FATHERS ROLE IN PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH
Mothers are the obvious focus of pregnancy and childbirth, but fathers are strongly affected by the process as well. Men experience physical, emotional, and social changes as a mother's pregnancy progresses and when the child is born. While the changes to the mother are more pronounced, helping new fathers deal with the changes to their lives will only help the mother, baby, and family in the long run as the dad is able to be more present and enjoy the pregnancy and childbirth more.
While the woman goes through the most obvious changes during pregnancy, men actually experience hormonal changes as well. Scientists cannot fully explain why expectant fathers experience these physical changes, but they hypothesize that men are reacting to the woman's pheromones. Men may experience an initial spike in cortisol in the first few weeks after they find out about their impending fatherhood, a stress hormone that puts them on high alert. In the weeks before the baby's birth, a man's testosterone levels may drop by a third, lessening his sex drive and competitive and aggressive feelings and priming him to focus on nurturing the baby. Male hormones should normalize about 6 weeks after the baby is born.
Regard of Sex
Women usually feel under the weather during the first trimester, so they might not be too interested in sex. However, their symptoms usually calm down in the second trimester and they may feel more erotic than usual because of their increased vaginal secretions. Don’t worry: having sex won’t hurt your baby.
Since many couples fear for their sex lives when they decide to have children, and sex definitely can suffer during pregnancy and after childbirth for many reasons, both emotional and physical. However, expectant fathers don't need to worry that they'll never have sex again. Many women enjoy sex throughout their entire pregnancy and most women are cleared for sexual activity 6 weeks after childbirth, though not everyone is ready immediately. Being up all night with a newborn, dealing with postpartum bleeding, and getting used to a post-baby body can make a woman hesitant to jump back into bed, but she will get there in her own time. Likewise, fathers may have to overcome feelings about watching their wives birth their child, and dealing with exhaustion of their own.
Women are expected to get all teary eyed when it comes to their pregnancies and newborns, but men often experience a range of emotions that can be made even more difficult because they don't feel comfortable expressing them. Many men struggle with feelings of jealousy when they see their partner become completely consumed by the pregnancy and new baby, excluding the father. A man may also feel overwhelmed and stressed about providing for his new family, both financially and emotionally, as he tries to give her support during pregnancy, childbirth and new motherhood.
Changes in Lifestyle
No matter what kind of household chore split a couple had before, dads may be expected to pick up some of the household slack while mom is uncomfortably pregnant and recovering from childbirth. Many men enjoy the opportunity to have a concrete task to complete along with supporting mom emotionally. But some feel resentful about having more responsibilities when they may already be stressed about finances and time. A woman may want her partner home more, working on household projects while she is nesting. Also, some men may struggle with giving up their child-free lifestyle even if they planned for and are excited about the new baby.
All fathers worry about their partner’s health and the development of their baby during pregnancy. Fathers naturally want to protect their loved ones from harm. If you are an expectant father, you can rest assured that most women have perfectly normal pregnancies and deliveries. Also, the vast majority of babies are born healthy and without complications. Pregnancy and childbirth are natural life events that do not pose a physical threat to your partner, especially if she is receiving proper medical care.
There are things you can do to help your partner have a safe and comfortable pregnancy. Make sure she receives the best medical care possible. Attending medical appointments with your partner will demystify the pregnancy. Hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time or seeing it swim around on an ultrasound will make the pregnancy “real” for you. Your partner will also appreciate if you go with her when she needs to have medical tests done, especially if your baby’s health is compromised in any way.
Encourage your partner to eat a proper diet, get enough exercise, and stay away from alcohol and cigarettes. The best way to do this is to eat the same diet, exercise along with her, and stop drinking and smoking yourself. Try not to think of these changes as a huge sacrifice, but rather as a way to experience the pregnancy with your partner. Another thing you can do to help is to make your partner’s life as stress-free as possible. Take on some extra chores so that she can rest. Be there for her when she needs your emotional support.
While she is pregnant, your partner receives a lot of attention, and you may feel left out. If these feelings are allowed to grow, they might turn into resentment and jealousy. The best way to resolve your feelings are to get involved with the pregnancy. Part of this includes attending the health care provider visits, eating right, and exercising with your partner, as mentioned above. In addition, you can educate yourself by reading pregnancy books and attending childbirth classes. Read everything your partner reads. Finally, talk to your partner about how you feel and keep the lines of communication open.
Expecting fathers sometimes find their partners’ mood swings to be especially hard to understand. Mood swings may be caused in part by the extra hormones that arise during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. The emotional changes and demands of taking on the roles of pregnancy and impending parenthood can also contribute to mood swings. It is possible that you may also feel moody at times for the same reasons and need someone to talk to. Try not to become angry or frustrated with your partner if she has a sudden burst of emotion. Instead, be understanding and reassuring, and offer her a shoulder to cry on if she needs it. Listen to her feelings and worries. Be aware of, and seek help for, any signs of depression, both in your partner and in yourself; feeling out of control; unpredictable tearfulness and spontaneous crying;
feelings of sadness, melancholy, weary anger, or general despair; sleep disturbances; a total loss of sexual energy.
Fathers are often the neglected partners in reproduction. People tend to forget that fathers also have valid feelings, hopes, and fears about pregnancy, childbirth, and their new babies. Until recently, the amount of information available for fathers has been quite scarse.
posted 4 months 3 weeks ago