successful outcomes for children.
- Find a "New Fathers" support group or talk to other men who have had or are going to have new babies. Share feelings, ideas on supporting the pregnant mom, and tips to make sure you are taking care of yourself. Many hospitals offer responsible fatherhood classes for soon to be fathers. The Office of Family Assistance funds responsible fatherhood grantees across the country that provide a wide range of parenting, economic stability, and healthy relationship programs. Check out the NRFC Connect with Programs map to see if there is a program near you.
One of the best ways to prepare for your baby is to talk to other dads about their experience. Do you have a question you’d like to get some veteran input on? What about great advice to give that you wish you knew? Share with us – and each other – on Facebook and Twitter #fatherhoodgov #newdad
National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse